Democratic Republic of Congo soldiers have killed five militia fighters in ‘intense’ combat in the country’s troubled east, the army said on Saturday.
Militia fighters attacked an army position near Minembwe in the eastern highlands, army spokesman captain Dieudonne Kasereka said in a statement.
After ‘intense fighting which lasted all day Friday, the provisional toll is five combatants neutralised,’ the statement said.
The army called on residents who fled to return to their homes, saying the situation was now under control.
The fighting occurred with a group known as the Makanika and Twigwaneho coalition, one of the myriad militia groups in eastern DR Congo.
In another incident in the same area, shepherds chasing militia fighters who had stolen their cows were killed during a clash with the army, which had also been in pursuit of the militia, Kasereka told AFP.
‘In this confusion there was an exchange of fire between the soldiers and the shepherds. Three shepherds were killed and two weapons recovered,’ he said.
Communal conflicts in the eastern highlands occur regularly involving disputes over local authority, land and natural resources.
Last month, dialogue between various communities was organised by the authorities but failed to bring an end to the violence.
Between February 2019 and June 2020, 128 people were killed in clashes between militias from communities living in the area, according to the United Nations joint human rights office.
The violence has displaced 110,000 civilians.
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