YAOUNDE, Cameroon

At least five soldiers were killed and five others seriously injured after rebels attacked a military post in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ituri province, a UN-run radio station reported on Wednesday.

The attack by the Cooperative for the Development of the Congo (CODECO) rebel group took place on Tuesday in Ezekere, located about 10 kilometers (6 miles) southeast of the provincial capital Bunia. A senior military officer is among the fatalities.

Radio Okapi said the army succeeded in repelling the assailants. No official statement has yet been issued.

Since January, the situation in Ituri province has deteriorated significantly in the Djugu, Irumu and Mahagi territories, Save the Children said in August this year.

At least 1,315 people were killed, including 165 children. An estimated 300,000 people have been displaced since January, adding pressure to the situation in Ituri, which already hosted over 1.2 million internally displaced people in 2019.

Most attacks in the region are blamed on CODECO and the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) insurgent groups.

The illicit exploitation of natural resources continues to be a root cause and driver of 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.

Copyright 2022 Anadolu Agency. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.