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Six soldiers killed in DR Congo ambush


democratic republic of congo mapSix Congolese soldiers were killed on Monday in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu province, a region where Rwandan Hutu rebels have been blamed for many massacres, military sources said.

The attack took place in Rugari, some 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of Goma, the capital of North Kivu.

“A Republican Guard jeep was ambushed in Rugari,” said Justin Mukanya, administrator of Rutshuru territory which lies on the border of Rwanda and Uganda.

“Six soldiers were killed by a rocket in the ambush,” he said, indicating that the attackers had not yet been identified but that an inquiry was under way.

An intelligence officer based at the military’s regional headquarters in Goma confirmed that six soldiers had been killed in an incident which took place between 0700 and 0800 GMT.

Rutshuru is one of the main areas of operation for Hutu rebels from the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda).

The DRC government of President Joseph Kabila has been under international pressure to tackle the FDLR, which is among the most intractable of many armed groups operating in the North and South Kivu provinces, displacing scores of thousands of villagers.

The Rwandan rebels, numbering between 1,500 and 2,000, are blamed for a string of atrocities, rapes, lootings and the forced enlistment of children in the resource-rich region, where they also traffic in timber and gold.

DR Congo has been the scene of some of Africa’s bloodiest wars.

The UN mission trying to bring peace to the vast country, MONUSCO, said last week it would stop providing food from September to nearly 7,000 ex-fighters, sparking fears of more violence.

The announcement came as the FDLR accused Kinshasa of “starving” nearly 200 of its ex-combattants and 600 others housed in Kisangani with the aim of “forcing” them to return to Rwanda.

The mineral-rich North Kivu region has been torn apart by conflict for over two decades and the UN mission has stationed most if its 20,000 peacekeepers there.

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