December 21, 2016 / 5:42 PM / 7 months ago

Clashes between police, militia in northwest Congo kill 18

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KINSHASA (Reuters) - Clashes between police and a militia led by a Christian pastor in northwestern Congo's Mongala province killed 15 militiamen and three policemen, the former deputy commissioner of Mongala said on Wednesday.

Police battled the militia loyal to the pastor from the Kimbanguist church, an offshoot of Christianity in Democratic Republic of Congo, on Tuesday, after he kidnapped numerous local residents, Michael Sakombi told Reuters.

Sakombi said the fighting had no link to Congo's wider political struggles. Concern is growing over security in Congo, where violent protests have taken place against President Joseph Kabila's decision to stay on past the end of his second term in office on Tuesday.

Reporting By Aaron Ross; Editing by Tim Cocks and Catherine Evans

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