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Rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo launched attacks on government forces at the weekend in violation of their unilateral ceasefire, the UN's peacekeeping mission said Monday.
MONUC said in a statement that on Sunday, "the forces of the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) launched attacks and took control" of several small localities in eastern DR Congo, accusing the rebels of starting the fighting -- in contrast to rebel declarations.
Sunday's fighting near the town of Rwindi, around 100 kilometres (60 miles) north of Nord-Kivu provincial capital Goma, happened as rebel leader Laurent Nkunda held talks with the UN special envoy to the region, Olusegun Obasanjo.
"MONUC condemns these violations on the ground and invites the parties to respect the ceasefire so as not to further worsen the humanitarian situation," it said.
The rebels insist they have respected a ceasefire they declared on October 29 and that any clashes have come as a response to attacks by government forces.
Aid agencies are concerned that the continued fighting is making the plight of an estimated 250,000 displaced people in eastern Congo increasingly desperate.