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Congo Soldiers Deployed to Deal with Ugandan Rebels


Hundreds of Congolese soldiers have begun arriving in a remote Congolese bush town near an area where about 300 Ugandan rebels are refusing to disarm. U.N. helicopters are being used to ferry the soldiers to Aba, after tensions between Uganda and Congo escalated as Kampala threatened to enter Congo to disarm the rebels unilaterally.

More than 300 government soldiers have been dropped by U.N. helicopters in the remote northeastern Congolese bush town of Aba. Two hundred more are making their way overland, and another 500 are expected by the weekend, according to the United Nations.

The soldiers are being dispatched as Congo tries to diffuse a diplomatic dispute and threats of an invasion by neighboring Uganda because of the presence of Ugandan rebels in the northeast of Congo.

About 300 gunmen from the Lords Resistance Army crossed into Congo last month and have since refused to disarm.

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni responded by calling the Congo and U.N. peacekeepers there "sponsors of terrorism" for failing to disarm the rebels.

Mr. Museveni has also threatened to send his army into Congo if the rebels, who have waged a 19-year war, terrorizing communities in Uganda and Sudan, are not disarmed.

The Congolese army was not immediately available for comment, but the general in charge of the region last week vowed to disarm the rebels, by force if necessary.

And Kinshasa's ambassador to the United Nations said late Monday Uganda's statements were "a threat to international peace and security" and warned that Congo would defend itself.

Uganda was one of six neighboring countries that sent its army into the Congo during the vast, mineral-rich country's five-year war, which was officially declared over in 2003, but continues to simmer in the east.

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