Fears that clashes between armies supporting rival presidential candidates in the Democratic Republic of Congo could spiral out of control have triggered a reinforcement of European and United Nations buffer forces.
The race turned violent on Sunday when officials announced a run-off vote would be held in October between the incumbent, Joseph Kabila, and his challenger Jean-Pierre Bemba.
Sixty French, Portuguese and Swedish Special Forces soldiers were said to have been helicoptered in overnight from nearby Gabon.
A German-Dutch battalion of 500 was also expected to join the 1,000 already in the vast former Belgian colony.
Last month’s historic elections were the first free polls in more than four decades there. Kabila scored higher than Bemba but not the outright 50 per cent for a first-round win.
The opposing forces blame each other for the attacks. The U.N. has a more than 17,000-strong peacekeeping force deployed in Congo. Foreign mediators are keen to broker a ceasefire.
A 1998-2003 war and a humanitarian crisis killed more than four million people, and deep political and ethnic divisions remain.