KINSHASA - Some 230 Ugandan rebels and 22 Congolese soldiers have been killed in a nearly month-long offensive in restive eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the government said Friday.
According to a provisional toll by the army chief of staff, 22 troops and 230 fighters from the Islamist ADF-Nalu rebellion have died in the clashes since January 16, said government spokesman Lambert Mende at a press conference in Kinshasa.
He said 65 weapons had been recovered in the operation, as well as "pharmaceutical products in large quantities".
"We also discovered that the enemy had a bomb-making factory, which confirms the ADF's terrorist nature," he said.
The ADF-Nalu rebellion began in the mid-1990s, a merger of two armed groups who oppose Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, in power since 1986.
It has evolved into a Islamist organisation, led since 2007 by Jamil Mukulu, a former Christian.
The United States labelled it a terrorist organisation in 2001 and Mukulu has been subject to UN sanctions since 2011 and EU sanctions since 2012.
The rebels are based in the mountainous region of Rwenzori on the border with Uganda. The movement is infamous for kidnapping and indoctrinating locals, and using forced labour to carry out illegal logging and gold mining.