Four DRC soldiers killed by militia

Kinshasa - Four soldiers were killed during an attack on a village in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the UN peacekeeping mission in the country said Tuesday.

The Mai Mai Sheka, one of dozens of armed groups operating in the strife-torn eastern DR Congo, attacked the village of Pinga in North Kivu province in Monday night, according to the UN mission known as MONUSCO.

Congolese security officers position themselves as they secure the street near the state television headquarters in the capital Kinshasa. Credit: REUTERS

Government troops “retaliated and chased the armed group from the village after a 30-minute gunfight,” read a statement.

“According to the latest MONUSCO figures, four government soldiers were killed and three civilians injured during the confrontation.”

Army spokesman Olivier Hamuli confirmed the toll and told AFP that two of the attackers had been killed and two soldiers were injured.

UN peacekeepers retook the village of Pinga, 90 kilometres (55

miles) from provincial capital Goma, from the Mai Mai Sheka in November before handing control over to government troops.

In December MONUSCO's intervention force, whose mission is to neutralise all the armed groups active in the troubled country, boosted its presence in the zone with the aim of taking back land seized by various militia.

Government troops struck a rare and striking military success when, backed by the UN brigade, they defeated the powerful M23

rebel group in November.

“This latest incident proves that there cannot be any cohabitation nor negotiations with armed groups. MONUSCO will use all its might to consolidate the recent military gains,” said mission chief Martin Kobler.

Meanwhile the election commission announced that nationwide local elections will be held by the end of the year.

“Get ready for city and local elections,” the head of the election commission, Father Apollinaire Malu-Malu, said over UN radio.