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Fleeing Congolese return home

KAMPALA, 9 Aug 2005 (IRIN) - Some 40 combatants and over 100 civilians who had fled into western Uganda from eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) last week have returned to their country, a Ugandan military spokesman said on Tuesday.

"Those who were injured got treatment from us and have also returned," Lt Chris Magezi, the army spokesman in western Uganda, said.

He said the situation is now calm although the Ugandan military was still on alert in case Ugandan rebel groups based on the DRC side of the border take advantage of the confusion to attack Uganda.

The fighting took place in the DRC's eastern province of North Kivu around the border town of Ishasa, forcing civilian to flee into Uganda on Saturday.

Magezi said during the fighting a stray bullet wounded one person in Uganda. Two bombs also exploded on the Ugandan side but no one was hurt.

Magezi said the fighting was between Mayi-Mayi militiamen and fighters from the former rebel movement Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD-Goma) which is now political a party to the DRC's post-conflict government.

"A big group of Mayi-Mayi fighters overrun a RCD-Goma group of fighters who then fled across the border," Magezi said.

He said he did not know if the RCD-Goma fighters had been integrated into the DRC army or were still an independent armed group. However, a spokesman for the UN Mission in the DRC, Lt Col Patrick Hubert, told IRIN on Sunday that the fleeing combatants were government troops.

Hubert said that six Mayi-Mayi militiamen and two civilians - a priest and a woman - were killed in the attack.

"The priest was killed by a 51 millimetre mortar that landed on his house and the woman was killed by a bullet," he said.

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