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Rwanda's army chief in DR Congo

Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila
President Joseph Kabila met the Rwandan army chief in Kinshasha

The Congolese president, the head of the Rwandan army and a UN mediator have held talks to try to resolve the conflict in eastern DR Congo.

Ex-Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and Rwandan army chief-of-staff James Kabarebe met President Joseph Kabila in the Congolese capital Kinshasa.

They talked about pursuing an attack on Hutu rebels, Rwandan officials said.

The presence of Rwandan Hutu rebels in DR Congo lies at the heart of the region's instability in recent years.

The talks come a day after a meeting between UN mediator Mr Obasanjo and Congolese Tutsi rebel leader General Laurent Nkunda.

The UN has been trying to broker a peace deal between Gen Nkunda and the DR Congo government at talks in Kenya.

Rebel funding denied

A UN report recently said that Rwanda and DR Congo have been using rebel movements as proxies in a covert struggle against one another.

But foreign ministers from Kigali and Kinshasa have met several times recently, pointing to a warming in relations.

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Rwanda and DR Congo have reportedly been working out a plan under which Rwanda will provide intelligence support for a military campaign to flush out Hutu militias from eastern DR Congo, just across the border from Rwanda.

Meanwhile, Rwanda's richest businessman has denied allegations in a UN report that he funded the rebels of Gen Nkunda.

Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa is currently under arrest in the UK awaiting a hearing on Friday regarding his extradition to South Africa, where he is charged with fraud and tax evasion.

Speaking to the BBC for the first time about the UN report, Mr Rjugiro said the accusations were baseless.

The report also said that Rwandan officials had been helping Gen Nkunda's forces, while the Congolese had been backing the FDLR Hutu rebels.

This week, Gen Nkunda's chief-of-staff said he had deposed the rebel leader but this has been strongly denied.

Gen Nkunda and his group say they are fighting to protect the Tutsi community from attack by Rwandan Hutu rebels based in DR Congo, some of whom are accused of taking part in the 1994 genocide.

In 1994, 800,000 people died in Rwanda's genocide, which is seen as the origin of the current conflict across the border.

Fighting flared in eastern DR Congo last August when rebel forces seized new territory, leaving some 250,000 people homeless, before agreeing to a halt in the fighting.

Rwanda has twice invaded its much larger neighbour, saying it is trying to stop the Hutu rebels from using Congolese territory to launch attacks.

But critics say the conflict is about raw power and control of DR Congo's rich mineral resources.

Both rebel and government forces have been accused of murder, rape and torture.

Update 8 March 2013: The tax issues referred to in this report were subsequently settled and no charges ensued.



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