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KINSHASA, 28 August 2008 (IRIN) - Human rights and local government officials in Democratic Republic of Congo's Katanga province have expressed concern about rising tension between different communities in a mining town there.

Clashes broke out on the night of 26 August between residents of Kolwezi and people from neighbouring provinces who work in the town's copper, cobalt, tin and manganese mines.

"There was some material damage, 45 bicycles were burnt," Jean-Marie Dikanga Kazadi, the provincial interior minister, told IRIN.

"Residents decided to avenge a man who had been beaten up [earlier the same day] and set upon the miners, deeming them responsible," the minister said, adding that police helped to restore calm by midnight.

"Anything could happen and not much is being done about it," said Golden Misabiko, president of the Katanga branch of the African Human Rights Association.