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Thousands flee gunbattles in Congo capital after disputed polls

Congolese security forces have increased patrols across the southern areas of BrazzavilleThousands fled fighting in Congo’s capital Brazzaville on Monday as the government blamed hours of heavy clashes in opposition bastions on a rebel group known as “The Ninjas”. There was no official toll from what was called “a terrorist action” by the government, which said it was investigating whether the assailants were linked to opposition leaders contesting President Denis Sassou Nguesso’s re-election at March 20 polls. The rebel group from a late 1990s conflict was headed by Protestant preacher Frederic Bintsamou, known as Pasteur Ntumi, whose trademark colour is purple and who disbanded the group in return for a junior government position.

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