Defeated Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) presidential candidate Jean-Pierre Bemba has taken temporary refuge in the South African embassy in the capital,Kinshasa, after a day of fighting between his guards and government troops, the embassy said on Thursday.
"Mr. Bemba has been taken in temporarily. He absolutely has not made any demand for asylum," the embassy's deputy ambassador, Kenneth Pedro said.
At least two civilians were killed and a dozen wounded on Thursday when violence once against descended on Kinshasa, which has been calm since fighting around historic elections last year left about 30 people dead.
The UN peacekeeping force in the DRC evacuated more than 600 people from an area of Kinshasa caught up in fierce fighting.
Fighting broke out mid-morning near Bemba's home in the northern Gombe district, where the sound of Kalashnikov and machine-gun fire was followed first by that of rocket-propelled grenades, and then by government tanks.
"He didn't feel safe in his home," said Pedro. "He wanted to be able to continue working. He is our guest. It will be temporary."