Kinshasa - Clashes erupted again early on Saturday between army soldiers and M23 rebels in the volatile eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where fighting has been flaring all week.
The clashes in the Nord Kivu region, which a rebel spokesperson said involved army helicopters and tanks, erupted hours after the United Nations put its peacekeepers in the region on high alert.
The peacekeepers deployed rapid reaction units to key areas around the provincial capital Goma and the city's airport after daylong battles between the M23 and the army Thursday reportedly left a large number of casualties.
UN attack helicopters were also on standby, according to spokesperson Martin Nesirky.
The two sides blamed each other for the new outbreak of violence.
"Early this morning they attacked," said army spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Olivier Hamuli.
A spokesperson for the rebels, Colonel Vianney Kazarama, countered that the army "attacked us with helicopters and tanks".