December 25, 2017 / 7:22 PM / 8 months ago

Attackers torch Democratic Republic of Congo president's property

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) - A home belonging to Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila has been attacked and a policeman died in the incident, local lawmakers and U.N. sponsored radio said on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: Joseph Kabila Kabange, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo

Photos posted on social media showed the main house on the farm, located near the village of Musienene in North Kivu province in the east of the country, was gutted by fire.

Kabila was not at the property during the attack which took place overnight from Sunday to Monday.

It was not immediately known who was responsible for the raid. The body of the policeman who died was burned, a local government official said.

Congo is embroiled in a political crisis linked to Kabila’s refusal to step down as president when his mandate expired a year ago while militia violence and political unrest are increasing.

“We firmly condemn this barbarous act and call on the population ... to disassociate from any actions likely to compromise peace and development in this part of the country,” lawmakers said in a statement.

More than a decade after the end of a 1998-2003 war in which millions of people died, mostly from hunger and disease, rebel fighters and local militias stalk Congo’s mineral-rich eastern borderlands.

The armies of Congo and neighboring Uganda launched a joint operation against the Congo-based, Ugandan Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) last week.

The Islamist rebel group is suspected of being behind a Dec. 8 attack on a United Nations base in North Kivu that killed 15 Tanzanian peacekeepers and five Congolese soldiers.

The ADF has been blamed for a wave of attacks and massacres in the area. Raids by local Mai Mai militia fighters are also growing increasingly frequent.

Reporting by Fiston Mahamba,; Additional reporting by Amedee Mwarabu in Kinshasa,; Writing by Joe Bavier, editing by Ed Osmond

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