Security forces in Congo Republic have killed around 15 rebel fighters during a military operation in the central African oil producer’s restive Pool region, authorities said.
Police claimed that the the Ninjas rebels had been trained in explosives and were planning to attack the country’s main railway line between Pool and the capital, Brazzaville.
Police further said that they seized several weapons and ammunition during the raid that lead to several deaths of the Ninja militia members.
The Ninjas rebel group fought two civil wars against the government in the 1990s and were seen as having disbanded after agreeing to a peace deal in 2003, although sporadic clashes have continued.
The Congolese government has maintained that it is attacking military bases linked to Frederic Bintsamou, better known as Pastor Ntumi, who led a militia that fought President Denis Sassou Nguesso during and after the civil war in 1997.
The authorities blame Pastor Ntumi and former militiamen for raids on military, police and local government offices in the capital Brazzaville on April 5, 2016.
The violence followed a contested presidential election in which the opposition accused the government of fraud.
Vast numbers of civilians fled the region during the conflict but most have now returned, according to the government.