November 4, 2014 / 3:53 PM / 4 years ago

Congo troops clash with rebels blamed for massacres

KINSHASA (Reuters) - At least one Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) soldier was killed in clashes with a Ugandan rebel group blamed for massacres at a national park in the country’s remote north east, the U.N. peacekeeping mission said on Tuesday.

Congolese soldiers stand guard as they watch residents blocking a road as they protest the killings of two locals near Beni in North Kivu province October 22, 2014. REUTERS/Kenny Katombe

Congo’s army said its forces had fought with ADF rebels in the Virunga National Park on Monday and the fighting continued on Tuesday. It declined to comment on the killing of the soldier.

Army spokesman Colonel Olivier Hamuli said Congolese soldiers had pursued ADF-NALU fighters who had killed civilians last weekend. U.N. peacekeeping mission spokesman Major Raphael Shonza said one soldier was killed in action.

Shonza added that two civilian bodies were found in the area but it was not clear if they were killed in the clash, while two people who are abducted by the rebels were recovered.

A wave of overnight massacres, most committed with machetes and hatchets, near the town of Beni have killed about 120 people and displaced some 10,000 households in the last month, according to the Civil Society of North Kivu.

Eleven more people were killed between Saturday night and Sunday morning, the group said.

Government and civil society groups have blamed the recent attacks on ADF, a secretive organisation formed in the 1990s to fight the Ugandan government, but some analysts have questioned this.

The mayor of Beni, Nyonyi Bwanakawa, said on Tuesday that the identity of the assailants involved in the attacks was still under investigation.

“If we can take one of these assailants alive, who can tell us about how these things are happening, we will have a better idea,” he said.

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