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26 people killed when an overhead high-voltage cable fell into flooded market

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Democratic Republic Of Congo

Twenty-six people were killed on Wednesday when an overhead high-voltage cable fell into a water-filled ditch at a market in DR Congo's capital Kinshasa, local authorities said, giving an early toll.

"The cable snapped and the live end of it fell into a ditch that was filled with water after morning rain. At present, 26 people have died from electrocution," Charles Mbutamuntu, the spokesman for the Kinshasa provincial government, told AFP.

The ditch runs across the popular Matadi-Kibala food market in the west of the city, a sprawling metropolis of more than 10 million people.

"Most of the people killed were traders and customers, and some passers-by. The bodies are being taken to the morgue and an investigation has been opened to establish responsibility," Mbutamuntu said.

Videos circulating on social media showed corpses slumped over market stalls with their legs immersed in muddy water, in some cases up to the knees.

Christelle Zindo, one of the traders, said, "Every time there's a drop of rain, the water doesn't drain away but overflows onto the market because the ditch is blocked, and all the traders have to work with their feet in the water."

She lashed "the total indifference of the authorities" to the problem.

Electricity infrastructure in Democratic Republic of Congo is often poorly maintained.

In Kinshasa, which is vulnerable to tropical downpours, several districts are prone to flooding as a result of poorly-maintained colonial-era drainage systems.

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