At least 16 members of a militia group have been killed in the troubled North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a military source said Monday.
The militia group had been engaged in intense fighting against the Congolese army since Friday, when at least four militiamen died.
Army spokesman Jules Tshikudi told AFP that Congolese soldiers killed seven others on Sunday and the bodies of five Mai-Mai, a self-described “self-defence” group, were recovered on Monday.
“The situation is currently under control,” Tshikudi said.
The violence took place in the village of Kipese in Lubero, in the eastern Great Lakes region near the border with Uganda.
The county is about 270 kilometres (170 miles) north of Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, where fighting between militia groups and the Congolese army has intensified since the beginning of the year.
The Mai-Mai first emerged as community self-defence groups formed on a mainly ethnic basis.
During the Second Congo War (1998-2003), groups like the Mai-Mai were armed by the distant Kinshasa authorities to help battle invading Ugandans and Rwandans, whom North Kivu communities regard as foreigners.
Rich in precious minerals, the east of the DRC has been unstable for 20 years. Several dozen local and foreign armed groups stand accused of serious rights abuses against civilians, such as rape, killings and abductions.