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Friday, 19 January, 2001, 04:37 GMT
Kabila death announcement
Communications Minister Dominique Sakombi
The government confirmed the president's death on state TV
Text of DR Congo Government statement confirming the death of President Laurent Kabila.

Congolese people, my fellow countrymen, the Democratic Republic of Congo is in mourning.

The Public Salvation Government has the great sorrow and the sad duty to announce to the brave Congolese people the death of the president of the republic, head of state, head of the Public Salvation Government, president of the national directorate of the people's government committee and supreme commander of the Congolese armed forces, Mzee [old man] Laurent-Desire Kabila, on Thursday 18 January 2001 at 1000 [0900 GMT].

No initiative or attempt was spared or ruled out by the Public Salvation Government and by the doctors in order to save the life of the president of the republic.

Alas, alas these major efforts turned out to be unsuccessful and in vain.

'Exceptional personality'

Congolese people, my fellow countrymen, how can one not remember in these painful circumstances the complicated, exceptional and extraordinary personality of the President of the Republic, Mzee Laurent-Desire Kabila?

He will be remembered in the annals of universal revolution and in the lives of the freedom fighters and revolutionaries of the world for all time.

Mzee Laurent-Desire Kabila wholly devoted the best years of his life, spending decades in the bush, in the Kivu region, fighting for the liberation of the Democratic Republic of Congo and of the Congolese people.

Leader of our beloved country for nearly four years, he gave proof of his qualities of a man in love with peace and freedom despite the multiple, varied and constant attacks by the enemies of our people.

'Committed patriot'

Today President Laurent-Desire Kabila leaves the valiant and faithful Congolese, present generations as well as future ones, the image of a committed patriot, an unrelenting nationalist, an unwavering resistance fighter, but also, and above all, an exceptional leader of men.

Congolese people. My dear compatriots. The Public Salvation Government takes this opportunity to pay tribute to the entire Congolese people and render them their dues.

In effect, for nearly four years the Congolese people supported the revolutionary and liberating action of Mzee Laurent-Desire Kabila because they understood that it was right for the present and future generations.

A reflection of this massive support was manifestly patent when on 16 January 2001 the chief of staff of the supreme commander of the Congolese Armed Forces urged them to remain calm and serene despite the exceptionally dramatic situation our country is going through.

'National mourning'

On this date, the Public Salvation Government decrees 30 days of national mourning throughout the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Therefore flags will be flown at half-mast, and the public radio and television networks will suspend their scheduled programmes and adapt their broadcasts to these particularly sad circumstances.

The Public Salvation Government has further decided that Monday 22 and Tuesday 23 January 2001 will be paid public holidays throughout the national territory.

'Maintain discipline'

Congolese people. My dear compatriots.

To our army, to our police, to our security forces, the Public Salvation Government hereby informs them that the President of the Republic, Mzee Laurent-Desire Kabila, left the following testament for their attention.

Firstly, maintain your discipline and remain calm and serene, particularly at this time of war and aggression.

Secondly, protect the population and ensure the safety of people and property.

Thirdly, defend the integrity of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Fourthly, cast the aggressors off the national territory.

'Indescribable grief'

Congolese people. My dear compatriots.

May the man whom, in his lifetime, we all affectionately called Mzee, now rest in peace, and may his memory remain alive and engraved on our hearts.

Congolese people. My dear compatriots.

Despite this indescribable grief, all Congolese women and men will continue to seek consolation from God everlasting, our creator.

God giveth and God taketh away. Glory be to God. Thank you very much.

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