National
Congo's army battles militia near Lubumbashi
Publish Date: Jan 07, 2014
Congo's army battles militia near Lubumbashi
Congolese soldiers (L) standing guard in Lubumbashis city centre, following the announcement of the provisional results of the Democratic Republic of the Congos presidential election on December 9, 2011. Violent clashes pitted the Congolese army (FARDC) against armed rebels, Mai Mai Bakata Katanga, early on January 7, 2014 near Lubumbashi, the second city of the Democratic Republic of Congo. AFP PHOTO
  • mail
  • img
newvision

KINSHASA - Congo's army fought gun battles on Tuesday with a separatist militia just 30 km (19 miles) from Lubumbashi, capital of the copper-rich Katanga province, the provincial governor told Reuters.

Although Katanga has been spared most of the rebellions that have simmered in the Democratic Republic of Congo over the last decade, the area, home to some of the world's largest copper reserves, has seen sporadic violence.

Hundreds of rebels attacked the Katangan capital last year and then surrendered after battles with security forces. Soon after, the U.N. peacekeeping mission said the situation could deteriorate.

Katanga governor Moise Katumbi told Reuters that clashes erupted overnight with fighters loyal to a militia leader called Kyungu Mutanga, also known as Gedeon.

"The army is hunting them and the fighting will continue until they are permanently driven away," Katumbi said by telephone.

Katumbi said the fighting was focused around Kiziba, southeast of Lubumbashi, but did not give a toll from the clashes.

According to a leaked report by U.N. experts in Congo, Gedeon's fighters are part of a loose network of armed groups known as Kata Katanga that are seeking secession for the province.

The multinational mining companies operating in Katanga include Freeport McMoRan and Glencore.

Violence in the province has not reached the levels seen in areas to the north, near the border with Rwanda and Uganda, where the U.N.-backed army last year defeated M23 rebels who had posed the greatest threat to President Joseph Kabila in a decade.

However, by the end of September last year, some 360,000 people had been displaced by fighting in Katanga, according to the U.N. experts.

Kabila is from Katanga, giving him a degree of local support.

But the province's relationship with the weak Kinshasa government has long been fractious. It failed in a bid for independence in the 1960s and talk of secession has never gone away.

The U.N. experts say that John Numbi, a former police chief and ally of Kabila's from Katanga, has provided military, financial and logistical support to the Kata Katanga. Numbi denies any links with the rebels.

Reuters

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
EALA session commences in Kigali
The second meeting of the 3rd Session of the 3rd Assembly commenced in Kigali, Rwanda Tuesday afternoon...
Makerere University has canceled graduation fees increment following a students strike...
Makerere backtracks on graduation fees
Graduation fees will remain unchanged, Makerere University administration has announced....
Amama should declare his interests - DP
THE Democratic Party (DP) has said that short of former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi being held accountable for alleged wrongs committed while still in good books of the NRM...
Pistorius gets five years in jail for killing girlfriend
South African Paralympian star sprinter Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to five years in prison Tuesday for the killing of his girlfriend last year, as his sensational trial reached a climax....
Oscar Pistorius sentenced to 5 years in prison
SOUTH African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius today learns his sentence for shooting dead his girlfriend on Valentine''s Day last year, bringing an end to a seven-month trial that gripped the nation....
Do Ugandan tycoons prepare their children to take over their business empires?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter