KINSHASA (Reuters) - Fighting between Hutu and Nande ethnic militias in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Thursday killed 17 civilians and one police officer, a local army spokesman said, in a sign of worsening insecurity across the vast country.

"Some were killed by gunshots and others by machetes," Captain Guillaume Djike told Reuters.

Innocent Gasigwa, a local activist, said the clashes involved the predominantly ethnic Nande "Mai Mai Mazembe" militia and mostly Hutu "Nyatura" fighters.

(Reporting by Aaron Ross; Editing by Tim Cocks)