UN Pleads for Troops as Congo Battle Rages

Peacekeepers overwhelmed as rebels advance against government troops
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2008 8:07 AM CDT
Some of the thousands of displaced people gather in the village of Kibati in eastern Congo, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008.    (AP Photo/Karel Prinsloo)
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(Newser) – The overwhelmed United Nations peacekeeping force in eastern Congo is urgently calling for reinforcements, the AP reports. A surge in fighting between Congolese government troops and forces led by a renegade general has sent tens of thousands fleeing. The UN currently has only 6,000 troops in North Kivu, where General Nkunda is threatening to take the capital—and then the country.

The UN's envoy to the region said the logistical difficulty of dispatching UN troops opened the possibility of outside forces coming to assist. The rebels say they are fighting to protect the region's Tutsi population from the majority Hutus. Rwanda's Tutsi-dominated government denies Congolese accusations that its troops are fighting alongside the rebels.