(formerly IRIN News) Journalism from the heart of crises

Leader of Katanga insurgents captured

Residents of Kilwa, a town in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s southeastern Katanga Province, have captured the leader of an unidentified armed group that last week seized control of the town.

The leader, Alain Ilunga Mukalyi, was captured on Monday, the deputy governor of Katanga Province, Chikez Diemu, said.

Mukalyi was then taken to a hospital and has been undergoing surgery for gunshot wounds, which he sustained in a battle on Friday when government soldiers regained control of the town. Up to 30 insurgents were killed in the action, according to Diemu. Several rebels were captured including Mukalyi's second-in-command.

The rebels attacked Kilwa on 15 October casing at least half the town's population of 6,000 to flee to neighbouring Zambia, officials there said. Residents were transported across Lake Mweru into Zambia on boats owned by the Australian cobalt and copper mining firm, Anvil Mining, which has been operating around Kilwa.

Many of Kilwa's returning residents lacked food and water while in hiding. Diemu said although they had not yet received aid from humanitarian agencies, local officials were doing what they could for the needy.

Médecins Sans Frontières evacuated its staff when the rebels attacked but a two-person team is due to return to evaluate aid requirements in the area, MSF Coordinator for the Great Lakes, Luc Nicolas said.

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