Congo rebel attack kills at least 24: U.N
At least 24 people, most of them civilians, were killed when rebels attacked an army base in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo earlier this week, United Nations peacekeeping force MONUC said Thursday, according to Reuters.
Quoting information from the Congolese army, known as FARDC, MONUC military spokesman Lt. Col. Jean-Paul Dietrich said the FARDC base in Mandje was attacked at 2300 local time (2200 GMT) Monday and the gun battle lasted until 0600 the next day.
Members of Rwandan Hutu militia the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) carried out the attack, he said.
"An early toll indicates that three members of FARDC were killed and four of them wounded. Sixteen civilians were killed, including a wife and two children of FARDC soldiers. Five members of FDLR were killed," Dietrich said.
Mandje lies in a remote area of North Kivu, 5 kilometres north of Hombo near the provincial border with South Kivu. "Only helicopters can reach the area, and they cannot always land easily," Dietrich said.
Earlier this year Congolese and Rwandan forces mounted joint operations against Rwandan, Ugandan and local gunmen in Congo's eastern provinces, often provoking reprisal attacks against civilians.
Hutu rebels have been central to Congo's wars since 1994, when they crossed into the country from Rwanda. Aid workers say some 5.4 million Congolese have died, mostly from hunger and disease, since the last war began in 1998.