Fighting resumes between Congo army and rebels
KINSHASA, Congo: Rebels and security forces traded fire Tuesday in lawless eastern Congo, killing nine people in the latest clash between Congo's army and fighters loyal to a dissident warlord, a U.N. official said.
U.N. spokesman Lt. Col. Jean-Paul Dietrich said the clashes occurred in the village of Ntamugenga and even involved rocket fire near the villages of Rugaru and Rumangabo.
Dietrich said five rebels and four soldiers were killed.
For nearly two weeks, the army has been regularly fighting the militia of warlord Laurent Nkunda, whose rebellion began at the end of neighboring Rwanda's 1994 genocide.
Nkunda, an ethnic Tutsi, claims he is protecting Congo's Tutsi minority, which like Rwanda's Tutsi population became the target of extremist Hutus. The Hutus who perpetrated the Rwanda's genocide were chased out of Rwanda and into neighboring Congo.
Nkunda's men, however, have also been accused of atrocities, including using child soldiers as well as committing systematic rapes and summary executions.
A peace deal signed by Nkunda in January was supposed to bring an end to hostilities.
Congo held its first democratic elections in more than four decades in 2006, and is still coping with the effects of a 1998-2002 war and Rwanda's 1994 genocide, which saw millions of hungry refugees spill across the border.
Despite Congo's vast mineral wealth, most of its people remain deeply poor and desperate.
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