Thousands Flee Congo Fighting

Civilians in the middle as local militias clash with rebel general
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2007 5:46 AM CDT
People flee from fighting near the town of Mugunga, some 15 kilometers (9 miles) from Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2007. A renegade general battling government forces in eastern...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Thousands of refugees are fleeing a new outbreak of fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Renewed fighting has erupted between dissident Gen. Laurent Nkuda and local militias, as well as between Nkuda and regular government forces, following Nkuda's refusal to disarm his troops and reintegrate into the army. Aid agencies warn of a deepening crisis in the battle-ravaged land.

"What I saw was horrendous," said a UN spokeswoman. "Three women gave birth while they were fleeing." Some refugees are awaiting room in a Congolese refugee camp; others have already fled across the border into Uganda. The Congolese government has been accused of cutting medical supplies to regions controlled by Nkuda, worsening the plight of civilians; 370,000 have been displaced since the start of the year.