Thousands Flee as Congo Ceasefire Fails

Heads of state meet as army, rebels kill dozens
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2008 8:30 AM CST
Rebel leader Laurent Nkunda is surrounded by soldiers at his base in Tebero,, Thursday, Nov. 6, 2008 north of Goma in eastern Congo.   (AP Photo/Karel Prinsloo)
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(Newser) – The ceasefire in eastern Congo crumbled yesterday as Tutsi rebels and Hutu militias did battle, leaving dozens of bodies lying in the streets of a town near the Rwandan border and forcing 35,000 residents to flee, the Guardian reports. Hutu residents have accused the rebel army of Laurent Nkunda of murdering civilians. The fighting appears to have been sparked by a regional Hutu militia, supported by the Congolese army; the UN did not intervene.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is holding a meeting in Kenya today, at which the Congolese president will meet his counterpart from Rwanda, who is believed to support the Tutsi rebels. Nkunda renewed his threat to attack Goma, the main city of the disputed region, if Congolese forces continued to attack his troops. The UN's forces in Goma have dug in, warning that they would use all their forces to defend the town.