BUKAVU - Four people were killed in a nighttime attack Tuesday in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, in which several people were also abducted by suspected Hutu militia members, local officials said.

"A group of armed bandits attacked the village of Numbi," in restive South Kivu province, its chief, William Sebrikanda, told AFP, adding that one of the victims was a Congolese soldier.

"Five people were also wounded and several others were carried off into the forest," he added.

The attack was attributed to the Mai-Mai Nyatura, a "self-defence" militia of ethnic Hutus.

For more than a year, a cycle of attacks and reprisals between Hutu and Nande militias has stoked tensions in the Kivu regions, which like the rest of eastern Congo have been torn apart by over 20 years of conflict.

The area has large reserves of coltan, used in mobile phones and other electronic gear, as well as cobalt and other minerals.

The Numbi village is about 20 kilometres (12 miles) from a mining site known as Luziba, whose exploitation is being contested by two local mining cooperatives.

But a local mining official, Michel Liete, told AFP that "I don't think it is linked to the operations at the Luziba mine."

In a radio statement, one mining cooperative demanded "a serious investigation to find the people behind this despicable crime."