Refugees flee Congo rebels

KILIMANYOKA, Congo (AP) -- Some 30,000 people have fled the fighting in east Congo.

A U.N. official says the sudden influx has tripled the size of a makeshift refugee camp in a matter of hours. The Red Cross says more refugees are also fleeing across the border into Uganda.

Rebels have vowed to take control of Congo's eastern provincial capital. Meanwhile, Congolese troops and U.N. tanks have retreated from the front lines.

Renegade Gen. Laurent Nkunda had signed a cease-fire with the government earlier this year, but defected because he said the government wasn't protecting his Tutsi people from Hutu militiamen. A half-million Tutsis were slaughtered in the 1994 genocide in neighboring Rwanda.

But Nkunda now says he plans to take over all of Congo, a country the size of Western Europe with vast reserves of diamonds, gold and other resources.

U.N. efforts to halt the rebellion have been complicated by the country's rugged terrain. Its refugee agency says a team under "tight security" is heading to the area to help the displaced civilians.

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


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