A top commander of the Mai Mai rebel movement has been gunned down in Minembwe, South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo near the Rwanda-Burundi border.
Col Njwapa was killed on Monday by Twirwaneho, a local Defence Unit of the embattled Banyamulenge community living in Minembwe.
“He was shot dead from the battlefield where he was commanding Mai Mai rebels who were shooting at our local Defence forces,” said Alexis Byicaza Sebatware, Head of Innovative Forces for Union and Congolese Democracy In DRC.
Byicaza told ChimpReports on Tuesday that Njwapa was leading a force that last week surrounded areas neighboring Minembwe Airport.
The body of the deceased was by last night on the battlefield where heavy fighting occurred between the attackers and the indigenous Banyamulenge forces.
With the alleged help of a regional force, Mai Mai and Red Tabara forces have in recent months intensified attacks on Banyamulenge communities, burning down villages and killing locals.
Hundreds of herds of cattle of the Banyamulenge, an ethnic Tutsi community which has lived in South Kivu for the last 200 years, were also looted by rebels.
Local leaders said the killing of Njwapa was a big blow to Mai Mai who have reportedly left a trail of bloodshed and destruction in Minembwe.
The war in Minembwe has since dragged in Rwanda which says dissident General Kayumba Nyamwasa is training rebels in the area.
President Paul Kagame recently authorized Rwanda special military operations in Minembwe to destroy the rebel camps and kill commanders.
The Banyamulenge have for long been opposed to President Kagame’s operations in South Kivu and instead supported Burundi’s Pierre Nkurunziza.
Byicaza says Mai Mai burned down several villages including Rutigita, Masha, Kalongozi, Monyi and Kahwera.