File - Peacekeepers from the MONUSCO mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo patrolling the town of Kiwanja, a town controlled by the M23 rebels, some 70kms north of Goma, August 4, 2013.(AFP PHOTO / STEPHANIE AGLIETTI)
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Twenty years after the genocide in Rwanda, a rebel group founded by ethnic extremists who took part in that slaughter still prowls the lush hills of neighboring eastern Congo, defying a renewed threat by the army and U.N. peacekeepers to dislodge it.Now Congo's army, supported by a tough new U.N. Intervention Brigade and emboldened by its defeat of a rival Tutsi-led rebellion, has pledged to finally eradicate the Hutu group.Backed by artillery from the U.N. brigade, the army in February started pounding positions held by the FDLR on the roads climbing into the steep hills of Congo's North Kivu province, driving the militia from roadblocks used to extort money from locals.When the guns fell silent, it became clear the rebels had not gone far from the main town of Tongo, retreating less than five kilometers from army lines. Col. Olivier Hamuli, spokesman for Congo's army, said that a full offensive against the FDLR had not yet begun.From bases in Congo, the FDLR has launched a handful of attacks on Rwanda, a tiny nation with one of Africa's best armies, but the last was in 2012 .
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