According to Media Reports, a South African soldier was killed earlier today in a rebel attack in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Another critically injured South African National Defence Force soldier was evacuated to hospital in Goma with a colleague who sustained minor injuries.

Five rebels and a policeman were killed in the gunfight that broke out when members of the Mayi Mayi and Allied Democratic Forces groups attacked the SANDF position near Butembu around 6.30am‚ said spokesman Brigadier-General Xolani Mabanga.

“The SANDF members‚ as part of the UN Stabilisation Mission in the Congo‚ engaged in a fire fight with the attackers and repelled the attack‚” said Mabanga.

“After a lengthy stand-off the attackers fled and during consolidation of the scene it was established that four Mayi Mayi rebels were killed and two captured.” The particulars of the dead soldier would be released once next-of-kin had been informed.

Defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula‚ secretary for defence Sam Gulube and SANDF chief General Solly Shoke had “expressed their heartfelt condolences to the family‚ friends‚ colleagues and comrades of the deceased and wish the injured a speedy recovery”.

Mai-Mai militia have staged several attacks in Butembo in recent months and though the reasons for their return appear unclear, some residents say they have heard some fighters claim they are seeking to oust Kabila.