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DRC Army Officials: At Least 23 Killed in Skirmishes With Rebel Militias

VOA News - February 22, 2007

Army officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo say several days of skirmishes with rebel militias have killed at least 23 fighters, mostly among the militias.

The fighting was in North Kivu province, near the DRC's eastern border with Rwanda and Uganda.

Despite the presence of 17,000 U.N. peacekeeping soldiers, bands of foreign and domestic militia fighters still terrorize the country's east. The Rwandan Hutu militia, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda or FLDR, has operated in eastern DRC since fleeing Rwanda in 1994, when many of them took part in the slaughter of some 800,000 people.

The DRC is struggling to rebuild after a civil war from 1998 to 2002, when approximately four million died, mostly from hunger and disease. However, violence continues in the country's east, despite a peace deal in 2003.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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