March 4, 1997 |
Rebel forces trying to overthrow Zaire's government said they were closing in on Kisangani--the last major government stronghold in eastern Zaire--and would take it within the week. Mbuyi Tshikombo, a spokesman for the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire, said the rebels were less than 14 miles from the city of about 300,000 people.
March 21, 1997
A cancer-stricken, absent strongman. A rebel army on the march. Ethnic warfare. Frightened, fleeing refguees by the hundreds of thousands. For months, the headlines have chronicled the tortuous slide of Zaire into paralysis and despair. Such chaos, of course, is hardly unique in Central Africa. But, analysts warn, the consequences of a collapse in Zaire could be particularly severe because of the size and strategic importance of the giant nation to the Central African region.
March 7, 1997 |
Rebels rejected a call by the government for international monitors to be sent to the eastern region. "International monitors could become an interposition force, and it would just result once again in the protection of [President] Mobutu Sese Seko by his foreign friends," one rebel official said. The government, under siege in the east, agreed to a United Nations cease-fire proposal Wednesday.
March 17, 1997 |
The stunning capture by rebel forces of Zaire's third-largest city was a humiliating setback for President Mobutu Sese Seko's increasingly embattled regime and sets the stage for assaults on other key cities, including the capital. The rebel triumph Saturday at Kisangani means the anti-Mobutu insurgents convincingly control more than one-fifth of one of Africa's largest nations, including every major town and airport in the vast eastern region.
March 3, 1997 |
Rebels said they captured the Tingi-Tingi refugee camp and the nearby town of Lubutu in eastern Zaire. The fighting drove tens of thousands of refugees north toward the government stronghold of Kisangani, which the rebels said was their next target. Rebel leader Laurent Kabila appealed to the U.N. to help about 170,000 refugees fleeing the fighting. Meanwhile, President Mobutu Sese Seko decided to delay his return from France for a few days to pursue a solution to the crisis, an aide said.
March 29, 1997 |
Zairian rebels said Friday that they had seized a town on the Zambian border and were poised to capture the last government stronghold in eastern Zaire. They took Kasenga, 135 miles northeast of Lubumbashi, the capital of the mineral-rich Shaba province, rebel spokesman Nyembwe Kazadi said. The rebels vowed to continue their westward offensive in their bid to topple the regime of ailing President Mobutu Sese Seko.
March 28, 1997 |
Zaire's rebels agreed to talks with President Mobutu Sese Seko's shaky regime Thursday but successfully resisted pressure to first accept a cease-fire. A two-day summit of African leaders on the Zaire crisis ended with a statement calling for immediate negotiations between the warring parties. Five months into their revolt, rebel leader Laurent Kabila's disciplined fighters control about a quarter of Zaire.
March 20, 1997 |
The United States, throwing its weight behind Zaire peace efforts, sent Assistant Secretary for African Affairs George Moose to join African leaders at a one-day summit on Zaire. The African leaders repeated a call for an immediate cease-fire to allow negotiations to end the war in Africa's third-largest country. The rebels, who were not invited, said the meeting would solve nothing.
March 9, 1997 |
The leader of Zaire's rebels agreed to enter negotiations to halt his offensive on the government, a mediator said. But it appeared unlikely that any such talks would come soon enough to stop an assault on the strategic city of Kisangani. Jan Pronk, Dutch minister of development cooperation, met rebel leader Laurent Kabila in the eastern city of Goma and said he had agreed for the first time to accept a United Nations plan for a cease-fire.
January 4, 1997 |
Zaire's newly formed crisis government has told its demoralized and battered army to mount a "total and devastating" offensive to retake eastern territory from Tutsi rebels. In a statement, Defense Minister Gen. Likulia Bolongo--who was named to his post last week--said the army would be given the resources to hit back. "The Zairian counteroffensive must be total and devastating, sparing no act, Zairian or foreign, working in concert or intelligence with the enemy," the statement said.