"Today we have identified almost 120 deaths, and there are 71 others wounded in the hospital," Bango told Reuters. Many people had fled across the river into neighboring Congo Republic, he added.
Another local activist, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the death toll could rise as high as 150. He said the upcoming elections, in which Batende leaders are supporting the ruling coalition and Banunu leaders are backing opposition candidates, have raised tensions between the two groups.
The fighting has become some of the worst to hit the normally peaceful area in years, coming days before the long-delayed presidential, legislative and provincial election Sunday, which many fear could turn violent.
More than 12,000 police will join the military to guard 75,563 voting centers, which are located in 21,699 polling stations all around the country.
This Sunday's elections are expected to allow the first peaceful power transition since the DRC’s independence from Belgium in 1960.
This francophone country, which had two civil wars between 1966 and 2003, has more than 81.34 million inhabitants, 40 million of which are expected to attend the polls.
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