Gunfire and heavy artillery has rocked the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital as guards (pictured) loyal to opposition leader Jean-Pierre Bemba clashed with army units.
Mr Bemba lost presidential polls last year and a deadline for his guards in Kinshasa to disarm and join the national army expired this week. But he wants extra security guarantees.
UN peacekeepers evacuated more than 450 civilians from areas affected by the fighting, in which at least seven civilians and three soldiers have reportedly died, on Thursday.
Government troops, loyal to President Joseph Kabila who won last year's elections, patrolled the empty streets of the capital...
.... As civilians rushed to leave the city centre. Brazzaville, capital of Republic of Congo, just across the river, is preparing for an influx of refugees.
DR Congo's oil reserves were bombed overnight and fighting continued into Friday despite a ceasefire call from Mr Bemba.
His troops had taken control of the business district by Thursday night, but the next day the army appeared to be gaining the upper hand.
Mr Bemba has left his residence, which these children passed by on Thursday, and has sought refuge in the South African embassy. A warrant for his arrest has been issued.