The file photo shows militiamen in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Militia fighters decapitated
about 40 police officers after an ambush in central Democratic Republic
of Congo, local officials said on Saturday, the deadliest attack on
security forces since an insurgency erupted in the region last year.
Kamuina Nsapu militants struck on Friday as the police convoy drove
from the city of Tshikapa in Kasai province to Kananga, the capital of
Kasai-Central province, said Francois Madila Kalamba, speaker of the
Kasai provincial assembly.
“They were apprehended by the militia
members and they decapitated about 40,” Kalamba told Reuters. He added
that witnesses said the fighters spared the lives of six police officers
because they spoke the local Tshiluba language.
fighters, who are often armed with machetes but rarely carry firearms,
made off with arms and vehicles during the raid, Kalamba added.
Mbombo, president of the Civil Society of Kasai, a provincial activist
group, also said about 40 officers had been decapitated following the
ambush. The provincial governor and national police spokesman could not
be reached for comment.
The insurgency, which has spread to five
provinces, poses the most serious threat yet to the rule of President
Joseph Kabila, whose failure to step down at the end of his
constitutional mandate in December was followed by a wave of killings
and lawlessness across the vast central African nation.
attack follows government reports of a wave of surrenders by fighters in
neighbouring Kasai-Central province in recent days. The Interior
Ministry said on Saturday that 400 fighters had surrendered this week in
But as the insurgency has spread, the fighters
operating under the name Kamuina Nsapu appear to operate increasingly
independently and without a clear leadership structure. Some recent
violence appears to be ethnic score-settling.
More than 400 people
have been killed in the violence, according to the United Nations, and
the government said on Tuesday that 67 police officers and many soldiers
had died in the clashes.
Many of the dead have been dumped in
mass graves. The United Nations said this week that it had identified 10
alleged mass grave sites and was investigating seven others.
military’s top prosecutor announced last week that seven soldiers had
been charged in connection with a video that appears to show soldiers
massacring suspected militia members, including for murder and
Two UN officials, one U.S. citizen and the other of
Swedish nationality, and four Congolese accompanying them were also
kidnapped last week by unknown assailants in Kasai-Central. They have
yet to be located.