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By Aaron Ross
KINSHASA (Reuters) - Nearly a dozen men armed with knives and batons and wearing red headbands burst into the largest market in Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa on Friday, killing its administrator and wounding several police officers, witnesses said.
The incident in the heart of Kinshasa's business district further heightened security fears, after a series of mass prison breaks and worsening militia violence across the country.
Insecurity in the vast central African country, where millions died in civil wars around the turn of the century, has intensified since President Joseph Kabila refused to step down when his mandate expired in December.
"They killed the administrator," Hydro Eloko, an official at the Central Market, told Reuters of the assailants. "They stabbed three police officers (who) were taken to the hospital in a critical state."
Other witnesses confirmed his account and said that the assailants wore red headbands. A police spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
It was not clear what the red headbands signified, but members of Bundu dia Kongo, a separatist cult that was blamed for an attack on Kinshasa's main prison in May in which about 4,000 inmates escaped, wear similar bands. [nL8N1IJ12A]
A Reuters reporter saw a pool of blood and shattered glass in the administrator's office and drips of blood on the ground outside shortly after the attack.
People ran for blocks to flee the scene and shops on nearby streets were shuttered as dozens of soldiers and police officers were deployed in pickup trucks.
(Editing by Tim Cocks and Gareth Jones)