Over 800 inmates have escaped from a prison in eastern DR Congo after gunmen staged a jailbreak during the night in which at least two policemen were killed, military sources said Wednesday.
"A group of unidentified Mayi-Mayi attacked the central prison of Kakwangura in the town of Butembo. The first toll, still provisional, is that two policemen on guard duty were killed," said Captain Antony Mualushayi, an army spokesman in Beni.
One assailant was also killed and ammunition recovered, he added.
The Mayi Mayi are members of Congolese self-defence groups.
According to a prison source who requested anonymity, of the 872 people held in the prison, only 49 remained.
"The attackers came at two o'clock, they were ADF (Allied Democratic Forces). Bullets rung out whilst we were fast asleep. Suddenly we woke up, the assailants had a chainsaw with which they tore off the padlocks", said Gilbert, a military detainee at the prison.
This "attack caused the death of at least two policemen and the flight of all the detainees", wrote on Twitter the Kivu Security Barometer (KST), an organisation that has observers in the area, specifying that "the ADF is suspected".
"The enemy has infiltrated, sneaked into our neighbourhoods, into our neighbourhoods where we live. We must make the effort to find them wherever they are hidden", appealed police mayor of Butembo, Mowa Baeki Telly Roger.
Presented by the jihadist organisation Islamic State (EI) as its branch in Central Africa (ISCAP in English), the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) group is accused of being responsible for the massacres of thousands of civilians in eastern Congo and of having committed attacks in Uganda.
The ADF is said to be one of the most deadly groups in the eastern region of the DRC, which has been torn apart by violence for nearly 30 years.
In the DRC, deadly attacks on prisons and prison breaks are often reported.