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Last Updated: Monday, 18 October, 2004, 21:49 GMT 22:49 UK
Kabila ends trip to east DR Congo
By Robert Walker
BBC, Kisangani

President Kabila greets supporters in Kisangani
Kabila says he can now travel in former rebel-held areas
The President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Joseph Kabila, has completed a historic visit to the east of his country.

The trip to the city of Kisangani was intended to show that eastern DR Congo has now been integrated into the rest of the country.

The area was controlled by rebels during the five-year civil war.

The president received a huge welcome, but many challenges remain before the legacy of the war is overcome.

He rounded off his trip with a surprise walkabout through Kisangani's market place.

With his guards struggling to keep up as he toured the narrow streets, it was a sign of the president's growing confidence at the end of three days in the former rebel-held city.

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Some parts of eastern Congo are still volatile, and before he arrived there had been fears about the president's safety.

But the massive crowds and rapturous reception mean this trip will be viewed as a success.

Before leaving, President Kabila said he could now travel anywhere in the areas previously held by rebels.

But as he returns to the capital, the problems he faces have not disappeared.

His transitional government remains extremely fragile - former rebel leaders may have come on board, but some of their soldiers still have not joined the national army.

And in the past week, another uprising briefly occurred in the south-east, highlighting the continuing difficulty in asserting central authority across this massive country.



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