Six elite presidential guard soldiers were killed on Monday in an ambush by unidentified gunmen in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, according to military and local sources.
The ambush took place in a region still disturbed by chaos more than a decade after the civil war ended.
An unidentified military source said members of the Republican Guard in charge of protecting the president and strategic positions were on their way to collect rations when their jeep came under attack on a main road in the North Kivu provincial capital of Goma.
"The elements of the Republican Guard fell into an ambush that killed six, and the assailants burned the jeep," the source said. "We have immediately opened an investigation."
No government official of the North Kivu Province was immediately available for comment.
Innocent Gasigwa, a spokesman for a civil society in Rutshuru, said that six soldiers had been killed, three wounded and one taken hostage by the unidentified gunmen in the town of Rugari.
He said that Gunmen from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a Hutu militia located in eastern Congo, were active around Rugari.
A spokesman for the FDLR could not be immediately contacted for any comment on the attack.
FDLR was established by ethnic Hutus who fled Rwanda following the 1994 genocide which left 800,000 people, mostly minority Tutsis, dead.
The UN peacekeeping mission in Congo has a unique mandate to take offensive military action against rebel groups that have threatened the region since the Rwandan genocide two decades ago.