Clashes between DR Congo armed forces (FARDC) and Islamic militants of Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) on Sunday and Monday morning left 7 rebel fighters and 2 government soldiers dead according to General Sylvain Ekenge, the deputy spokesman for the Congolese army.
The clashes happened in Kadohu village, Beni where 2 rebels and two FARDC soldiers were killed and Kikingi village, in the Rwenzori sector where five combatants were killed and another captured, according to the army.
“This Monday, ADF militants tried to attack and massacre the population in Kikingi but they were repulsed by our troops who were on patrol leaving 5 slaughterers dead, one captured and one FARDC soldier injured. The captured will give us more information about these murderers, “Said General Sylvain Ekenge.
He added that Friday last week in Kadohu village, FARDC patrol had intercepted a group of ADF militants who wanted to spread terror on this side.
“In the clashes, two rebel fighters were killed, two FARDC soldiers also died on the field of honor and one soldier was injured,” he noted.
In October last year, DR Congo army announced a large scale offensive primarily targeting Allied Democratic Forces rebels who have killed hundreds of civilians and security forces over the past few years and recruited children. Attacks have hampered Ebola containment efforts.
The army last month announced the capture of the group’s headquarters at Medina after a fierce battle that saw a number of fighters including the group’s six senior commanders killed.
The UN peacekeeping mission MONUSCO last week reported that Congolese troops had captured 40 ADF men.
However according to local civil society groups, despite these reported successes the killings have been continuing at a high rate in the area.
The Beni region, in the North Kivu province which borders Uganda and Rwanda, has been particularly affected by militia violence.
The Islamist-rooted ADF has targeted Beni, killing over 1400 civilians over the last five years.
The UN’s peacekeeping mission in DR Congo has supported DRC troops in the region, but has ruled out backing any foreign intervention.
There have been demonstrations in the city of Beni, where local people accuse the UN peacekeeping force MONUSCO of failing to protect them. At the end of November, local people looted a MONUSCO base there.
Since then, the UN force and the army have been conducting joint patrols in the region though they haven’t been able to save the situation.
The ADF began as an Islamist rebellion hostile to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
It fell back into eastern DRC in 1995 and appears to have halted raids inside Uganda. Its recruits today are people of various nationalities.