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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 June, 2004, 15:14 GMT 16:14 UK
UN looks into DR Congo clashes
Congolese fleeing Bukavu
Thousands of people have fled fighting
The United Nations is investigating reports into further fighting in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo north of Uvira.

Renegade soldiers expelled from Bukavu last week are believed to be involved in clashes with government militia.

The security situation in the east has worsened drastically since fighting erupted in Bukavu earlier this month.

Amid rising tensions, the DR Congo army is accusing Rwanda of massing its troops on their common border.

A statement issued by the Congolese army also described the dissident general whose troops occupied the town of Bukavu earlier this month as a spokesman for the Rwandan army.

Speaking to the BBC's Focus on Africa, Rwandan Foreign Minister Charles Muligande refused to condemn General Laurent Nkunda's actions, describing them as an internal matter for DR Congo.

Rwanda denies Congolese claims that it was behind the week-long take-over of Bukavu.

UN spokesman Sebastian Lapierre played down concernssaying there was no need to worry unless the Rwandan troops crossed the border.

Counter-offensive

The UN are making their third attempt to enter Kamanyola, a village between Bukavu to the north and Uvira to the south.

Previous trips to the area have been hampered by access problems; on Monday the road was blocked by what looked like a fresh minefield.

According to Mr Lapierre, investigators have flown into Uvira and are now making their way to Kamanyola by road.

There are few details about the Kamanyola skirmishes, as the UN has withdrawn its unarmed military observers from the area after they had received direct threats.

Colonel Makya Baka, a leader of the Mayi Mayi militia loyal to the government, told the BBC his troops were attacked by renegade forces on Saturday in Kamanyola and were mounting a counter-offensive.

According to Col Baka his attackers were soldiers of Colonel Jules Mutebusi, who together with General Nkunda, took the town of Bukavu on 2 June.

They were expelled from the town last week by government soldiers without a fight.

Deadline

But General Nkunda has since threatened to reoccupy Bukavu if the government does not set up a commission to investigate alleged atrocities against the Banyamulenge ethnic group.

According to General Nkunda he went to Bukavu to protect civilians, in particular the Banyamulenge ethnic group, who he claims were being attacked.

Brig Gen Laurent Nkunda
Are we going to let the massacres continue? We cannot
Laurent Nkunda
Dissident officer

The Congolese government has dismissed the ultimatum which expires on Tuesday and instead urged him to surrender.

DR Congo's Foreign Minister Antoine Ghonda told the BBC that troops loyal to General Laurent Nkunda had committed crimes including looting and rape and should be brought to justice.

Some 10,000 Banyamulenge have fled to neighbouring Burundi according to the UNHCR

UN spokesman Hamadoun Toure has urged the rebel commanders to stop their unrest.

"We would like to remind Mutebusi and Nkunda that their actions were condemned by the whole world - by Monuc, the UN Security Council, the African Union. You cannot fight the whole world. They have got to stop," he said.

The UN has 10,800 troops in DR Congo - although those sent to Bukavu did not stop the town falling to the rebels.




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