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13 Feb 2009 10:54
At least 40 Rwandan Hutu rebels were killed in air raids on their camps in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the DRC army said on Friday, in the biggest attack so far of a three-week-old joint Congolese-Rwandan offensive.
DRC’s government allowed thousands of Rwandan troops into its North Kivu province last month to take part in a joint operation aimed at disarming Rwandan Hutu militia groups that are a root cause of years of strife in Central Africa.
“An air raid was launched on a [rebel] position in Kashebere where a meeting of commanders was being held,” the Congolese army said in a statement received by Reuters early on Friday.
“The toll of this attack is more than 40 dead and many wounded,” it said.
Congolese and Rwandan ground forces also attacked a heavily defended Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) division headquarters in the village of Majembe, inflicting “heavy” losses, the army said.
However, survivors cast the bodies of dead rebel fighters into a nearby river, so no accurate death toll was available from that raid, it said.
A military spokesperson for DRC’s 17 000-troop strong United Nations peacekeeping mission, Monuc, said he was unable to confirm details of the attacks.—Reuters
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