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Thousands flee heavy fighting in Congo

James Akena / Reuters

People ride with their belongings on a wooden bicycle near Goma as they flee renewed fighting between the Congolese army and rebels in eastern Congo on July 24.

James Akena / Reuters

Families carry their belongings toward Goma on July 24.

Reuters reports: Congolese rebels and government forces traded heavy weapons fire around two eastern villages on Friday, forcing thousands of civilians to flee towards the provincial capital days ahead of a regional summit due to tackle the rebellion.

A rebellion launched in April has already forced some 260,000 people to flee their homes. U.N. experts have said neighboring Rwanda is backing the rebels, prompting the United States, a key ally of Kigali's, to cut some military aid.