The Congolese army said on Thursday, May 30th that its forces killed 26 rebels from a group believed to be linked to Isis, while it was rebuffing an attack in the eastern area, where there have been major outbreaks of the Ebola epidemic, Reuters has reported.
The shooting took place in a village near the town of Beni, an area where more than a dozen armed groups and gangs operate from, and the epicentre for the worst outbreak of Ebola ever seen in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
General Leon- Richard Kasonga, an army spokesman in eastern Congo, said rebels belonging to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), attacked a position in Ngite village, and the soldiers exchanged fire with them and followed them.
"The army neutralized 26 rebels and their bodies were removed," he told reporters in Goma.
The AFD has never claimed links to Isis, but witnesses said it carried out an attack in nearby Bovata last month that Isis had claimed responsibility for.
Isis claimed on Thursday May 29th that what it described as its Central African state had inflicted dozens of casualties on Congolese troops, according to the US-based SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist activity on the internet.
The group said its fighters attacked three military positions near Mavivi, near the village of Ngite, and returned safely to their positions.
No independent confirmation of the allegations has yet been received.
The ADF was originally allied to an extremist group inspired by Ugandan Salafist jihadist ideology, which has been active on the border between the Congo and Uganda for more than two decades.
Rival groups have remained based in east Congo, fighting each other for control, after the official end of the 1998-2003 war, which caused deaths to millions of people, from hunger and disease, as well as conflict.
Fighting around the town of Beni has also undermined efforts to contain the Ebola virus, which has killed nearly 1,300 people since August. Militias attacked a hospital in the nearby city of Butembo last year, and killed a Cameroonian doctor working for the World Health Organisation (WHO).