Thousands seek aid in rebel-held Congo

GOMA, Congo (AP) — Nearly 100,000 people have gathered in a rebel-held town in eastern Congo for the largest distribution of U.N. aid since fighting started there last month.

The U.N. Children's Fund was giving out soap, water cans and blankets in Rutshuru. The town has become the capital of rebel-held eastern Congo.

Agency spokesman Jaya Murthy says the supplies can combat contagious and dangerous diseases like cholera. Hundreds of cases have been reported in Rutshuru in recent weeks.

The outbreak came after intensified fighting in August forced more than 250,000 people to flee to crowded and unsanitary refugee camps.

Wednesday's crowds far outnumber the 3,000 people at a weekend rebel rally. Rutshuru is 45 miles (70 kilometers) north of the provincial capital of Goma.


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