Six dead, including two soldiers, in DR Congo clash

Six people, including two soldiers, died Sunday in clashes between the army and militiamen in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the Congolese army said Monday. An army position was attacked by two so-called Mai-Mai armed groups near the town of Beni in North Kivu province, it said.

Since the beginning of 2017, Mai-Mai militias have regularly attacked Congolese army positions in the region and in neighboring South Kivu. “At the moment, the situation is under the army’s control,” a regional spokesperson for the military, Lieutenant Jules Tshikudi, said in a statement.

“We routed the Mai-Mai who attacked our position in Bulambo Isale. The death toll is four Mai Mai dead and four wounded. Two members of the national armed forces died in combat.” The assault was probably carried out by two “Mai-Mai” groups, the Mazembe and Malaika, who say they are defending the Nande community, according to sources.

Armed Congolese groups and foreign forces control swathes of territory in North Kivu province and fighting is relatively common. The Mai-Mai became prominent as armed community militias during the Second Congo War (1998-2003). They teamed up with the Kinshasa government to battle invading troops, notably from Rwanda as well as foreign rebels. Some Mai-Mai forces never gave up the weapons they got from the regime.

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