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Thousands flee heavy fighting near Congo-Uganda border as army pursues M23 rebels

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    Congolese army soldiers march into Kibumba town after recapturing it from M23 rebels over the weekend, around 25km from the provincial capital Goma, in eastern Congo Monday, Oct. 28, 2013. The Congolese army, who just one year ago abandoned their posts and fled in the face of an advancing rebel army, succeeded on Monday in taking back a fifth rebel-held town, the city of Rumangabo, in what appears to be a turning point in the conflict. (AP Photo/Joseph Kay)The Associated Press

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    Congolese army soldiers are cheered by residents as they march through Rugare after recapturing it from M23 rebels over the weekend, towards Rumangabo, around 30km (19 miles) from the provincial capital Goma, in eastern Congo Monday, Oct. 28, 2013. The Congolese army, who just one year ago abandoned their posts and fled in the face of an advancing rebel army, succeeded on Monday in taking back a fifth rebel-held town, the city of Rumangabo, in what appears to be a turning point in the conflict. (AP Photo/Joseph Kay)The Associated Press

  • e5a54b7a58538124410f6a706700941c.jpg

    Congolese army soldiers march through Rugare after recapturing it from M23 rebels over the weekend, towards Rumangabo, around 30km (19 miles) from the provincial capital Goma, in eastern Congo Monday, Oct. 28, 2013. The Congolese army, who just one year ago abandoned their posts and fled in the face of an advancing rebel army, succeeded on Monday in taking back a fifth rebel-held town, the city of Rumangabo, in what appears to be a turning point in the conflict. (AP Photo/Joseph Kay)The Associated Press

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    Residents cheer as Congolese army soldiers pass through Rugare after recapturing it from M23 rebels over the weekend, towards Rumangabo, around 30km (19 miles) from the provincial capital Goma, in eastern Congo Monday, Oct. 28, 2013. The Congolese army, who just one year ago abandoned their posts and fled in the face of an advancing rebel army, succeeded on Monday in taking back a fifth rebel-held town, the city of Rumangabo, in what appears to be a turning point in the conflict. (AP Photo/Joseph Kay)The Associated Press

Officials in eastern Congo say heavy fighting has erupted in a rebel stronghold near the border with Uganda.

Julien Paluku, the governor of North Kivu province, confirmed the clashes near Bunagana on Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for the United Nations refugee agency in Uganda says more than 5,000 Congolese citizens already had fled across the border, and that number could soon double.

She said humanitarian workers could hear gunfire from the Bunagana border post just a few kilometers (miles) away.

Meanwhile, a Ugandan army spokesman, Lt. Ninsiima Rwemijuma, said that two militants from the M23 movement had surrendered to Ugandan border authorities Wednesday morning.

The Congolese military already has managed to seize back control of six towns in recent days from the M23 rebels.