YAOUNDE, Cameroon

About 100 students are missing and several villages were set on fire during clashes between militia groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), UN-run radio has reported.

The incidents occurred in the Kabambare area in the eastern Maniema province, a local administrative official, and a civil society leader told Radio Okapi on Tuesday.

The fighting that took place on the Kabambare-Kulewa road axis from Dec. 10 until Tuesday, Dec. 15 forced the population to flee and seek refuge in neighboring villages, according to a local civil society leader, who requested anonymity for security reasons.

The Central African country has been battling militia groups for over two decades.

Competition between industrial and artisanal miners is a source of tension in the DRC, according to the International Crisis Group.

The illicit exploitation of natural resources continues to be the driver of the conflict in the east of the country, according to the UN.

Most of the militia groups have set aside their political demands and are involved in mineral trafficking.

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