Since Friday, “the army neutralised 16 elements from the Patriotic and Integrationist Congo Forces (FPIC) and captured seven more,” said Jules Ngongo, an army spokesman in Ituri province.
“Two of their fortified villages are now under the control of loyalist soldiers,” he added, while “three brave soldiers, including an officer” had been killed.
“Search and followup operations are continuing,” Lieutenant Ngongo said.
The FPIC is one of an estimate least 122 armed groups tallied in Congo’s four eastern border provinces of Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu and Tanganyika in a recent report from analysts at the Kivu Security Tracker (KST).
It is “made up of mainly young Bira” people angry at being excluded from the provincial government and eager to regain lands occupied by Hema people, the KST says.
Several residents of the Irumu territory in Ituri province told AFP that the militia have also attacked the Alur community.
In early 2020, the FPIC set a police station and a government office on fire, the same residents said.