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DRC: More than a dozen dead in clashes between rebels and gov't forces

DRC: More than a dozen dead in clashes between rebels and gov't forces

Democratic Republic Of Congo

At least a dozen rebels and four Congolese soldiers have been killed in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The DRC’s army on Tuesday said its soldiers were killed in clashes with fighters of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and Mai Mai rebels.

The clashes started on Sunday in Mpati, some 100 kilometers southwest of Goma, the capital of North Kivu province.

The fight is part of an ongoing operation to reclaim five villages in the region captured by the rebels.

The FDLR, a Rwandan Hutu group based in eastern DRC is fighting to overthrow the Tutsi-led government in Kigali.

The group is made up of several people wanted in connection with the 1994 Rwandan genocide which left at least 800,000 people dead – mainly from the Tutsi minority.

One of the FDLR fighters, Ladislas Ntaganzwa who has been detained since December in Kinshasa, was on March 20 extradited to Rwanda.

The group is also accused of regularly violating the rights of people in the DRC which is now their new home.

In February last year, the DRC’s army launched an offensive to flush out FDLR rebels from North Kivu, South Kivu and the nothern Katanga province, areas from where the group operates.