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High-voltage power cable snaps in Kinshasa market, killing 26

A general view shows traffic along a street in the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa, December 21, 2016. [Reuters]

Twenty-six people died after a high-tension power cable snapped and fell on houses and a market on the outskirts of the Congolese capital Kinshasa on Wednesday, the government said.

The victims included 24 women and two men, and another two people were seriously injured, Democratic Republic of Congo's government spokesman Patrick Muyaya said on Twitter.

A statement from the national electricity company said the line fell during heavy rain on Wednesday morning. The company offered its condolences to the families.

"Women and men lost their lives by electrocution this morning in a terrible accident at the Matadi-Kibala market following the severing of a phase conductor caused by bad weather," Prime Minister Sama Lukonde said on Twitter.

"I share the immense pain of the families. My thoughts are also with all the injured."

Videos from the market shared online showed people wailing around several bodies lying in puddles of water where they had fallen, with fresh produce scattered around them. Reuters was not able to authenticate the videos.

Muyaya said he and the prime minister had visited the site and that the government would hold a crisis meeting.

He said the government had already taken steps to relocate the market following a January 7 cabinet meeting, where President Felix Tshisekedi said its location was snarling traffic along the road between Kinshasa and the port city of Matadi.