Four soldiers and 13 militiamen died in an attack on an army base on the banks of Lake Albert in northeast Democratic Republic of Congo, military sources said Friday.
An army officer told AFP the attackers belonged to a group of the Lendu ethnic community.
"In the attack on our position in Musekere, the Armed Forces of the DR Congo (FARDC) killed 13 militia members. We lost four soldiers," Lieutenant-General Egide Ngoy, commander of the naval force at Kasenyi, also in Ituri province, told AFP.
Last year, clashes over land between militia from the Hema herder community and the Lendu, who are farmers, resulted in more than 100 deaths and displaced some 300,000 people towards the centre of the country or to Uganda, on the other side of the lake.
Lakes in the region are a cause of tension between the two neighbours, with claims of Congolese militia members crossing to the Ugandan side for illegal fishing, often accompanied by attacks on locals.
Kampala seeks to crack down on illegal fishing, spurred by dwindling fish resources.
Aside from illegal fishermen, armed groups from the conflict-torn eastern DRC also rob fishermen of their boats and engines, or seize them to demand ransom.
Uganda has deployed the military onto the water, and hundreds of Congolese fishermen have been arrested.
Last July, soldiers from the two countries clashed on Lake Edward, leaving two Ugandan soldiers and three civilians dead.
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