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Mutiny in DR Congo ends UN raid

UN peacekeeper in DR Congo
The UN is helping the army pacify eastern DR Congo

A mutiny by some 40 soldiers in Democratic Republic of Congo has led to the suspension of a joint UN-Congolese operation against a rebel group.

The men, unhappy about their conditions of service, fired shots in the air and seized food rations, a United Nations spokesman told the BBC.

Other UN officials say the men had fired at a UN helicopter in which a senior commander was travelling.

Some 17,000 UN peacekeepers are in DR Congo to oversee elections due in June.

They have been helping the Congolese army stage a series of raids against various rebel groups which continue to rampage in parts of the east.

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The Congolese soldiers were taking part in a joint operation to retake the town of Tchei in Ituri region from an ethnic militia.

The elections will be the first multiparty polls in DR Congo for 40 years and come four years after the end of a civil war.

The current transitional government is made up of various rebel leaders, who agreed to lay down their arms in return for a share of power.

Mineral-rich DR Congo, the size of western Europe, has been ravaged by conflict and misrule and there are no roads or railways from one side of DR Congo to the other.

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