One person was killed, and nine others, including a civilian, were wounded in clashes Wednesday, July 20 evening and Thursday, July 21, between factional Mai-Mai militia groups in Buyinga, a locality situated more than 45 kilometres to the west of Butembo within the Luongo tribal group in Lubero territory of North Kivu province of the Democratic of Congo.
Local sources said militiamen of the Mai-Mai-UPLC (Union Patriotique pour la Liberation du Congo) from Biambwe region, near Nziapanda-Manguredjipa, had come to relieve DR Congo national army, FARDC, soldiers in Buyinga met stiff resistance from Mai-Mai Mazembe militia based in Mabambi, ten kilometres to the north within the neighbouring Muhola tribal group.
“They fiercely clashed Wednesday evening, and one UPLC militia was killed and six others wounded before their group withdrew to Buyinga from where they came. On Thursday, Mai-Mai Mazembe militia chased those of UPLC in Buyinga and clashed with them around 11 o’clock, provoking panic within the population,” a local administrative source told HumAngle.
The source revealed that two Mai-Mai Mazembe militia and one civilian were wounded in the fight, bringing the total casualty figure to one dead and nine wounded.
Since Thursday evening, calm has returned to the region, but residents are worried by the co-existence of three rival Mai-Mai groups within neighbouring villages.
“After Wednesday evening and Thursday morning clashes, calm has returned. Each group has returned to its former position, with Mai-Mai UPLC returning to Buyinga and Mai-Mai Nazembe returning to Mabambi,” said Pele Kitsongo, the traditional chief of Buyinga.
The chief said residents have started returning to their homes.
“That does not, however, reassure us because we now have three different Mai-Mai groups within a small perimeter, namely the Mai-Mai UPLC in Buyinga, and Mai-Mai Mazembe in Mabambi to the north on the Butembo highway and another group in Muhangi to the east on the Musienene highway,” he stated.
“We do not yet know their intentions, but they can clash at any moment to extend their influence in the zone. Therefore, we call on the authorities to send us soldiers rather than leave our security in the hands of militiamen.”
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