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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 June, 2004, 08:58 GMT 09:58 UK
DR Congo army recaptures Bukavu
Bukavu citizens greet arriving troops
Thousands lined the streets to welcome the troops
Government troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo have recaptured the eastern town of Bukavu from dissident soldiers without a fight.

Correspondents say thousands of residents sang, beat drums and honked horns as soldiers marched in, ending a one-week occupation by the rebels.

A rebel commander, Colonel Jules Mutebusi, fled with his men overnight.

The fighting in and around Bukavu has posed a serious threat to DR Congo's complex power-sharing arrangements.

The town's capture by the renegade soldiers on 2 June was condemned by the United Nations Security Council, which accused them of atrocities and human rights violations.

The UN has 10,800 troops in DR Congo - but Bukavu fell despite the presence of several hundred UN peacekeepers there.

Army spokesman Col. Leon Richard Kasonga told AP news agency the army's priorities now were "to consolidate peace and re-establish order in the town of Bukavu".

Warning

Anti-UN protests swept the country after the dissident soldiers took Bukavu.


On Tuesday evening the UN force, known as Monuc, had warned it would arrest any of Colonel Mutebusi's men found on the streets of the town.

Another dissident army officer, General Laurent Nkunda, had marched several thousand troops south from neighbouring Nord-Kivu province to help him capture Bukavu.

They are both members of the Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD), a former rebel group backed by neighbouring Rwanda.

The troops are supposed to be integrated into the DR Congo's new national army.




BBC NEWS:VIDEO AND AUDIO
The BBC's Robert Walker
"It does now appear that government forces are back in control"




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