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Rebels to be repatriated turn up missing

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- The disappearance from DR Congo of former militants who were set to be repatriated to Rwanda has prompted concerns over their potential return to violence.

The U.N. mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo says 150 ethnic Hutu fighters have gone missing, just a day before they were scheduled to be repatriated to their native Rwanda. The militant group, which had volunteered to take part in a U.N. disarmament and repatriation program, disappeared from Kasiki in DR Congo, the United Nations reported.

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Kasiki is located north of Goma, the capital of North Kivu province where rebel violence has displaced an estimated 250,000 people in recent months. The Hutu fighters, who U.N. officials say left hastily during the night, were to be escorted by the United Nations back to Rwanda.

With the rebels' whereabouts uncertain, there are concerns that they may return to violence. The United Nations released a statement reminding Rwandan combatants "living on Congolese soil that the doors remain open wide to welcome them and facilitate their disarmament and their voluntary return to their country of origin in dignity."

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