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Wednesday, 16 October, 2002, 20:28 GMT 21:28 UK
Rwanda blames DR Congo for attack
RCD rebels fleeing Uvira
The RCD lost control of Uvira over the weekend
Rwanda has accused the authorities in DR Congo of using local Congolese militia as a smokescreen for their real allies - the Rwandan militia responsible for the 1994 genocide.

Rwanda says that most of the so-called Mai-Mai fighters who seized the Congolese town of Uvira at the weekend are in fact members of the former Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR) and Interahamwe militia.


The RCD and the Mai-Mai must not create the conditions to justify the return of foreign troops

UN's Amos Namanga Ngongi
Meanwhile, a United Nations official in Kinshasa has warned that the renewed fighting in eastern DR Congo may bring about the return of foreign troops.

So far, the UN says, more than 27,000 foreign soldiers, including more than 20,000 Rwandans, have left the country, in accordance with a peace accord signed in July.

'Smokescreen'

The BBC's Helen Vesperini in Kigali quotes regional security sources as saying that more than 6,000 Interahamwe from two brigades known as Horizon and Tempete are deployed around Uvira and in the plain between Uvira and Bukavu, the provincial capital of South Kivu.

They say that several hundred Interahamwe took part in the fighting outside Bukavu two days ago, in an unsuccessful attempt to capture the city's airport.

Rwanda says it reserves the right to defend itself against the members of the former army and the Interahamwe.

Fears

The UN secretary general's special representative in DR Congo, Amos Namanga Ngongi, also expressed concern about the situation in the east of the country.

Mr Ngongi said that the fighting may lead to a return of foreign troops.

Rwandan troops leave DR Congo
Crowds in Bukavu watch the Rwandans go earlier this month

"The Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) and the Mai-Mai must not create the conditions to justify the return of foreign troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo," Mr Ngongi said at a news conference.

He denied that Rwandan troops were present in Kisangani and in the two Kasai provinces, contrary to what the Kinshasa authorities had intimated on Monday.

The UN also appealed to the RCD-Goma to return to negotiations with the government on an end to hostilities.

The RCD suspended the talks on Monday, after Uvira was seized by the Mai-Mai.

A spokesman for the UN, Hamadoun Toure, told the BBC the talks had been close to reaching agreement when they were broken off.


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See also:

15 Oct 02 | Africa
03 Oct 02 | Africa
24 Sep 02 | Africa
19 Sep 02 | Africa
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