Congo Thwarts Rebels Attempt To Seize Mining Hub

Pro-independence rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo have beheaded two policemen and killed a soldier during a failed attempt to seize strategic buildings in the African nation mining hub of Lubumbashi.

The incident which happened overnight was foiled by security forces.

DR Congo’s second-largest city is the capital of the mineral-rich south-eastern province of Haut-Katanga, where mining companies such as Ivanhoe and MMG Ltd have concessions.

Late on Friday, around 200 Mai-Mai militiamen, armed with guns and machetes, had marched into the city of around two million people with the aim of occupying official buildings and the local television station, Provincial Interior Minister, Fulbert Kunda, said.

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Two police officers were beheaded and a soldier was shot dead in the stand-off with security forces, who killed 16 rebels as they rebuffed the attack, he said.

“At the moment, the situation is under control and it has become calm across the whole territory of the city,’’ Kunda said in a video statement.

Mai Mai comprise several armed bands that originally formed to resist two invasions by Rwandan forces in the late 1990s.

They have since morphed into a variety of ethnic-based militia, including hardline secessionists.

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