At least 35 killed in attack on mining hub in Congo

At least 35 people were killed this weekend in the Democratic Republic of Congo after rebels attacked the copper mining hub located in the country's southeast, the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Congo said.

The violent action by hundreds of separatists armed with bows, arrows and machetes has been considered the largest in the province of Katanga in more than a decade. As a consequence of the attack, reports FT.com (subs. required), the transport of minerals has been interrupted and authorities imposed a nighttime curfew in the capital, Lubumbashi.

Major miners, such as commodities trader Glencore (LON:GLEN) and Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE:FCX), have operations in the copper and cobalt-rich area, which exports about half a million tonnes of copper a year.

The militia, which the UN named as Mai Mai Kata Katanga (meaning “cut out Katanga” in the Swahili language), is one of several local militias operating in the province.

A total of 245 rebels fought with the army and police in the city of Lubumbashi before forcing their way into a UN compound and surrendering.

The organization said it would hand the combatants over to state authorities, adding that 54 of those who surrendered were injured, 15 of them seriously.

The body warned the situation in the city is currently the city was “calm but tense”.

(Image of Congo rebels by VICE, via YouTube)