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Rebels attack Strongman, Kabila’s residence in eastern DRC, deaths reported

Rebels attack Strongman, Kabila's residence in eastern DRC, deaths reported

Armed rebels killed at least one soldier during an attack on a house owned by Congo President Joseph Kabila in the restive east where a number of conflicts have flared in recent months, rebel and Congo military sources said on Thursday.

Kabila was not present when Mai-Mai militiamen attacked the house near the town of Beni and clashed with state soldiers, who were able to fend off the attack.

The second assault on a presidential residence in three months points to a deteriorating security situation in Congo stoked in part by Kabila’s refusal to step down in 2016 when his mandate expired.

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A home belonging to Kabila was attacked and set on fire in North Kivu province in December. A policeman died in the incident.

The security situation in the east, already a tinderbox of ethnic tensions, has worsened this year as state authority slips, forcing tens of thousands to flee and threatening to destabilise the whole country.

A spokesman for the Mai-Mai rebel group said it killed three soldiers during the attack. An army spokesman said one of its soldiers and one assailant were killed.

A spokesman for the president was not available for comment.

The Mai-Mai comprise a number of armed bands that originally formed to resist Rwandan invasions in the 1990s. They have since morphed into a wide variety of ethnic-based militia, smuggling networks and protection rackets.

REUTERS