Congo urges neighbours to avoid rebellion

Report
from Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
Published on 04 Aug 1998
KINSHASA, Aug 4 (Reuters) - President Laurent Kabila's government on Monday urged its neighbours to resist the temptation to involve themselves in an army rebellion in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
In a clear reference to soldiers from the Rwandan Patriotic Army, Presidential Affairs Minister Pierre Victor Mpoyo said on state television that the rebellion had been planned for some time by foreign officers who were ordered home last week.

Mpoyo, speaking after an emergency cabinet meeting held by President Laurent Kabila, said the mutinous troops had been beaten back in the capital Kinshasa.

"Since the beginning of these troubles our valiant soldiers from the new army have vigorously riposted these attacks planned for a long time by influential members belonging to the group of senior officers repatriated by the Congolese authorities," Mpoyo said.

"The government calls on its neighbours not to wage the wrong war because the Democratic Republic of the Congo under Kabila is resolutely committed to development and peace in Africa in general and in the Great Lakes in particular," he added.

In the east of the country, a commercial source who contacted Reuters by satelite phone said the towns of Bukavu, Goma and Uvira had fallen silently into the hands of the country's latest rebellion.

The source who has a network of business interests in the region, said to the suprise of residents there had as yet been no resistance to a fresh bid by Banyamulenge ethnic Tutsis backed by Rwandan troops to take the area.

"The situation is quiet. These people, the Rwandans and Banyamulenge, have taken over the towns of Bukavu Goma and Uvira," he said.

"To our great suprise there has so far been no resistance from other parts of the Congolese army," he added.

He added that despite an official closure of the frontier between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, trucks were rolling in from the neighbouring country which backed President Laurent Kabila's military campaign to take power last year.

"Of course the Rwandans are involved. The frontiers are open and a lot of trucks are coming and going," he said.

Meanwhile, in Kinshasa, civilian Tutsis still resident in the city, appealed to aid agencies for help saying they were being intimidated and their houses surrounded by troops.

"We have received at least a dozen distress calls," one senior United Nations official said.

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