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Envoy berates Congo rebel leader for cease-fire breach

Congo rebel leader Laurent Nkunda, waving to the crowd, is with U.N. envoy Olusegun Obasanjo, right, after their talks Saturday.

Associated Press

Congo rebel leader Laurent Nkunda, waving to the crowd, is with U.N. envoy Olusegun Obasanjo, right, after their talks Saturday.

JOMBA, Congo — The United Nations' special envoy to Congo chided Congo's main rebel leader during a second round of peace talks Saturday for breaking a cease-fire, according to video footage taken inside the closed-door meeting.

The footage, taken by the United Nations and made available to journalists, shows an angry mediator, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, berating rebel leader Laurent Nkunda for starting an offensive along the border with Uganda last week, thus breaking a cease-fire in the middle of peace talks.

Since the first round of peace talks on Nov. 16, Nkunda's forces have clashed with the army several times, and rebels captured two border posts and a town last week.

"You are making me a laughingstock," Obasanjo told a seated Nkunda as the Nigerian paced angrily.

Nkunda claims the cease-fire was only meant to apply to the Congolese army. He declared a unilateral cease-fire in late October, when his forces reached the edge of the eastern Congolese provincial capital of Goma.

"We agreed for a cease-fire with government forces, not with negative and foreign forces," he said. He said he will continue on his primary mission of protecting ethnic Tutsis from Hutu fighters who fled to Congo from Rwanda after that country's 1994 genocide.

"They are not allowed to be here. No," he said. "And I have to fight them wherever I can."

The insurgents began an offensive Nov. 22 in the town of Ishasha in an effort to push some 1,500 Hutu militiamen, many of whom are believed to be Rwandan exiles, out of Congo. More than 10,000 people have fled to neighboring Uganda because of the violence.

Obasanjo and Nkunda met for more than an hour Saturday.

Envoy berates Congo rebel leader for cease-fire breach 11/29/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 4, 2010 10:40am]

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