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ICRC reaches Congo village after violence

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, May 11 (UPI) -- The International Committee of the Red Cross and partners in Congo deployed an emergency operation Monday to deliver aid following a violent rebel attack.

Rebels in Congo's eastern North Kivu province burned down more than 135 houses in the farming village of Butalongola on Friday and Saturday nights. The Vienna-based ICRC and Congo's Red Cross Society deployed a team to the region Monday to distribute emergency aid, the ICRC reported.

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Officials said the aid will help sustain as many as 675 inhabitants who have lost all their possessions. The ICRC called on government and rebel leaders in the North Kivu province to follow international humanitarian laws protecting civilians.

"We quickly organized help for the victims: We brought them tarpaulins, kitchen pots, blankets, sleeping mats and enough food for the next two weeks," Rudolf Krebs, head of ICRC activities in the area, said in a statement.

"Still, we are concerned about what will happen to them. It has become more and more unsafe in southern Lubero (a region of North Kivu) since military operations began to intensify a fortnight ago."

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