Refugee crisis looms in Congo
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Refugee crisis looms in Congo

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Rebel fighters have seized one of the biggest, most vital cities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Goma, setting off riots in several places across the country and raising serious questions about the stability of Congo as a whole. Tens of thousands of people are displaced around the provincial capital, following fighting between the Congolese army and M23, who took Goma on November 20, 2012. Follow us at http://twitter.com/photosSMH

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Congolese cross the deserted market as they flee after Congolese soldiers and rebel fighters battled for hours over the eastern Congolese town of Sake, 27 kilometres west of Goma. Thousands fled the M23 controlled town as the militants seeking to overthrow the government vowed to push forward despite mounting international pressure.Photo: AP

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Thousands of Congolese flee the town of Sake, 26km west of Goma, following fresh fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo town. Fighting broke out this afternoon causing people to flee the town and head east, towards Goma, to the camps for the internally displaced in the village of Mugunga.Photo: AFP

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Congolese women run after Congolese soldiers and rebel fighters battled for hours over the eastern Congolese town of Sake , 27 kilometres west of Goma. The woman in orange only identified as Mamou, said she lost her husband to a fatal wound to the head from incoming mortar round. Thousands fled the M23 controlled town as the militants seeking to overthrow the government vowed to push forward despite mounting international pressure.Photo: AP

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A Congolese boy runs through the town of Sake, 26km from Goma, as gunfire erupted at the edge of the town in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.Photo: AFP

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Displaced Congolese girls carry jerry cans of water through a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) at Mugunga, 8km from the centre of Goma, in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.Photo: AFP

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An M23 rebel marches towards the town of Sake, 26km west of Goma, as thousands of residents flee fresh fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Fighting broke out this afternoon causing people to flee the town and head east, towards Goma, to the camps for the internally displaced in the village of Mugunga.Photo: AFP

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Congolese children sit on a step in Sake in front of a group of M23 rebels who controlled the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo town. Rebels took the town on Thursday, but were engaged in heavy gunfights this afternoon as government-allied militia tried to retake it.Photo: AFP

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A displaced Congolese woman sits with her child in a school at the Mugunga camp for internally displaced persons, 8km from Goma in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.Photo: AFP

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Children look through a hole made by escaping prisoners at the main prison in Goma. Congolese troops were fighting back on Thursday against rebels who rejected calls from African leaders to quit the eastern city of Goma, captured earlier this week. Thousands of people fled the area of clashes around the town of Sake, as M23 rebel fighters rushed from Goma to reinforce their positions there against a counter-offensive by the army.Photo: Reuters

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A displaced Congolese woman registers at a camp for internally displaced persons at Mugunga, 8km from the centre of Goma, in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.Photo: AFP

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DR Congo police officers participate in a registration excercise carried out by rebel group M23 at the Goma stadium.Photo: AFP

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A displaced Congolese child from Goma sits on a mattress in the town of Sake, 26km west of Goma in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.Photo: AFP

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Displaced Congolese queue to register at a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) at Mugunga, 8km from the centre of Goma, in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2012.Photo: AFP

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A man covers his nose as he walks through an empty cell at the main prison in Goma2.Photo: Reuters

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Displaced families flee renewed fighting between the Congolese Revolutionary Army (CRA) and Congolese army in Mugunga, near Goma.Photo: Reuters

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Thousands of Congolese flee the town of Sake, 26km west of Goma, following fresh fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo town.Photo: AFP

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Thousands of Congolese flee the town of Sake, 26km west of Goma, following fresh fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.Photo: AFP