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Congo Rebels Pull Back From Hot Spots


The United Nations says rebel fighters in the Democratic Republic of Congo are pulling back from two volatile spots in the eastern region of the country.

U.N. military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jean-Paul Dietrich Wednesday confirmed the withdrawals are in progress.

Rebel fighters led by renegade General Laurent Nkunda promised to move at least 40 kilometers away from the northern towns of Kiwanja and and Kanyabayonga in North Kivu province.

The rebels known as the National Congress for the Defense of the People called on U.N. peacekeepers to patrol a "separation zone" between the rebels and the army.

The U.N. Security Council is expected to vote soon on whether to add 3,000 more peacekeeping troops to its Congo mission.

On Tuesday, the top U.N. official in Congo said reinforcements alone will not end the violence. Alan Doss said political and diplomatic solutions are needed to bring peace to the region.

Government forces and Nkunda's rebels have clashed repeatedly in the eastern DRC since August, following the collapse of a January peace deal. Nkunda says he is fighting to protect minority Tutsi communities from Rwandan Hutu extremists who entered the region after the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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