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New DRC clashes force 35,000 from homes

BUKAVO, Democratic Republic of Congo, July 25 (UPI) -- Fresh violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo's South Kivu province has prompted 35,000 people to leave their homes, a U.N. refugee agency says.

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees representative Ron Redmond said in a U.N. news release Friday that ongoing clashes in the eastern part of the Central African country between government forces and Rwandan rebels have been blamed for displacing nearly 536,000 South Kivu residents so far this year.

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The new military campaign that began July 12 has prompted South Kivu residents to seek shelter along their country's borders with Rwanda and Burundi.

The government campaign, called Kimai II, is focused on disarming Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, or FDLR, forces and their supporters.

Redmond said clashes in the eastern portion of the Democratic Republic of Congo have internally displaced more than 1.8 million people to date.

"There are widespread reports from (refugees) of atrocities including accusations of murder, rape and torture, on the part of FDLR rebels," the UNHCR representative said.

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