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Congo Rebels Stall Surrender


U.N. officials in Congo say dissident Congolese General Laurent Nkunda has failed to make good on his pledge to send 500 of his troops for integration into Congo's regular army. Noel King has more in this report from Kigali.

A spokesman for General Nkunda told VOA that 200 rebel soldiers reported to Kirolirwe camp to undergo the integration process, late Wednesday.

Bwambale Kakolele said another 300 troops marched to Kirolirwe.

But the U.N. Mission in Congo said no rebels had yet handed themselves over for integration.

Major Prem Kumar Tiwari is the U.N. military spokesman in North Kivu province, at the center of the current conflict.

"Nobody has reported so far," he said. "If anybody comes over there he will be accepted and that will be confirmed. As of now, we can take it as nobody has reported so far."

General Nkunda said Wednesday that he would integrate 500 of his men into Congo's army, in order to help bring peace to the region.

He is believed to have between 5,000-8,000 men under his command.

Nkunda said he would continue to call on Congo to disarm Hutu militias known as the FDLR, who have links to the perpetrators of neighboring Rwanda's 1994 genocide.

Nkunda broke ranks with Congo's army in 2004, charging that not enough had been done to neutralize the FDLR, which perpetrated attacks on Congolese Tutsis.

Nkunda, an ethnic Tutsi, says he is trying to protect Congo's Tutsi population. Analysts say Nkunda has powerful backers with interests in the region's vast mineral wealth.

Congo's administration has refused to negotiate with Nkunda since the general pulled out of a January peace agreement.

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