DRC army kills 7 militia after attacks

Congolese troops killed seven members of a militia who attacked its positions in two villages in the country’s conflict-ridden east, the army said on on Thursday.

Dozens of rival militia operate in Democratic Republic of Congo’s North and South-Kivu provinces, including the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF, an Islamist-rooted group blamed for killing hundreds.

The area has been torn for more than two decades by armed conflicts fed by ethnic and land disputes, competition for control of a wealth of mineral resources and regional rivalries.

“A (Mai-Mai militia group on Tuesday, November 19, attacked the army’s positions in Rusankuku and Kananda villages (in South-Kivu’s Fizi region,” local military spokesman Captain Dieudonne Kasereka told AFP.

Mai-Mai refers to a community-based militia in the DRC, which defends its territory against other armed groups.

Kasereka said the attackers were pushed out of the villages and “seven militia bodies were identified”. He said a soldier was also wounded in the assault.

Gadi Mukiza, mayor of the Minembwe region in South-Kivu, also confirmed the attack, without giving further details.

Since May, the area has seen a resurgence of ethnic violence over land disputes between the Banyamulenge tribe — made up of Congolese Tutsi herders — and the Bafuliro, Banyindu and Babembe farmers.

In October, the UN mission in the DRC said several hundred people were forced to flee their homes, which were burned as a result of the violence.