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Aid reaches RD Congo refugees amid lull in fighting

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Aid reaches RD Congo refugees amid lull in fighting


A lull in fighting has alllowed fresh aid supplies to get through to thousands of displaced people in the Democratic Republic of Congo. But, as the international Red Cross brings relief to some refugees, tens of thousands more are thought to be cut off in the bush.

Even for those who have made it to the camps, sickness is a big fear. Aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres is warning about an outbreak of cholera.

“From here, we have had a few other patients under observation but there are 43 other cases that we suspect of being cholera,” said MSF doctor Megan Hunter.

“For the moment, we are a bit concerned the sanitation conditions in the camp are not particularly good”

Amid a tense standoff with government forces, Tutsi rebels are still thought to be in a position to take the city of Goma.

European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels expressed concern about the security and humanitarian situation. But the bloc made no offers to send European peacekeeping troops, calling instead for the Congolose army to be reinforced.

Renegade Tutsi General Laurent Nkunda has repeated his threat to bring down the government unless it holds direct talks. His men are respecting a ceasefire he says, and fought only in self-defence when attacked last week by government forces.

But, as this conflict continues, the risk now is that the armies of neighbouring countries could be drawn in.

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