Uneasy calm after battle in Brazzaville

Brazzaville- Congo (PANA) -- Uneasy calm prevailed Friday in Brazzaville after the gun battle between the Ninja militia led by preacher Frederic Bitsangou alias Ntumi and government troops, west of the Congolese capital.
But residents still reported sporadic gunfire in the afternoon in Moukoudo, Mfilou and La Base areas.
The militiamen with shaven heads and bare chests, were said to have attacked a police post in Moukoudo and some troops in Mfilou, near the Maya-Maya International Airport in Brazzaville, which is under the control of government forces.
Traffic at the airport was suspended for security reasons, according to airport officials.
Witnesses said government forces were still searching for the Ninja militiamen in Moukondo.
The State Radio has called for calm, while an army officer said the government troops were in control of the situation, adding that some of the militiamen had been arrested.
There were no official casualty figures, but witnesses said five civilians were killed, including a two-year-old boy.
Another witness said both sides suffered unspecified casualties, amid looting in the city.
The battle was also said to have provoked the exodus of people from the trouble spots to the South, North and centre of the country.
The last clashes between the army and the Ninja militia were on 29 May in the Pool region.

14 june 2002 21:46:00




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