Congolese soldiers from the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) patrol as they search for Mai-Mai Yakutumba rebels in Namoya. At least 22 people have been killed after soldiers and members of a militia group clashed in the town of Beni. File picture: Goran Tomasevic/Reuters.

Goma - At least 22 people have been killed after soldiers and members of a militia group clashed in the town of Beni in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the army says.

Among the dead were 20 fighters of the Mai-Mai militia and two soldiers, regional army spokesman Mak Hazukay said late on Saturday.

The clashes ensued when the army tried to eliminate two Mai-Mai positions in Beni on Thursday, according to Hazukay.

The Mai-Mai are community-based militia groups, formed to defend their local territory against the numerous rebel groups active in eastern Congo, primarily fighting over the area's rich mineral resources.

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dpa