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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 July, 2004, 00:13 GMT 01:13 UK
Rwanda opens border with DR Congo
Congolese refugee rests
Thousands have fled the recent unrest
Rwanda has reopened its border with DR Congo following a month-long spat which prompted fears of renewed hostilities between the two countries.

The border was closed after Kinshasa said Rwanda was backing rebels in east DR Congo, an accusation Rwanda denied.

The two countries edged closer to war, when both claimed the other was massing troops along the border.

DR Congo is still recovering from a five-year war, which ended last year, and involved six other countries.

Lorries passing

The re-opening of the border has raised hopes of a normalising of relations between Kinshasa and Kigali.

Talks took place just over a week ago between the Rwandan and Congolese presidents, at which they agreed to abide by an existing peace agreement.

Five years
Seven foreign armies
At least 3 million dead
Disease and abuses widespread

On Saturday, lorries and buses passed between the two nations.

"I just have to thank God that we can now get on with our lives," said Christophe Mumberi, 32, a Congolese man returning from Rwanda.

Mr Mumberi buys fuel in Rwanda which he sells at a premium in DR Congo.

"When [the border] was closed, I could do nothing. This is the only way that I can earn any money for my wife and our six children, so we have been hungry over the last month," he said.

Communities either side of the border are used to passing freely to trade and visit relatives, despite hostilities between the two countries.

Rwanda and DR Congo both accuse the other of supporting insurgents.

The two presidents have agreed to re-establish a joint mission to investigate these charges but this has not yet been put into practice.

DR Congo's civil war threatened to restart when renegade soldiers captured the eastern Congolese town of Bukavu in June.

There were fears that Rwanda, which has twice invaded the country, would again become involved.

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