U.N. envoy meets with DR Congo rebels

Nov. 16, 2008 at 8:58 AM

JOMBA, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- U.N. special envoy Olusegun Obasanjo met Sunday with a Democratic Republic of Congo rebel leader in Jomba as new fighting flared elsewhere, officials said.

U.N. officials said Obasanjo, the former president of Nigeria, greeted Tutsi rebel leader Laurent Nkunda near Congo's border with Uganda, after earlier meeting in Kinsasha with Congolese President Joseph Kabila, Voice of America reported.

The meeting came as heavy fighting broke out in Ndeko, about 55 miles north of Goma, the capital of Congo's war-torn North Kivu province. VOA reported it wasn't immediately clear who the combatants were but said a U.N. spokesman confirmed fighting north of Goma Saturday involved Nkunda's Tutsi rebels and government troops.

The clashes between the rebels and pro-government forces have displaced 250,000 civilians, U.N. officials say. Nkunda has said he is fighting to protect Tutsi communities against extremist Hutus responsible for Rwanda's 1994 genocide who fled to Congo.

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