The U.N. mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo says fighting resumed Thursday between dissident soldiers and government troops in the country's east.

U.N. officials say troops loyal to dissident general Laurent Nkunda were battling government soldiers in North Kivu province.

The U.N. says clashes in the same area Wednesday killed at least 18 people.

Officials say the unrest has displaced thousands of local residents.

Congo's government is struggling to rebuild following a civil war in which some four million people died, mostly from hunger and disease. Despite a ceasefire in 2003, violence has continued in the east of the country.

The United Nations has about 17,000 troops in Congo to assist the government and maintain peace.

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