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Saturday, 21 September, 2002, 15:21 GMT 16:21 UK
Rwandans continue pull-out
Rwandan soldiers dismantle a gun
Rwandan forces will leave four more towns soon

The Rwandan Army has begun the second phase of its withdrawal from the Democratic Republic of Congo under the terms of the latest peace deal.

The troops sweated as they loaded anti-aircraft guns and rocket launchers onto a Russian-built cargo plane at an airport in the east of the country.

Even as the first plane left the airstrip in a storm of red dust, non-governmental organisations were preparing to send some of their staff out of the region temporarily for security reasons.

Renewed fighting

The events in Kindu - the town that Rwandan forces left on Thursday - are unlikely to reassure them.


Map of the Democratic Republic of Congo showing areas of control
War in DR Congo
Uganda:
2,000 troops
Rwanda:
Up to 20,000 troops
Zimbabwe:
2,400 troops

Heavy shooting broke out there hours after the Rwandan forces withdrew.

After a day of relative calm on Friday, inhabitants reported renewed fighting on Saturday.

They said it pitted the Congolese rebels who now control Kindu against Mayi Mayi tribal militia.

Over the coming days Rwandan forces will leave four towns in northern Katanga - Kalemie, Kongolo, Kabalo and Nyunzu.

They will then start on what is probably the trickiest leg of the operation - the pull-out from the Kivu provinces which border Rwanda and which are home to militia responsible for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Helen Vesperini
"Rwanda is now in the process of pulling out completely"

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See also:

20 Sep 02 | Africa
19 Sep 02 | Africa
09 Sep 02 | Africa
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