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Congolese rebels pull back

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Congolese rebels pull back


Rebel fighters in the Democratic Republic of Congo have agreed to pull back in the east of the country to facilitate talks with government forces.

Once home to 50,000 people, the town of Kanyabayonga is now all but deserted following heavy clashes. The few remaining people here accuse the army of looting and rape, and the United Nations is struggling to put in place a ceasefire.

Demoralised government forces clashed with their own Mai Mai militia allies, who forced them to stand and fight when soldiers fled in the face of the rebel advance.

Trapped in the middle are ordinary people. Thousands have fled as the fighting worsens.
Deliveries of food and medicine to refugees is made even more difficult by poor roads. Years of fighting and mismanagement have seen the jungle retake much of eastern Congo. The World Food Programme says it is already trying to feed nearly a quarter of a million people in makeshift camps. Heavy rains and disease are hampering the task, and many have succumbed to malaria.

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