Clinton to push Congo, UN on atrocities on women

* Clinton to urge tougher stance from UN, Congo

* Goma trip will highlight new spike in violence

* Rights groups say UN-backed offensive making it worse

KINSHASA, Aug 10 (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Monday she would press Democratic Republic of Congo's government to address the root causes of the conflict in the east and stop the use of women as "weapons of war".

Clinton arrived in the capital Kinshasa from neighbouring Angola for a two-day visit that will include a trip to Goma, capital of the violent North Kivu province.

Congo's government and the U.N.'s biggest peacekeeping force are struggling to stabilise the east of the vast central African country after decades of dictatorship and the 1998-2003 war.

"I will be pressing very hard not just for assistance to help those being abused and mistreated ... particularly the women who are being turned into weapons of war through the rape they experience ... but also for ways to try to end this conflict," Clinton told reporters.

"I am going to Goma to speak out against the unspeakable violence against women and girls in eastern Congo," Clinton earlier said. "It is the worst example of man's inhumanity to women, and women are being used in conflicts."

Clinton said she wanted to address the root causes of the conflict, including the trade in minerals such cassiterite and coltan, which are dug in eastern Congo for use in consumer electronics and whose sale funds armed groups there.

"There is a lot of money being made in eastern Congo because of the mineral trade," she said.

The United Nations has accused all sides of human rights abuses in mineral-rich Congo, including mass killings, rape and lootings. In Goma, tens of thousands of displaced people are packed into camps and are particularly vulnerable to attacks.

While in Goma, Clinton is also expected to meet President Joseph Kabila.

"We are going to press on working for ways to create broader political legitimacy and credibility by his government across the country," she said.

Elections in 2006 were seen as an important step towards the return of law and order after nearly 15 years of violence, during which Congolese rebel groups and foreign armies fought two wars, committed abuses and looted the nation's minerals.

Rights groups say over 600 civilians have been killed and thousands of women and girls raped by both government and rebel forces in a new spike in violence since the start of UN-backed military operations by Congolese forces in January.

"The UN-backed offensive that was supposed to make life better for the people of eastern Congo is instead becoming a human tragedy," said Marcel Stoessel of Oxfam.

"Secretary Clinton needs to make it very clear that U.S. support for the UN's efforts in Congo is not a blank cheque and that civilians should be protected."

Following the theme of her 11-day Africa trip, Clinton will also urge the government to make greater efforts to fight corruption and better manage the country's resources for development purposes.

She delivered the same anti-corruption message in Angola on Sunday and Monday when she met the country's leaders and will repeat it during her visit later this week to Nigeria. (Editing by Mark John and Daniel Magnowski)