Page last updated at 17:41 GMT, Friday, 10 October 2008 18:41 UK

DR Congo president's call to arms

President Joseph Kabila
Joseph Kabila called on citizens to protect the unity of DR Congo

Congolese President Joseph Kabila has made a televised appeal for people in the east to take up arms against rebel general Laurant Nkunda.

His comments came after Gen Nkunda said he wanted to "liberate" the whole of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Meanwhile, the UN peacekeepers said rebel forces had withdrawn from an army base captured earlier this week.

Gen Nkunda was persuaded to withdraw from Rumangabo base with captured arms and supplies, an spokesman said.

Forces loyal to the general had overrun the base on Tuesday, forcing thousands of people to flee and capturing weapons abandoned by the fleeing government troops.

'Must mobilise'

In his address, President Kabila praised the courage of his troops.

Map of DR Congo and neighbours

"Over and above any political divide, we must mobilise as one behind our armed forces and our elected representatives to preserve peace and the unity and (territorial) integrity of the country," he said.

Gen Nkunda has said he intends to take his fight across DR Congo.

Fighting resumed in August between his forces and the army, despite a peace deal signed in January.

More than 100,000 people have fled the clashes, aid workers say.

Amid the renewed violence, DR Congo accused Rwanda this week of sending troops across the border to threaten the city of Goma.

Rwanda denied the claim, and a UN spokesman told the BBC they had found no evidence of this, though he conceded that the border was long and difficult to patrol.

Rwanda twice invaded its neighbour in the 1990s and has accused the DR Congo government of backing Rwandan Hutu rebels.


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