December 25, 1996 |
President Mobutu Sese Seko signed a decree approving a new crisis Cabinet to guide the war effort to retake land that ethnic Tutsi rebels have seized in eastern Zaire. He retained centrist Prime Minister Leon Kengo wa Dondo, who has been accused by radicals of weakness in the face of the rebellion. Most of the ministers in the outgoing 47-member Cabinet were changed, and radical opposition politicians were brought into the government for the first time.
February 27, 1993 |
Armed troops loyal to Zaire's dictator Mobutu Sese Seko backed down from a siege of the legislature but later surrounded the home of the country's interim leader, Archbishop Monsengwo Pasinya. The soldiers appeared to be trying to intimidate the interim government before a meeting between the strongman and legislative leaders.
March 6, 1997 |
The government, reeling from a series of battlefield losses to rebels, accepted a United Nations cease-fire proposal. But the rebels, on the verge of capturing the provincial capital of Kisangani after weeks of fighting, may not be ready to put down their arms yet. Meanwhile, the government ordered 19 U.N. relief workers and 38 other international aid specialists expelled.
May 20, 1997 |
The military offensive of Zaire's new de facto president, Laurent Kabila, is over, but the political war has just begun. As the rebel leader prepared to present his new government to the world today, members of the country's political opposition expressed concern that they would be excluded from key positions. Radical politicians say it is they who deserve much of the credit for the political demise of former President Mobutu Sese Seko, and they are eager to be rewarded for their efforts.
February 18, 1997 |
The government Monday rejected a U.N. appeal for a truce in the war in eastern Zaire and, vowing to crush the rebels there, dispatched warplanes to bomb at least one guerrilla-held town. Three Zairian planes dropped bombs on Bukavu, on the border with Rwanda. Aid workers reached by telephone there reported that three planes dropped four bombs, including one that landed on the town's market. They said up to nine people were killed.
May 11, 1997 |
President Mobutu Sese Seko made a belated return to his capital Saturday, dashing hopes that he was on his way into exile, but efforts to negotiate an orderly end to his rule continued. While Mobutu was en route from Gabon, South African Deputy President Thabo Mbeki announced in the Gabonese capital, Libreville, that Mobutu had agreed to hold one more round of talks with his archrival, guerrilla leader Laurent Kabila, and discuss a transfer of power.
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?
March 26, 1997 |
Hoping to preserve some remnant of its fast-fading power, President Mobutu Sese Seko's regime Tuesday proposed the creation of a seven-member council to seek negotiations and a cease-fire with rebels who have vowed to topple him. The apparent concession came after heavy diplomatic lobbying by Washington and other governments anxious to prevent further widening of the five-month conflict.
February 20, 1997 |
The government here rejected a U.N. proposal to end Zaire's civil war, describing it Wednesday as a "timid advance" that fails to condemn neighboring African countries for supporting the rebels. Nevertheless, South African President Nelson Mandela said the two sides may begin peace talks as early as today. "The contending parties in that conflict . . . have made a request that they would like to meet in South Africa," Mandela said in Cape Town after holding talks with African leaders.