Bloggers in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, provided a unique insight into the clashes in the city, according to a summary on Globalvoices online.

Global Voices Online writes:

Violent clashes broke out Thursday in the Congo’s capital, Kinshasa, between goverment soldiers and troops loyal to Jean-Pierre Bemba, a former warlord. Mainstream media and blogs are reporting heavy gunfire, explosions, and looting around the city. The clashes result from a dispute over Bemba’s personal guard’s refusal to join the Congolese army.

Jean-Pierre Bemba, a warlord turned senator and leader of Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), has taken refuge in the South African embassy in Kinshasa. Bemba was one of four vice-presidents in the Congolese transitional government. He lost the 2006 presidential race to the incumbent, Joseph Kabila, after two rounds of voting. He later contested for a senate seat and won.

Bloggers in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been providing first-hand accounts of the clashes and life in the capital. Some bloggers have been writing hour by hour account of the events.

Congo Girl is critical of the role of the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC)

    I am uncertain whether MONUC is playing right now. They are not taken seriously because of their mandate to NOT engage in combat. They successfully evacuated a bunch of VIPs to their compound, and my boss here said can’t I just call William Swing “the President” (she really confused someone else with that joke) and tell him to make it stop. I asked for his number but didn’t get one.

According to Congo Girl, the clashes have resulted in the closure of the airport in Kinshasa:

    The airport is closed, so certain people scheduled to leave could not. I am worried about being ordered to evacuate – I would rather stay and get my work done. A friend of mine is stuck in Brazzaville till further notice, and her family is concerned about whether they will make it here for their visit.

Something happened when she (Congo Girl) was blogging:

    Ah crap, gunfire on my corner again.

Kate Wolf reports that the kids at the French school next to Bemba’s house have been trapped in the gymnasium:

    The kids in the French school next door to Bemba’s place are trapped inside the gymnasium.

There is a rumour about a rescue mission to get the kids out of danger:

    Rumour has it that an armed convoy is being organised to rescue the schoolchildren stuck overnight at the French (and Belgian?) school(s). We may be invited to join. Having got accustomed to my makeshift bunker in the now relatively quiet zone, I am somewhat loathe to join an armed convoy taking me in the direction of the front line, even if it is to the safety of the embassy compound.

Blogger Kate Wolf has been trapped at a friend’s apartment in Kinshasa. Fortunately, there is a fresh case of beer in the apartment!:

    The good news? We’re now trapped at a friend’s apartment with a fresh case of beer.

    With beer stocks running low, my companions are starting to wilt. But all has been getting progressively quieter over the last few hours and we’re hoping to be able to escape homeward tomorrow.

Congo Girl was trapped in her office. She leaves a comment at Kate Wolf’s blog:

    Dang. Wish I hadn’t gotten stuck at the office. A case of beer would sure smooth things over right now.

Click here to read the full entry, posted on Global Voices Online.org.