Katanga Rebels Stage Incursion Into DR Congo Mining Centre


Katanga rebels stage incursion into DR Congo mining centre

Lubumbashi, DR Congo, Sept 26 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 26th Sep, 2020 ) :Shooting erupted in the Democratic Republic of Congo's major mining town of Lubumbashi during the night as separatist rebels staged an incursion, officials said Saturday.

"Bakata Katanga insurgents entered the town," around 2300 GMT, provincial interior minister Philbert Kunda Milundu told AFP.

"They managed to reach the town centre," he added.

Several witnesses told AFP the rebels had raised the flag of the former republic of copper and cobalt-rich Katanga in a main square in the Lubumbashi.

However, during the morning, with gunfire only sporadic, the town's biggest shop opened for business at the request of the mayor, an AFP correspondent said.

Soldiers and police were deployed in large numbers and state television and radio were off the air in Lubumbashi.

"The situation is under control.

It's time to clean up," Upper Katanga province's information minister and spokesman Harce Kayumba told AFP.

"The shooting you can hear now is more dissuasive than confrontational, at least for now," the minister added.

However, security forces had been ordered not to aim at the rebels but to shoot in the air.

Kayumba said he would provide an update on the situation after a security meeting.

Upper Katanga was one of four provinces created from the breakup of Katanga after independence in 1960.

The insurgents, fighting for the mining rich region to secede from DR Congo, had raised the Katanga flag in Lubumbashi in 2015 before handing themselves over to UN forces.

The rebels were demobilised in Lubumbashi and due to be returned to civilian life. However they say the authorities abandoned them after a period of training at an army base.