Africa

DR Congo commander Ndala 'killed in ambush'

DR Congo soldiers patrol near Beni in North Kivu province on 31 December 2013 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Government troops are fighting rebel groups in North Kivu province

The commander of government troops fighting Ugandan Islamist rebels in eastern DR Congo has been killed, a government spokesman said.

Colonel Mamadou Ndala died along with two bodyguards in an ambush in North Kivu province, the spokesman said.

It appeared to be the work of the rebel Alliance of Democratic Forces and National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (ADF-Nalu), he added.

DR Congo, with UN help, is trying to crack down on armed groups in the area.

There are believed to be at least 10 such groups, ADF-Nalu is considered to be the only Islamist organisation.

Col Ndala was credited with defeating the M23 rebel group in November.

"This is really an immense loss for the armed forces and the republic," government spokesman Lambert Mende told AFP news agency.

The ADF-Nalu was blamed for a brutal attack on civilians in villages around the town of Beni last month.

At least 40 people - including women and children - were killed. Most appeared to have been hacked to death and three girls had been raped and then beheaded.

Understanding DR Congo

Image caption Eastern DR Congo is awash with a variety of different rebel groups. This is a snapshot of their locations in late 2012, before the M23's defeat. Some have come from neighbouring countries, others have formed as self-defence groups. Many are taking advantage of the lack of a strong state to seize control of the area's mineral riches.
Image caption The Democratic Republic of Congo covers 2,344,858 square km of land in the centre of Africa, making it the 12th largest country in the world.
Image caption With an estimated population of 75.5 million, DR Congo is the fourth most populous country in Africa. Some 35% of the population live in cities and the capital Kinshasa is by far the largest, with more than 8 million inhabitants. DR Congo has around 200 ethnic identities with the majority of people belonging to the Kongo, Luba and Mongo groups.
Image caption DR Congo has abundant mineral wealth. It has more than 70% of the world's coltan, used to make vital components of mobile phones, 30% of the planet's diamond reserves and vast deposits of cobalt, copper and bauxite. This wealth however has attracted looters and fuelled the country's civil war.

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