Congolese rebels pull out of Ishasha

TERRIFIED: Displaced Congolese board a bus at the Ishasha refugee transit camp to a new camp. 30/11/2008. Pic. Peter Andrews.  © Reuters.
TERRIFIED: Displaced Congolese board a bus at the Ishasha refugee transit camp to a new camp. 30/11/2008. Pic. Peter Andrews. © Reuters.

KINSHASA - Rebels in Congo have pulled out of a Ugandan border town they captured in fighting that forced 10000 people to flee, the UN and a spokesman for the insurgents said yesterday.

KINSHASA - Rebels in Congo have pulled out of a Ugandan border town they captured in fighting that forced 10000 people to flee, the UN and a spokesman for the insurgents said yesterday.

The rebels withdrew from Ishasha on Sunday because "we wanted to show that we are for peace and our objective is not to take other areas", spokesman Bertrand Bisimwa said.

A spokesman for the 17000-strong UN peacekeeping mission, Lieutenant-Colonel Jean-Paul Dietrich, confirmed that the rebels had quit the town.

The offensive was meant to expel some of the perpetrators of Rwanda's 1994 genocide, but forced thousands of civilians to flee eastern Congo to neighboring Uganda.

The rebels argue that the Hutus who fled to Congo after the genocide were the targets of attacks - not the Congolese army.

But UN special envoy Olusegun Obasanjo berated rebel leader Laurent Nkunda for starting the offensive last month. - Sapa-AP

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