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Monday, 9 September, 2002, 10:02 GMT 11:02 UK
DR Congo deadline for Ugandan exit
Congo rebel soldier
Uganda has been supporting rebels in the Congo
All Ugandan troops will leave the Democratic Republic of Congo by the end of the year, the Congolese Government has said.

This deadline was contained in an agreement signed by the presidents of the two countries on Friday, Information Minister Kikaya Bin Karubi told the BBC Network Africa programme.


War in DR Congo

Uganda:
2,000 troops
Rwanda:
20,000 troops
Zimbabwe:
2,400 troops


For his part, Congolese President Joseph Kabila pledged to stop Ugandan rebels using Congolese territory to launch attacks.

Uganda, along with Rwanda, sent soldiers to DR Congo in 1998 to help topple the then president, Mr Kabila's father, Laurent.

They accused him of backing rebel groups from both countries.

Earlier this year, DR Congo and Rwanda signed a similar deal but the United Nations has accused Rwanda of increasing its military presence in DR Congo.

"On 31st December, if all goes well, there will not be a single soldier from Uganda in the Democratic Republic of the Congo," Mr Bin Karubi said.

'Rescue'

He admitted that disarming both Ugandan and Rwandan rebel groups would be a "challenge".

"We are asking the international community to come to our rescue," he said.

But he said that the Congolese army was being trained in order to move into the areas vacated by Uganda and that joint patrols would be mounted in border areas.

There has recently been fierce fighting between two Congolese ethnic groups, the Hema and the Lendu in the north-eastern town of Bunia, involving Ugandan troops.

Peace deal signed in South Africa
Rwanda and DR Congo signed a peace deal in July

Uganda backs the MLC rebel group in DR Congo, while Rwanda supports the RCD rebel group.

Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia sent troops to support the Congolese Government.

Zimbabwe still has 2,400 troops in DR Congo, says the United Nations Mission in DR Congo (Monuc).

Uganda has recently withdrawn 1,800 troops but still has 2,000 based in Bunia, the UN says.

But despite the July deal between DR Congo and Rwanda, around 20,000 Rwandan troops remain on Congolese territory.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Kikaya Bin Karubi on BBC Network Africa
"It's a challenge"

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28 Aug 02 | Africa
23 Aug 02 | Africa
13 Aug 02 | Africa
11 Aug 02 | Africa
30 Jul 02 | Africa
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