Rwanda says FDLR rebels cross from Congo, attack wardens

KIGALI Sun Dec 2, 2012 11:51am EST

KIGALI (Reuters) - Rwanda said FDLR rebels crossed the border from the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday and attacked a game warden camp, killing one warden in the second attack by the Rwandan Hutu group in six days.

Rwanda has in the past cited the presence of the FDLR, or Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, as a reason for sending troops into neighboring Congo. Experts say the rebel group has dwindled in strength.

Rwandan defense forces spokesman Brigadier General Joseph Nzabamwita said about 10 FDLR fighters crossed the border on Sunday morning and attacked the camp outside a national park in Musanze in the country's northern province, where they killed the warden.

"The FDLR fired small arms, machine guns, RPG and 60mm mortars. The six park rangers fled the camp and one was killed, one injured," Nzabamwita told Reuters.

"They were pursued. None were caught or injured, and fled back to DRC. This is proof of FDLR having got arms and exploiting the situation in eastern DRC to destabilize Rwanda," he said.

Rwanda said on Tuesday that its troops clashed with another group of FDLR rebels after they attacked three villages on its border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. An FDLR spokesman denied its fighters had been involved.

The group opposes the Tutsi-led government in Kigali and includes Hutu militiamen suspected of participating in Rwanda's 1994 genocide.

Congo's government is fighting against Tutsi-led M23 rebels in the war-scarred east of the country. The insurgent group pulled out on Saturday from the border city of Goma, which they seized on November 20 when they routed government troops backed by United Nations peacekeepers.

Congo and U.N. experts accuse Rwanda of backing the M23 group in eastern Congo, a charge denied by Rwandan President Paul Kagame who has long complained that the Congolese government of President Joseph Kabila and U.N. peacekeepers have not done enough to drive out the FDLR from that area.

(Reporting by Jenny Clover; Editing by George Obulutsa and Roger Atwood)

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