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Congo: 18 dead in police and pastor-led militia clashes

Eighteen people have been killed in clashes between police and a Christian pastor-led militia in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Several people had been taken hostage by the pastor from the Kimbanguist church on Tuesday in the northwestern province of Mongala.

The former deputy commissioner of Mongala, Michael Sakombi, said the fighting had no link to Congo's wider political struggles.

Several violent clashes have erupted in the African country this week in protest at President Joseph Kabila's decision to stay on past the end of his mandate, which expired at midnight on 20 December.