DR Congo: Militia, army Clashes leave 11 dead

Servicemen of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo patrol in Beni, August 19, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

At least 11 people have been killed in a series of violent clashes between the army and fighters loyal to a slain militia chief in central Democratic Republic of the Congo, a local activist says.

Jean Rene Tshimanga, a local activist, said that the clashes took place between the DR Congo soldiers and the militia loyal to a traditional chief killed in fighting with security forces last year. He added that the violence occurred near the town of Tshimbulu in Kasai-Central Province on Monday.

“This morning, we learned again that (the militia) attacked the men in uniform [who] repelled them,” Tshimanga, the president of the Civil Society of Kasai-Central Province, said.

The activist did not specify how many of the dead were militia members and how many army soldiers.

The town, where the army killed more than 60 militia members in fighting last Friday, has been the scene of constant clashes between the soldiers and armed groups over the past few months.

Similar clashes in recent months have killed hundreds and uprooted thousands across the troubled region.

The militia’s leader, Kamwina Nsapu, was killed by police last August after having vowed to rid the province of all state security forces.

On Saturday, the United Nations’ peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, also known as MONUSCO, said Nsapu had committed violent atrocities and used child soldiers. It also criticized the army for what it said was a disproportionate use of force against the militia fighters, who are typically only lightly armed.

Militia violence in the Congo, a tinderbox of conflicts, is linked to land, ethnicity and mineral resources. The wave of violence has been exacerbated by President Joseph Kabila’s failure to step down when his constitutional mandate expired in December.

By Africafrique and agencies

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