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At Least 11 killed As Army Clashes With Central Congo Militia

No less than 11 individuals were killed in central Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday in conflicts between the armed force and  militia members  loyal  to a traditional chief  killed  during a fight with police a year ago, a local activist said.

Monday’s violence happened near Tshimbulu, the town where the armed force killed more than 60 militia members during a fight  last Friday, Jean Rene Tshimanga, leader of the Civil Society of Kasai-Central area, said.

“This morning, we learned again that (the militia) attacked the men in uniform (who) repelled them,” Tshimanga told Reuters. He did not know how many of the dead were militia members and how many army soldiers.

Neither provincial nor military officials could be immediately reached for comment.

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Similar clashes in recent months have killed hundreds and uprooted tens of thousands. The militia’s leader, Kamwina Nsapu, was killed by police last August after having vowed to rid the province of all state security forces.

Analysts say militia violence in Congo, a tinderbox of conflicts linked to land, ethnicity and mineral resources, has been exacerbated by President Joseph Kabila’s failure to step down when his constitutional mandate expired in December.

On Saturday, the Congo’s U.N. peacekeeping mission said Kamwina Nsapu had committed violent atrocities and used child soldiers and it also criticised the army for what it said was a disproportionate use of force against the militia fighters, who are typically only lightly armed.

 

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