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Sender: o-imap@webmap.missouri.edu
Date: Fri, 21 Feb 97 17:36:21 CST
From: bghauk@berlin.infomatch.com (Brian Hauk)
Subject: Rebels take ground in Zaire
Organization: InfoMatch Internet - Vancouver BC
Article: 6061

Rebels take ground in Zaire

In the Militant, Vol.61 no. 8, 24 February 1997

Antigovernment rebels in eastern Zaire have taken substantial ground in recent weeks. According to government officials and relief workers, the forces fighting to overthrow the regime of Mobutu Sese Seko now have a strong foothold in four of the country's 11 provinces and are poised to attack the major cities of Kisangani and Lubumbashi. The rebels are reportedly supported by the governments of Rwanda, Uganda, and Burundi, along Zaire's eastern border.

News reports indicate the morale of government troops, who are paid as little as $1 per month, is waning. Some 300 foreign mercenaries who recently arrived in Kisangani have not been faring too well either. A New York Times report cited "one person close to the presidential entourage" stating, "The Belgian officers say that the Serbian soldiers just want to give up on this. Their men are getting sick in this climate, they don't speak the right language, and they have never been in a war like this." Several of the mercenaries have already been killed, and others have complained of being paid with counterfeit currency. Mobutu, who has ruled Zaire with Paris's backing since 1965, returned from France February 7, where he was being treated for cancer.

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