Four members of security forces and one civilian were killed as separatist rebels attacked two military camps in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s main mining centre of Lubumbashi, the city’s mayor said.
Lubumbashi Mayor Ghislain Robert Lubaba Buluma told the AFP news agency on Sunday that six of the rebels died in the attacks.
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Jeff Mbiya Kadima, a member of a civil society platform that works with the government, told AFP the rebels had targeted the camps of Kimbembe and Kibati on Sunday morning.
Fortune Mbaya, a civil society leader, said the attackers had identified themselves as members of the separatist Bakata-Katanga militia.
Residents reported the sounds of gunfire in several districts following the assaults.
Al Jazeera’s Alain Uayakani, reporting from the capital Kinshasa, said it could take government forces several days to fully clear the rebels from the area.
“The army said they have succeeded in pushing back the militia from the town. The militia are mixed amongst the population and the operation to fully clear them from the city and surrounding areas may take days,” Uayakani said.
Lubumbashi is the country’s second-largest city and the capital of the southeastern Katanga region.
Former President Joseph Kabila, who comes from the region, returned there in December after a tussle for power between his supporters and his successor Felix Tshisekedi.
Incursions by the Bataka-Katanga, fighting for the region to secede from DRC, occur frequently in Lubumbashi. Two policemen and a soldier were killed in the last attack on September 26.