Several Killed as Police Clash with Suspected Former Rebels in Central Cuvette Department
Severity: 3 (Moderate)
Source: Drum Cussac
05/12/2014 (Congo (Brazzaville)) – The local media reported on Sunday, 11 May, that at least 11 people were killed and another 1o injured following an attack against local police in the city of Owando, located 500km (311 miles) north of Brazzaville in Cuvette Department. According to authorities, local police stopped a group of suspected armed bandits who turned out to be former rebel fighters from the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Equateur Province. The assailants attacked police officers, killing two on the spot, whilst another two succumbed to their injuries shortly thereafter. Security forces launched a major manhunt, catching up with the assailants in the Obouya locality, some 50km (31 miles) from Owando. At least seven people were killed in the ensuing shootout.
Police indicated on Sunday that a former DRC rebel commander, Udjani Mangbama, was among the fatalities. Udjani had commanded a powerful ethnic Enyele rebel outfit operating in the DRC’s Equateur Province in early 2009. His group was able to seize the Bomongo and Libenge territories before marching and temporarily occupying the provincial capital, Mbandaka. He was forced to flee to Congo-Brazzaville in late 2009 following sustained clashes with rival Munzaya rebels over access to resources as well as government forces. Brazzaville refused to extradite him in May 2010, indicating that the former rebel commander would remain incarcerated in the Republic of Congo. It is largely unclear whether Udjani was freed or able to escape, and how long he had been moving freely. A DRC government official has requested for additional information on the incident.
Personnel in Owando are advised to monitor the situation for updates and anticipate potential increased security measures over the next seven days. At this juncture, the clashes appear to be an isolated incident. Nonetheless, former Enyele fighters in the DRC’s Equateur continue to threaten to resume the armed struggle against the government, a threat that if carried out could have a spillover effect and affect security in Cuvette Department. Clients are advised to remain apprised of security related developments and adhere to the directives of authorities at all times. Travel outside of Brazzaville should be subjected to journey management protocols, including travel in convoy.
Copyright © 2014 Drum Cussac