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Army, rebels clash in DR Congo

  • This picture taken on December 9, 2011 shows Congolese soldiers (L) standing guard in Lubumbashi's city centre, following the announcement of the provisional results of the Democratic Republic of the Congo's presidential election on December 9, 2011. AFP PHOTO/ PHIL MOORE

LUBUMBASHI, DR Congo: Violent clashes broke out in the Democratic Republic of Congo between the army and separatist rebels, a local official said Tuesday, as one witness reported seeing several soldiers injured.

There was "heavy combat between the armed forces of the DR Congo (FARDC) and Mai Mai Bakata-Katanga rebels tonight," Kahozi Bin Malisawa told AFP.

The clashes began late Monday and continued until dawn on Tuesday in the village of Kiziba, some 30 kilometres (19 miles) south-east of the second city Lubumbashi, according to the official.

A military spokesman confirmed the clashes but declined to offer any more details about the conflict.

The Bakata-Katanga rebels are seeking independence for the unstable and mineral-rich province Katanga region.

One witness, who declined to be named, told AFP he saw "two FARDC jeeps carrying wounded soldiers to the military hospital" in Lubumbashi.

Bakata-Katanga secessionists regularly attack military targets.

In March, they clashed with government troops after marching in central Lubumbashi in broad daylight. Twenty-three people died in the incident.

Lubumbashi, along with the capital Kinshasa, was one of the cradles of violence in December that claimed more than 100 lives.

 
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