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Rwandan militias clash with army troops

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KINSHASA, 7 Apr 2005 (IRIN) - Provincial authorities in South Kivu, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), said on Tuesday that there had been fighting between Congolese troops and Rwandan Hutu militias, known as Interahamwe, at a village 150 km north of the provincial capital, Goma.

"Interahamwe had, as they often do it in this corner, attacked the national Congolese army [known as FARDC]," Eugene Serufuli, the provincial governor, told IRIN. "FARDC pushed them back and they dispersed in the bush not far from Lusamabo village."

He said no assessment had been made of the fighting, which occurred on Saturday in Miliki village, therefore casualty figures were unavailable.

The government army spokesperson was unavailable for comment. However, a military spokesman for the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC), Col Domenica Demange, said the mission had received contradictory information about the fighting.

UN-supported Radio Okapi reported that earlier fighting between the Interahamwe and FARDC caused confusion, and led to more exchange of fire between two units of the Congolese army.

The radio said soldiers of the army's 8th Brigade thought they had been attacked and exchanged fire with their colleagues who were pursuing Interahamwe militiamen.


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