An American journalist and at least three other security guards remain missing following a militia attack on a security station in the Democratic Republic on Congo on Friday. Six Congolese rangers were found Saturday in a large forest reserve, local official Alfred Bongwalanga Efoloko confirmed.
Immediate details about the missing journalist weren't available and authorities failed to prove the attack was an abduction. Army reinforcements, Efoloko added, were deployed Friday night to search for the remaining missing.
"I am optimistic they will all be found," Efoloko told The Associated Press by telephone. "The forest is very big. Maybe they fled in another direction. According to testimony of their colleagues, the attack came as the team wanted to go have a meal" and there was a lot of crossfire.
Two British journalists and five other park rangers, who were part of the same team, escaped after the attack and fled to another reserve base.
The Center for Studies of Peace and Defense of Human Rights identified the attacks as Mai-Mai SIMBA, a terrorist organization founded in 2013 in the DRC. In February, the militiamen from the same organization killed 25 civilians with machetes in an ethnic attack.
The African country has endured much bloodshed in recent months following the end of President Joseph Kabila’s constitutionally mandated two-term limit, according to Human Rights Watch.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.