GREAT LAKES CONFLICT
Civilians die as DRC troops and rebels fight
Eleven die as rebels attack military positions in North Kivu
Beni — Ten civilians and a Ugandan militant died when Congolese troops clashed with rebels in the flashpoint town of Beni in Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC’s) troubled east, an army spokesman said on Wednesday.
The incident took place on Tuesday evening when rebels attacked military positions around Beni in North Kivu, Capt Mak Hazukay told AFP.
"We listed 10 dead civilians so far," he said. A rebel from Uganda’s Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militia was also killed, he said, adding that fighting was ongoing. Michel Kakule, the lead physician at Beni hospital, told AFP that some of the victims "had gunshot wounds while others had been attacked with machetes".
The violence sparked an angry backlash among locals "who blocked off several main roads in the town in protest over the murder of 10 civilians", said Gilbert Kambale, who works for a civil society organisation.
Since January, Congolese troops have been engaged in a major military operation against the ADF but have not managed to stop the bloodshed in and around Beni.
The ADF "is now conducting an asymmetrical war — when we attack them in one area, they get around it by attacking elsewhere," said Hazukay. The ADF is one of a number of armed groups that hold territory in the eastern DRC and are battling for control of the region’s mineral resources.