The Congolese commander in charge of military operations in the country's troubled east has been killed in an ambush.

An Associated Press reporter embedded with troops witnessed the attack Thursday in which Col. Mamadou Ndala was killed.

Ndala was traveling in the lead car in a convoy when a rocket exploded close to his car and the convoy came under heavy machine-gun fire for several minutes. At least eight other soldiers were injured.

The assault happened near the town of Beni, where the army is trying to flush out the Ugandan rebel group ADF-NALU, which has led gruesome killings in the area.