There was sustained gunfire on Tuesday as Mai Mai militias from Democratic Republic of Congo went on rampage and seized Ishasha town near the border with Uganda.
Ishasha border point is a border crossing station and customs post in the Kanungu District in the Western Region of Uganda.
Located in in North Kivu Province of Congo, Ishasha has a River Camp Airport in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda.
The rebels had of recent moved towards the Uganda border line where they intensified activities in neighbouring places especially in Ishasha.
According to residents, the Tuesday fighting was between Mai Mai rebels and government forces allied to President Joseph Kabila better known as The Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo [FARDC].
Gun fire began early hours of the morning and remained sporadic till 9am.
Mai Mai militias upped attacks and overrun the army barracks at Ishasha, burnt it to ashes killing 12 government army officers, injuring others and forcing the rest to run away.
The rebels then went to Ishasha Customs Congo side, looted property and money, officially taking control of the town.
Lodges in Ishasha and Kihihi town council in Kanungu district are occupied by refugees, according to reports from western Uganda.
There are also reports that Congolese wildlife officers entered Queen Elizabeth National Park in Kasese district to take back some elephants that escaped the recent fighting only to be barred by Uganda Wildlife Authority [UWA] officials.
About 80,000 people have fled fighting between the Democratic Republic of Congo army and a new rebel coalition, the United Nations said on Tuesday, joining the millions already uprooted in Africa’s worst displacement crisis.
Militia violence has intensified across Congo since President Joseph Kabila refused to step down at the end of his constitutional mandate in December, raising fears the country will slide back into the wars at the turn of the century that killed millions.
The latest fighting broke out in South Kivu province’s Fizi territory, in the eastern part of the country.
Government troops clashed with the National Coalition of the People for the Sovereignty of Congo (CNPSC), a new alliance of local self-defence militias, the U.N. Organisation for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a new report.
The rebels seized several towns last month before being beaten back by government troops, according to the army, which said at least a dozen people were killed in the clashes.