Colonel who led charge against DRC rebels dies in ambush

2014-01-02 16:19

Kinshasa – The colonel in charge of military operations against rebels in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was killed in an ambush with three other soldiers, says government spokesperson Lambert Mende.

Colonel Mamadou Ndala, who helped to secure the military defeat of the M23 rebel group in November, died of his injuries after a rocket attack on his vehicle near the village of Mazizi in North Kivu province, Mende said today.

His death indicated the challenge facing the DRC government and a 21 000-strong UN peacekeeping mission in its efforts to pacify dozens of armed groups operating in the east of the vast central African nation.

Mende said: “Colonel Mamadou Ndala has just passed away. We have not yet identified the attackers.”

He added that the three other soldiers in the vehicle were also dead.

Ndala was in charge of tackling the ADF-NALU rebels, a Ugandan group which has stepped up its attacks in eastern DRC this year and has been identified by a UN peacekeeping mission as one of the main obstacles to peace in the mineral-rich region.

ADF-NALU has been blamed for a spate of recent attacks and kidnappings around the town of Beni in North Kivu, including the deaths of at least 60 civilians in two attacks last month.

Sources said Ndala was returning from Beni airport without a military escort.

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