Another Mai Mai rebel leader has been killed in a heated battle in Minembwe, South Kivu, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo along the Rwanda-Burundi border.
The deceased has been identified only as Ngomanzito.
He is the second high ranking leader in the armed movement to be killed by Twirwaneho, a local self-defence force of the Banyamulenge in Minembwe.
In September, Twirwaneho shot dead Col Njwapa who was later succeeded by Ngomanzito.
Alexis Sebatware Byicaza, the leader of Innovative Forces for Union and Congolese Democracy, an opposition group in South Kivu, told ChimpReports on Wednesday morning that Ngomanzito was killed yesterday “at Rumba near the market called Mukane.”
He added: “Ngomanzito was killed by Banyamulenge youth of Twirwaneho who are defending their parents from being killed from our motherland.”
Byicaza further said the Mai Mai attempted to flee with Ngomanzito’s body only to abandon it in the wake of hot pursuit by Twirwaneho.
The unfolding developments are very significant for regional security.
Rwandan Special Forces recently launched attacks in Minembwe where Rwanda National Congress (RNC) rebels were hiding, killing dozens.
The Banyamulenge also provide a buffer zone for Burundi which has previously suffered attacks by the Red Tabara rebels.
According to Byicaza, the rebels attacking Banyamulenge intend to capture Minembwe Airport.
The security of Burundi would be at stake if the Red Tabara, which is working closely with Mai Mai, continues to obtain critical battlefield experience and an expanded operational area near the Burundi border.
This could compel Tanzania and Uganda to take action as they remain the guardians of Burundi’s democracy.
As of today, gunfire was still raging in Minembwe as Red Tabara and Mai Mai try to encircle Banyamulenge youth in Minembwe.
A local leader said the fighting has displaced thousands of people from their homes with many dying of malaria in forests.