May 19, 1997 |
Wilfred Batumike paused Sunday after explaining how he and the 100 boys and men in his rebel unit marched across this immense country on foot to topple dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. "No, there was one day when we were taken by trucks," the 20-year-old medic admitted. They lived off the land, or on food given by villagers along the way. "But never enough," he said shyly. "Sometimes I passed a week without eating." They were not paid. Nor do they expect to be.
May 18, 1997 |
Eight months ago, virtually no one outside a small group of Africa specialists had a clue who Laurent Kabila was. The 59-year-old revolutionary was a forgotten figure, waging a seemingly futile insurgency in the mountains of eastern Zaire. Today, Kabila is in the international spotlight, hailed by Zairians as the man who unyoked their exhausted country from the 32-year dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko--but even now, few can honestly say they know who Laurent Kabila really is. Marxist fossil?
May 16, 1997 |
Defiant to the end, President Mobutu Sese Seko flew home to this beleaguered capital Thursday as Laurent Kabila's guerrilla army came within striking distance of the city's airport and an attack appeared imminent.
May 15, 1997 |
A last-chance effort to broker peace talks between warring sides in the seven-month Zairian civil war collapsed Wednesday night, setting the stage for a full-scale rebel assault on the capital, Kinshasa. United Nations special envoy Mohamed Sahnoun said rebel leader Laurent Kabila had refused to attend a second and final round of face-to-face talks with the embattled Zairian president, Mobutu Sese Seko, aboard this South African naval ship.
May 8, 1997 |
Riding in a bulletproof Cadillac flanked by army trucks bristling with machine guns, President Mobutu Sese Seko made his way to the airport and out of Zaire on Wednesday. As he flew away, perhaps for the last time, church sources alleged a massacre of civilians by Mobutu's troops. Reports reaching Kinshasa by radio said as many as 200 civilians have been killed, among them 10 Red Cross workers.
May 6, 1997 |
As rebel forces close in on this capital, a diplomatic deal is nearing completion to allow President Mobutu Sese Seko to retire in dignity and rebel leader Laurent Kabila to take over a transitional government without a battle, said a diplomatic source familiar with the negotiations Monday.