Security has been stepped up in the Congolese capital Kinshasa after troops repulsed attacks on the airport, a military barracks and the headquarters of state TV.
Clashes were also reported in the DRC’s second city of Lubumbashi.
Those involved are said to be supporters of ex-presidential candidate Paul Joseph Mukungubila but authorities have played down talk of an attempted coup d’etat.
“There were so few of them and they were so poorly armed that we don’t have the impression that the assailants had any other objective than to sow panic and terror on the eve of the New Year festivities which have such a great importance in our culture,” said government spokesman Lambert Mende Omalanga.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is struggling to emerge from decades of violence and instability. A charity working in the country told euronews of the shock at the latest unrest.
“Very early in the morning, the situation was fairly normal,” said Francis Ntessani of ‘Save the Children’. “People were preparing to go about their business as usual. So it must have surprised everyone. The situation is rather tense so the population continues to be watchful. In certain districts it seems that people are starting to go out, while remaining vigilant.”
Mukungubila has criticised a peace deal with Tutsi-led rebels, claiming the government has bowed to pressure from neighbouring Rwanda. Dozens of his supporters are said to have died in the capital as the army retook control.