At least three people were killed and many others injured as an earthquake measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale shook eastern parts of Democratic Republic of Congo and neighbouring Rwanda on Friday.

The quake hit Congo's Bukavu region, located near Rwanda border, around 3.25 am (local time), said the US Geological Survey, which had initially reported its magnitude at 5.8.

"There were three deaths - two children in a house in Bukavu. There was also a police officer near the airport," government spokesman Lambert Mende told Reuters.

The two children were killed after their house collapsed in Katana near the airport in Bukavu.

The epicentre of the earthquake was located near Lake Tanganyika and Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu province in DR Congo, the Associated Press reported.

BBC reported that the earthquake caused a scare at a military camp in the area. The DRC soldiers fired in the area for 15 minutes thinking they were under attack, BBC Great Lakes analyst Venuste Nnshimiyimana said.

Sources in Bukavu said the death toll might go up. A local report said at least 30 people were injured.

The earthquake has also raised concerns about Mount Nyiragongo in Goma, which is Africa's most active volcano. The Mount Nyiragongo had last erupted in 2002.