December 19, 1996 |
A visit to the Mama Yemo Hospital, Zaire's largest public health facility, is not for the faint of heart. The operating room floor is so rotted that surgeons must avoid gaping holes, crumbling plywood and rusting metal. Only a few lights and air conditioners work. So doors are open to the sun and the sweltering heat outside, where rats scurry in the grass. "We try to do what we can," said Dr. Jean Baptiste Sondji, pausing as he performed a mastoidectomy in the gloom.
March 19, 1997 |
Zaire's embattled prime minister was ousted from power Tuesday, deepening the political crisis brought on by the fast-spreading civil war in sub-Saharan Africa's second-largest country. Leon Kengo wa Dondo was toppled by a vote of Parliament in the capital, Kinshasa, shortly after he flew here to meet African leaders to discuss the insurrection that has swept eastern Zaire and threatens to engulf the giant country.
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.
May 14, 1997 |
This capital has perhaps been Africa's most festive city even in the worst of times, but on Tuesday evening the music stopped. People without much food in their bellies and not in the habit of taking their government too seriously were making unusual haste to obey a new order: Go home, lock up and observe an all-night curfew, the first in Zaire's seven-month civil war.
December 16, 1996 |
From his plush 15th-floor hotel suite, far above the broad Congo River, Mukalay Msungu Banza juggled three cellular phones, taking calls from an ambassador, a government minister and party loyalists. All wanted the news. When will Mobutu Sese Seko, dictator of this sub-Saharan nation since 1965, come home from the French Riviera, where he has been recuperating after his treatment for prostate cancer in August? The answer: this week. On Tuesday. Definitely. Maybe.
April 30, 1997 |
As rebel troops marched in triumph into Kikwit, the last major city on their path to this capital, President Mobutu Sese Seko and rebel chief Laurent Kabila agreed Tuesday to a face-to-face meeting as early as this weekend. Kabila said the two agreed to meet, with South African President Nelson Mandela as host, aboard a South African naval ship for discussions that might forestall a violent overthrow of the Zairian regime.
June 4, 1997 |
The U.N. refugee agency urged Congo President Laurent Kabila and other African leaders Tuesday to take steps to protect Rwandan refugees in the wake of the killing last week of an aid worker and four refugees in the eastern Congo. Spokeswoman Pam O'Toole said the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees is suspending its aid work at Karuba, near Goma, where Kabila's soldiers reportedly carried out the May 29 shooting.
October 1, 1991 |
Opposition figure Etienne Tshisekedi became prime minister in a new crisis government Monday in the wake of an orgy of army-led looting that killed at least 117 people. But his appointment left open the question of how power would be shared between authoritarian President Mobutu Sese Seko and an opposition that has demanded the end of his 26-year rule.
May 9, 1997 |
President Mobutu Sese Seko abandoned plans to run for reelection and called on his military Thursday to prepare Zaire for a vote. Still, he clung to his presidency and angrily rejected suggestions that he would not return to Zaire. Mobutu made the pledge in a statement that he and five other African leaders issued from Gabon. The editor of the government-run daily newspaper L'Union, Ngoyo Moussavou, said Thursday that the Zairian president planned to return to his country this morning.
March 23, 1997 |
Fresh flowers fill crystal vases. Recessed lights shine on rich rugs and marble floors. Silk pillows hug leather couches. Beethoven plays softly from speakers hidden in the walls. The plush hilltop villa, and the shiny Jaguar parked outside, belong to one of Zaire's most powerful men. He is a Cabinet minister, a former ambassador and a key member of ailing President Mobutu Sese Seko's tottering regime.