UN attacks rebels to protect civilians in Congo

GOMA, Congo (AP) -- A U.N. spokeswoman says peacekeepers have used helicopter gunships to attack rebels trying to take a village in eastern Congo.

U.N. spokeswoman Sylvie van den Wildenberg says the peacekeepers fired Monday at rebel forces surging on Kibumba.

U.N. officials also used helicopters in December to repel the rebels, killing hundreds under their mandate to protect civilians in the Central African country.

Also Monday, the U.N. spokeswoman said the commander of the embattled Congo peacekeeping force has resigned.

Rebel leader Gen. Laurent Nkunda has defied calls from the U.N. Security Council to respect a U.N.-brokered January cease-fire. Nkunda says the rebels are fighting to protect ethnic Tutsis.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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