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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 July, 2003, 16:13 GMT 17:13 UK
Rebels raise DR Congo flag
People waving DR Congo flag
The remaining rebel ministers are due to be sworn in on Thursday
The national flag of the Democratic Republic of Congo has been raised in the eastern rebel stronghold of Goma, in the latest sign that the five-year war is coming to an end.

An agreement has also been reached on the oath of allegiance for ministers in the new power-sharing government.

"It is certainly a sign that the war is over," said Adolphe Onusumba, the former leader of the Rwanda-backed Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD), based in Goma.

Last week, four new vice presidents, including two rebel leaders, were inaugurated in the capital, Kinshasa.

However, the next day RCD ministers refused to swear an oath of allegiance to President Joseph Kabila, who remains head of the new government.

Governor booed

Violence broke out on Friday during a similar flag-raising ceremony in another rebel stronghold of Bukavu, according to Ali Yusufu Mugenzi of the BBC Great Lakes section.

(L-R) Arthur Zahidi Ngoma, Jean-Pierre Bemba, Azarias Ruberwa & Abdoulaye Yerodia
Four vice-presidents have already been inaugurated

The violence broke out after local residents booed the RCD-Goma-appointed governor as he addressed them.

Several Rwandan civilians were attacked and a car belonging to a local journalist was burned.

The agreement on the oath of allegiance removes one of the last obstacles in the way of the formation of a new government, which is due to take place on Thursday.

They will now swear allegiance to the Congolese Government, which is supposed to organise the first multi-party elections since DR Congo's independence in 1960 in two years' time.

The formation of the government on Thursday should mark the end of a five-year-old civil war that drew in most of the country's neighbours and cost an estimated three million lives.


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