The Star Early Edition

Seven die in Congo clash be­fore rene­gade of­fi­cer sur­ren­ders to UN

- Military · Crime · Middle East News · Latin America News · Politics · Warfare and Conflicts · Democratic Republic of Congo · United Nations · Republic of Congo · Congo River · Goma · Bukavu · Joseph Kabila · Kasai · Nikki Haley

GOMA: Clashes be­tween Con­golese troops and sup­port­ers of a rene­gade colonel in the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo’s east­ern city of Bukavu killed seven peo­ple yesterday be­fore he sur­ren­dered and turned him­self in to UN peace­keep­ers.

Army spokesman for South Kivu prov­ince, Dieudonne Kasereka, said clashes had started af­ter po­lice came to dis­arm Colonel Abbas Kay­onga, who was sacked from his post over­see­ing anti-fraud ef­forts in lo­cal mines.

Kay­onga, a former rebel from a group that had been integrated with the Con­golese mil­i­tary, gave him­self up to the UN mis­sion to the Congo.

“He has just sur­ren­dered with 17 peo­ple at the base of the mis­sion,” Kasereka said. Two sol­diers and three of Kany­onga’s body­guards were killed in the fight­ing and two civil­ians.

Seven­teen of Kany­onga’s force sur­ren­dered to UN troops and nine oth­ers were cap­tured by the army. Sol­diers found about a dozen heavy weapons at Kany­onga’s house.

Se­cu­rity has been de­te­ri­o­rat­ing across the Congo since Pres­i­dent Joseph Ka­bila re­fused to step down de­spite his man­date ex­pir­ing.

Mili­tia vi­o­lence in the east, a tin­der­box of eth­nic ri­val­ries fu­elled by the re­gion’s min­eral wealth, and in the for­merly peace­ful cen­tral Ka­sai re­gion, has raised fears the coun­try could slip back to mul­ti­fac­eted civil wars.

Those killed hun­dreds of thou­sands di­rectly in vi­o­lence while mil­lions are thought to have died from of hunger and dis­ease.

South Kivu has rich de­posits of gold, tin and coltan, used in mo­bile phones, which have long helped fi­nance rebel groups.

The na­tional elec­toral com­mis­sion was ex­pected to an­nounce a date for the elec­tion to re­place Ka­bila later yesterday. Last month it said the elec­tion can­not take place un­til April 2019, rais­ing fears of an es­ca­la­tion in­dis­tur­bances.

US en­voy Nikki Ha­ley said dur­ing a visit to meet Ka­bila last month that the vote must hap­pen in 2018 or it will lose in­ter­na­tional sup­port. – Reuters

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