Congo army killed a top Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel commander during a military operation late on Friday in Mapobu forest, Beni region of North Kivu province.
Congo army spokesman, Maj Gen Leon Richard Kasonga, said soldiers shot dead Mouhamed Mukubwa Islam – one of the top three leaders of ADF that has been terrorising the region.
“During further fighting on Friday 29 November near Mapobu, Mohamed Mukubwa, who is considered a major ADF commander in the area, was killed by the FARDC,” said Major Gen Kasongo.
This came hours after ADF attackers killed at least 13 people in the restive region.
The attack happened in Kukutama, a village about 10km (six miles) from the city of Oicha, where 28 people died during a previous attack earlier in the week.
Gen Kasonga said the killing of this leader is another sign that they have the capacity to end this rebellion in the coming days.
Earlier this month, Congolese forces killed Nasser Abdullayi Kikuku, another senior leader of the group that has also been blamed for the recent upsurge of violence in the area.
The attacks recently sparked a protest which saw residents storm a UN base and set it on fire.
Residents accuse both the DRC’s security forces and MONUSCO – one of the UN’s most expensive and largest peacekeeping missions in the world that has operated in DRC for the past 20 years – of not doing enough to stop rebel attacks on civilians.
At least 81 civilians have been killed since November 5 in Beni, according to figures provided by Kivu Security, a joint project of the Congo Study Group and Human Rights Watch.