UN-backed soldiers battle rebels in east Congo

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KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — Soldiers backed by U.N. helicopter gunships battled rebels Thursday around a strategic army garrison near a mountain gorilla reserve in eastern Congo, as thousands of people continue to flee a 3-month-old rebellion allegedly backed by neighboring Rwanda.

Rwanda, which vigorously denies having anything to do with the rebels, accused Congolese troops of ill-treating Rwandan nationals and charged one detained at an army camp was tortured to death. Congolese officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

U.N. Radio Okapi said rebels of the M23 movement Thursday began attacking Rumangabo military camp, a mile (kilometer) from the headquarters of the Virunga National Park.

The radio station said the rebels continue to hold Rutshuru town, and that thousands have fled. More than 260,000 civilians have fled their homes since the rebellion began in April.

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