LUANDA - At least 24 people, many of them children, died and dozens were missing in Angola after a flash-flood swept through a market in the southern city of Lubango, state media said on Thursday.

The Angop news agency said flood-waters from the Capitao river, swollen by nearly 24 hours of torrential rain in the area, washed through the market, where many young Angolans congregated to wash cars and bicycles.

More than 30 people were believed to be missing, Angop said. As with much of southern Africa, southern Angola has been suffering one of its worst droughts in memory caused by a strong El Nino weather pattern in the Pacific Ocean. Foreign troops were deployed in CAR after mainly Muslim rebels seized power in the majority Christian country in 2013, provoking reprisals and fueling religious and inter-communal violence that has killed thousands.

French troops have been in the country since December 2013. European Union troops were there from April 2014 to March 2015. A U.N. peacekeeping mission assumed authority from African Union troops in September 2014.