DR Congo: Power cable collapse at Kinshasa market kills 26

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The scene of the market in Kinshasa
Image caption,
A high-voltage cable snapped and fell onto houses and people shopping

At least 26 people have died after they were electrocuted by a falling power cable at a market in the Democratic Republic of Congo, police say.

The high-voltage cable snapped and fell onto houses and people shopping near the capital Kinshasa on Wednesday.

Unverified footage posted to social media appeared to show the aftermath of the incident, with several motionless bodies in puddles of water.

It is not yet clear what caused the power cable to break.

But in a statement, DR Congo's national electricity company said it believed lightning had struck part of the cable, causing it to fall to the ground. The company sent condolences to the victims' families.

Police said the collapse happened at the Matadi-Kibala district on the outskirts of Kinshasa and that a number of people died on the spot.

Local media report that the majority of the victims are female market traders.

"The cable snapped and the live end of it fell into a ditch that was filled with water after morning rain," Charles Mbutamuntu, spokesman for the Kinshasa provincial government, told AFP news agency.

Mr Mbutamuntu said the bodies had been taken to the morgue and an investigation into the incident was under way.

Prime Minister Sama Lukonde visited the market later on Wednesday. In comments posted to Twitter, he described the incident as a "terrible accident", adding: "I share the immense pain of the families. My thoughts are also with all the injured."

Several districts of the capital are prone to flooding due to poorly maintained colonial-era drainage systems.

One trader said the market often flooded when it rained, with workers and shoppers having to wade through water.

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