Three suspected tribal militiamen were killed and two UN soldiers slightly wounded Friday when the armed men attacked a UN military base in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a UN source said.
"At around 4:00am (0200 GMT), a group of armed men, probably Mai-Mai, attacked the Monusco (UN mission in the DRC) position" near central Lubero, General Bernard Commins, deputy chief of the UN troops in the restive country, announced.
When UN soldiers fought back, "three (assailants) were killed in exchanges of fire and one was wounded, then taken in hand by Monusco for treatment," Commins said, adding that "two Blue Helmets were slightly injured".
Contacted by AFP, Lubero's territorial administrator Joe Bokele, who was at the scene of the incident, confirmed the attack and the casualty toll from Monusco.
The Lubero region lies about 300 kilometres (200 miles) north of Goma, the chief town of North Kivu province, where armed Congolese groups and foreign forces control several villages. They have been at odds with each other and government forces for more than 20 years.
The Mai-Mai became prominent as armed community militias during the Second Congo War (1998-2003), when they effectively allied with the Kinshasa government to battle invading troops notably from Rwanda as well as foreign rebels. Some Mai-Mai forces never gave up the weapons they got from the regime.
Since the beginning of 2017, Mai-Mai militias have regularly attacked Congolese army positions in North Kivu and in neighbouring South Kivu, where Monusco swiftly deployed troops to the lakeside market town of Uvira on September 28 after an attack.