[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 17 December, 2004, 12:13 GMT
Aid workers leave DR Congo town
A child walks in front of looted shops in Kanyabayonga, DR Congo
Only a handful of families remain in Kanyabayonga
Aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres has pulled out of a town in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, amid rising concern at renewed fighting.

The charity says it evacuated its team from the town of Kayna as a security precaution, after armed men forced several staff to hand over their cars.

Up to 40,000 people have fled clashes between government forces and pro-Rwandan forces in nearby Kanyabayonga.

Some of have found shelter, but others are sleeping rough.


The fighting raises fears that the Congolese war, which drew in at least six other African armies, could reignite.

The war officially ended in 2002 after some three million deaths.

Rwanda claims

In Kanyabayonga, shops had been looted and patients were lying unattended in a clinic, the Associated Press news agency reported.

Clashes broke out on Sunday when government troops advancing on Kanyabayonga, 17km (11 miles) south of Kayna, were blocked by soldiers from a former Rwandan-backed rebel group.

The group was supposed to have been integrated into DR Congo's new national army as part of a power-sharing agreement set up to end the five-year war.

The renegade soldiers appear to have now strengthened their positions, pushing back government forces some 15km (9 miles) north of Kanyabayonga.

"We pushed them towards the north. They fled," a rebel officer told the AFP news agency.

There are no confirmed figures on the numbers of casualties in the recent fighting but a BBC correspondent who has visited the town says he counted the bodies of at least 75 Congolese soldiers killed since the clashes began several days ago.

The Congolese government claims Rwandan troops are fighting alongside the former rebels.

The latest fighting follows repeated reports that Rwandan soldiers entered DR Congo last month to attack Hutu rebels, blamed for the 1994 genocide.

Rwanda denies sending troop but says it will act against the Hutu rebels unless they are disarmed by the Congolese government and UN peacekeepers.

A government delegation from Kinshasa is to try to resolve the crisis.

A mission of UN peacekeepers is also going to investigate the fighting.

The violence in eastern DR Congo is increasing

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific