Congolese security forces thwart rebel attempt to seize mining hub

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Kinshasa –  Pro-independence rebels tried to seize strategic buildings Congolese mining hub of Lubumbashi overnight, beheading policemen and killing a soldier before security forces repelled incursion, regional authorities said.


Democratic Republic of Congo’s second-largest city is capital of mineral-rich -eastern province of Haut-Katanga, where mining companies such as Ivanhoe and MMG Ltd have concessions.


Late on Friday, around 200 Mai-Mai militiamen, armed guns and machetes, had marched into the city of around million people the aim of occupying official buildings and the local television station, Provincial Interior Minister, Fulbert Kunda, said.


officers were beheaded and a soldier shot the stand-off security forces, killed 16 rebels as they rebuffed the , he said.


“At the moment, the is under control and it has become calm across the whole territory of the city,’’ Kunda said a .


Mai Mai comprise several armed bands that originally formed to resist two invasions by Rwandan forces in the late 1990s.


They have since morphed into a variety of ethnic-based militia, including hardline secessionists.