KINSHASA, Aug 30, 2007 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) 's district of Rubaya in the region of Masisi in the eastern province of North-Kivu has been taken over by troops loyal to renegade general Laurent Nkunda after fierce clashes with DRC armed forces (FARDC), according to sources.
According to sources quoted Wednesday by the UN-sponsored radio station "Top Congo," four FARDC's soldiers were killed during the fighting which erupted Monday in Masisi region, considered as a stronghold of the renegade former general, who was also the president of the national congress for people's defense (CNDP).
Nkunda has since last May been threatening to take up arms after declining to participate in the demobilization, disarmament, and rehabilitation process (DDR), accusing the DRC government of failing to respect its commitments.
He had notably demanded the integration of his troops within all ranks in the national army, and the government's commitment guaranteeing the protection and rights of Congolese Tutsis, otherwise known as the Banyamulenge who live in eastern DRC.
A former Tutsi senior army officer in the Rwandan-backed former rebellion during the last war in DRC from 1998 to 2003, Nkunda is currently the subject of an international arrest warrant for war crimes committed by his troops in the South-Kivu region of Bukavu in 2004.
During an interview last year, Nkunda said he was fighting against the central government to end the persecution of Congolese Tutsis and to defend their rights. These Tutsis, originally from Rwanda, migrated to DRC at the beginning of the last century when animosities started between the Hutu and Tutsi communities.
Meanwhile, a meeting of army chiefs from DRC, Rwanda and Burundi was held Tuesday in the Rwandan capital of Kigali in a bid to formulate common strategies for tracking down rebels belonging to the democratic forces for the liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and other active rebel groups in eastern DRC.