The Congolese army announced on Wednesday that it had lost two soldiers and killed 18 militiamen during clashes in the eastern highlands of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Army representative, Major Dieudonne Kasereka told AFP on Tuesday morning that “A unit sent to reinforce the army was ambushed by militiamen from the Makanika-Twigwaneho coalition near the village of Kagogo in Uvira, in the Hauts Plateaux of South Kivu.”
“In the exchange of fire, the army killed eighteen militiamen, two soldiers of the Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC) fell on the field of honour and five others were seriously wounded. ”
The Makanika-Twigwaneho coalition, an armed group formed on a communal basis, claims to defend the interests of the Banyamulenge, Tutsi Congolese of distant Rwandan origin. Its commander, Colonel Michel Rukundo Makanika, deserted the army at the beginning of 2020 with a group of Banyamulenge soldiers and entrenched themselves in the territory of Fizi.
This territory, which is home to the Hauts Plateaux of South Kivu, is plagued by a communal conflict that essentially pits the Banyamulenge against members of the Bembe, Fuliro, and Nyindu communities.
The Genesis of this conflict is in the control of land and natural resources but also in disputes over local authority. There have been many reports of clashes between the coalition of Banyamulenge militiamen and the Congolese army have been.
A recent case is that which happened on December 28 where a colonel, three Congolese soldiers, and twelve militiamen were killed in fighting against the Makanika-Twigwaneho coalition in the Eastern Highlands of the DRC, a region that has been threatened for more than 25 years by dozens of local and foreign armed groups.