18 Nov 2008

Congo ceasefire broken

8:34 pm on 18 November 2008

Fighting has broken out in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo between government forces and rebels loyal to General Laurent Nkunda.

The BBC reports that clashes took place on Sunday in and around the town of Rwindi, about 125km north of Goma, the provincial capital of North Kivu.

The clashes were despite General Nkunda saying he would agree to a ceasefire, if the government followed suit.

He made the offer during talks with a UN envoy. There is no immediate word on casualties in the fighting.

President Joseph Kabila has to date rejected rebel calls for direct negotiation.

General Nkunda says he is fighting to protect the Tutsi community from attacks by Rwandan FDLR Hutu rebels who fled to DR Congo after the 1994 genocide.

Meanwhile, France has presented a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council, which would increase the number of UN troops and police in the Congo by 3,000.