A United Nations military official says U.N. peacekeepers will help the Democratic Republic of Congo's army disarm eastern rebels by force.
In comments broadcast on local U.N. radio Thursday, General Babacar Gaye said all peaceful means to make the rebels lay down their weapons have been used up.
Gaye, the military chief of the U.N. mission in Congo, said the U.N. and the DRC army are entering a phase where there is no other solution than to constrain the fighters without delay or conditions.
The DRC army has been fighting renegade General Laurent Nkunda and his followers since August in Congo's North Kivu province. The fighting has displaced tens of thousands of people, in additions to hundreds of thousands displaced by fighting in the province earlier this year.
Nkunda's fighters have mostly ignored appeals to disarm and join the national army.
The general's men attacked an army position Wednesday near Rutshuru, north of the provincial capital, Goma.
The army has been trying to subdue Nkunda and other milita groups in the eastern DRC since the end of the country's civil war in 2003.
Nkunda says his militia is needed to protect minority Tutsis from Rwandan rebels who entered the area after Rwanda's 1994 genocide.
Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.