The town of Madingou in the Republic of the Congo, also known as Congo-Brazzaville, recently became the frontlines of confrontations between security forces and protesters who set a police station ablaze in anger over the death of a teenager.
Tensions had been running high in the Central African nation, where simmering anger against President Denis Sassou Nguesso's re-election seems to be boiling over, at times inflamed by powerful propaganda campaigns masterminded by Sassou Nguesso's Congolese Party of Labour (PCT) and the opposition.
Confrontations in Madingou, capital city of the southern Bouenza Region, followed the death of 13-year-old Japhet Nguembo, who was allegedly shot by a security officer near the town's station on 26 April. According to local sources, the teenager later died from his injuries.
What happened next has been the subject of much speculation, misinformation and fiction. There were reports the army had 'arrested and killed youths' following the arson. Others stated that the President's militia had been deployed to the town. Local media also reported government helicopters had bombarded the area.
'Surprised' to read reports of widespread violence
However, IBTimes UK spoke to a number of trusted sources, who confirmed there had been no violent activity besides the fact the policeman shot at the teenager, and the arson.
"I saw the body of the little one who was shot. The bullet entered the femur and came out of the penis area," a Madingou resident, Eudes (not real name), said over the phone.
"After the officer shot, people went towards the police station and set fire to the commissioner's office. The local authorities informed the parents after army officers arrested the policeman. After that, things quietened down."
The young man said he was "surprised" to read reports of widespread violence. "The same day after the police station was set ablaze, people continued to go to the local market (situated near the police station), people continued to go about their business. The military did not intervene, and there certainly was no bombardments, unlike what media reports stated."
'No threat against any one', says resident
Another male source, an acquittance of the victim's father who wished to remain anonymous, dismissed claims that youths had called for "vengeance" against the authorities. "I have been to the vigil every night and it is calm. No military officers have been dispatched to the area, it is just as usual, parents get together during the vigil, sing religious songs. No threat against anyone."
A number of commentators had warned the teenager's death may be used for political point-scoring by the opposition, who have accused the government of targeted killings, with an ex-government minister, Claudine Munari, describing the confirmed bombing of the department of Pool as "genocide". However, other observers said the incident was not politically-motivated.
"This is purely media propaganda. I have friends who called me after they read the reports that our town, Madingo, had been bombarded. They asked me where I had fled and hidden. I used FaceTime (a video calling service on mobile phones) to show them there was nothing," the source said.
Residents firmly condemned Nguembo's death.