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UN: 500,000 displaced by southeast Congo attacks

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KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — The United Nations says more than half a million people have now been displaced by violence in southeastern Congo.

Yvon Edoumou, the spokesman for the U.N. humanitarian agency in Congo, said Wednesday that represents an increase of some 100,000 more people from earlier this year.

People have fled their homes in Katanga province following attacks by an armed group known as the Mai Mai Bakata-Katanga. Military operations targeting the fighters also have caused civilians to flee.

The fighters are seeking independence for Katanga province, a mineral-rich area of southeastern Congo that had been more stable than neighboring provinces in the east.

Catholic bishops in the province have requested more peacekeepers be deployed to Katanga to combat mounting insecurity.

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