A Congolese army officer was recently killed during a “search operation” for Ugandan rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in North Kivu, in the east of the DRC.
“Sabuni Louis Major, second commander” of a battalion of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Congo (FARDC) committed to the fight against Muslim Ugandan ADF rebels was killed whilst “he and his team were in a search operation” in Sesele, 12 km northeast of Oicha in the Northern Province, of the operational sector Sokola I.
A military source said on condition of anonymity that the team had been taken “by surprise and a dozen soldiers of the patrolling party had not returned.”
A local NGO had reported “at least 12 soldiers” killed during the clashes. General Kasonga, spokesman of the Congolese army confirmed the attack attributed to “rogue elements,” and referring to the three rebels killed, “We have defeated them completely” he said.
On tour in the region, Congolese President Joseph Kabila promised to residents of Oicha “the total and definitive eradication of this enemy (ADF) in a short time,” in a statement made to the population in Swahili, the local language, as relayed to state television.
Muslim rebels opposed to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, the ADF have been present for twenty years in eastern DRC, where they are accused by the UN of having killed more than 500 civilians in a series of massacres and attacks perpetrated since October 2014 in the Beni territory and the borders of neighboring Ituri.
In the last major rebel attack of November 29, according to the UN, 24 people including a Peacekeeper, died in an assault against the city of Eringeti on the edge of the territory of Beni and Ituri.
North Kivu has been torn for over twenty years by armed conflict fueled by ethnic strife, land disputes, competition for the control of mining in the region and rival resources between regional powers.
Darell Maurice is a Journalist based in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital city Kinshasa and works for Canal7kintv. He also blogs here.