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DR CONGO SIDEBAR - HUMAN RIGHTS - 2002-03-21


Rwandan-backed rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo have rejected allegations that they have tortured and mistreated detained opponents.

The U-S based group Human Rights Watch on Wednesday accused the Congolese Rally for Democracy rebels of beating and arresting human rights activists and journalists, and detaining opponents inside a shipping container.

Moise Nyarugabo of the rebel group's Justice Ministry dismissed the allegations, saying they were exaggerated and that no one is being held in a shipping container.

The rebel official said prisoners are being held in various small jails after a volcanic eruption in January destroyed the central prison in the eastern Congolese town of Goma.

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