The Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) announced on Monday, July 3, that at least four rebels and one soldier had been killed in the latest spate of fighting with an unnamed militia in Fizi territory, South Kivu province, since June 29. “Mai-Mai” rebels (a name given to community-based militia groups) have reportedly attacked and taken control of several towns in South Kivu, including the town of Fizi. The Canadian Banro Mining Corporation reported that a convoy of 23 trucks from the Namoya mine, located in eastern Maniema province, were trapped in crossfire in Lulimba, believed to currently be controlled by the rebels. Fighting in the general area is likely to continue over coming weeks.
On July 2, South Kivu authorities reported that three Ugandans and 18 Tanzanian employees of the Tanzanian Alistair Cargo Transport Firm had been abducted by rebels on June 29; it is unclear if the incident is directly linked to the aforementioned clashes.
Numerous armed groups are active across the country. Violent clashes between these groups and government forces, as well as between rival groups, are common, especially in the restive North and South Kivu regions (located in the east of the country).
Kidnapping for ransom is also a significant threat in eastern regions of the country; there have been a growing number of attacks against mine and NGO workers operating in the region, a manifestation of the state’s limited presence in the eastern provinces. The interior ministry announced on May 27 that militiamen had freed a French national and three Congolese workers, who were kidnapped on February 28 from Banro Corp's Namoya gold mine. The Rahiya Mutomboki militia, who reportedly demanded a USD 1 million ransom, are suspected to be behind the abduction; it is unclear whether the ransom was paid.
The security situation in the east of the country is extremely volatile. Those present in South Kivu are advised to be extremely vigilant as further violence may flare up without warning.
More generally, individuals in the DRC are advised to exercise caution and maintain a low profile at all times. For various security reasons, a number of Western governments advise their citizens against travel to the east and northeast of the country, including South Kivu and North Kivu.
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