A colonel, three rank and file soldiers of the DR Congo national army, FARDC, and 12 rebels died on Monday, Dec. 27, in clashes between the army and a coalition of Makanika-Twigwaneho rebels and their foreign allies in the Upper Plateaux of Fizi territory in South Kivu.
According to Maj. Dieudonne Kasereka, spokesperson of the army in South Kivu, the colonel, Melchior Kembe Yaounde was the commander of the 121st rapid reaction battalion of the FARDC deployed in the Upper Plateaux. He was killed in his office.
The fighting took place on three positions of the FARDC in Chakira, Kamombo, and Nyamara villages which were attacked by the rebels.
The fighting has forced several civilians to flee from the zone, several civil society activists in the region revealed.
The Twigwaneho self-defense coalition and Makanika claim to defend the interests of the Banyamulenge who are Congolese of Rwandan origin.
“The killings in Mwenga and Fizi territories in South Kivu have nothing to do with communal conflicts,” said Maj. Kasereka, adding that the FARDC has been faced with similar attacks during the last two months.
“This is a rebellion pure and simple, organized by the Twigwaneho-Makanika coalition.”
The conflicts opposing the Banyamulenge to members of the Bembe, Fuliro and Yiundu communities over the control of land and natural resources are legendary in the Upper Plateaux of eastern DR Congo.
In Feb. 2019 and June 2020, 128 persons were killed during clashes between militia of the communities inhabiting the Upper Plateaux, according to the Joint United Nations Bureau for Human Rights.
The violence also displaced 110,000 civilians from the zone.
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