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Eastern DRC Rebels Turn in Weapons

DRC map, North Kivu province
DRC map, North Kivu province
U.N. officials say more than 100 fighters from a rebel group in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have surrendered their weapons in a ceremony.

Officials say the Rwandan Hutu rebels from the group known as the FDLR handed their arms to authorities Friday in Congo's volatile North Kivu province.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric welcomed the action and said U.N. officials have received reports that the FDLR also wants to starts the surrender process in South Kivu.

"The mission welcomes this development and calls on the FDLR commanders as well as rank and file to surrender," she said.

He said the U.N. office in Congo is quickly working to move the former rebels to transit camps where they will be helped to reintegrate into communities.

"All resources have been mobilized on a priority basis for a swift and well organized transfer of ex-combatants to transit camps and later on to their final destination," she said.

The Rwandan Hutu rebels arrived in eastern Congo after Rwanda's 1994 genocide. Hutu extremists carried out the genocide, which killed some 800,000 people.

Since that time, other rebel groups have also become active in Congo's North and South Kivu regions, making the provinces a volatile mix of armed fighters.

Some information for this report comes from AP and AFP.
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