KINSHASA, Congo – (AP) Gunfire and explosions boomed through Congo’s capital Saturday in a new round of fighting between forces loyal to two presidential candidates awaiting the results of a runoff election meant to secure an end to years of war.

Residents dashed for cover and street vendors hurriedly packed up stalls in Kinshasa. Two civilians were killed in the crossfire between loyalists of President Joseph Kabila and Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba.

The shooting lasted less than four hours and was confined to a couple of blocks in front of the residence and a television station of Bemba, a former rebel leader.

But it raised fears about what could happen when results are announced in Congo’s first free elections in nearly 50 years. In August, the candidates’ rival security forces fought for three days in Kinshasa, leaving 23 people dead.

With two-thirds of the vote counted Friday, Kabila had a commanding lead of 61 percent, compared to 39 percent for Bemba. Final results are expected by Nov. 19.

Saturday’s trouble started when police fired into the air to disperse youthful protesters who burned tires and blocked the road in front of Bemba’s TV station, Interior Minister Denis Kalume told The Associated Press.


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