Eighteen persons including 14 members of the Mai-Mai rebel group were reported dead during an attack by the rebels resulting in a clash between them and soldiers of the Democratic Republic of Congo national army, FARDC, in Bibokoboko and Magaja villages on the Fizi middle plateau of South Kivu.
HumAngle learnt that the clashes on Tuesday, Feb. 15, were sparked off by an attack by suspected rebels of the Mai-Mai on the two villages in the Mutambala sector.
At least four civilians were among the dead and some houses were burnt before the army succeeded in chasing away the Mai-Mai rebels.
“Mai-Mai Yakutumba and Kibukila militia and their Burundian allies of Red-Tabara from Lweba locality attacked Magaja village and later advanced right up to Bibokoboko centre where they razed down some houses,” said Cyprien Gakiza, the president of the civil society of Bibokoboko.
“Four old men aged between 70 and 80 years who were not strong enough to run were killed and two others were wounded.”
Gakiza said Mai-Mai rebels were chased away by the FARDC soldiers who intervened during the attack, noting that the displaced persons from the two communities returned at about 5 p.m (CAT).
He said “several areas here remain without enough security because of the insufficient number of soldiers, a situation the Mai-Mai profit from in attacking civilians.”
The FARDC confirmed the attack as well as the death of four civilians adding that 14 Mai-Mai militia were also killed during the clashes.
“These enemies of peace had, during the course of the attack, killed four civilians. Following the ferocious repost of loyalist forces, 14 assailants were neutralised and several others wounded. The situation is actually under the control of the FARDC,” said Lt. Marc Elongo, spokesperson of Operation Sokola 2 in South Kivu.
Since Nov. 2021, armed groups have intensified attacks particularly on the village of Bibokoboko.
Over 1,000 displaced persons had fled from the village to Baraka but some displaced persons returned to their homes in Dec. 2021 after the installation of a temporary base by the United Nations Blue Helmets in the zone.
Last week, cattle breeders were attacked by Mai-Mai rebels in the village of Magaja. The assailants took away 50 cows and after the intervention of the army, 20 of the cows were recovered.
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