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The BBC's Allan Little, in Kinshasa
"Joseph Kabila inherits his father's legacy of instability and war"
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The BBC's Mark Doyle in Abidjan
"The Congo government has... been giving more details about how Kabila died"
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Click to watch
BBC correspondents gauge reaction to Laurent Kabila's death around Africa
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Zimbabwe's Defence Minister Moven Mahachi
"President Kabila died in the DRC, in Kinshasa"
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Friday, 19 January, 2001, 19:21 GMT
Mugabe attends Kabila memorial
Mourners wear Kabila T-shirts at DRC embassy in Harare
Mourners remember Kabila at Harare's DRC embassy
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has attended a memorial service for assassinated Congolese President Laurent Kabila at a military base in Harare.

Mr Kabila's body is reported to have arrived in an elaborate white and gold coffin draped with a Congolese flag. Foreign journalists and those working for private media were barred from the church service.

The memorial service for the assassinated president took place as preparations were under way in Kinshasa to install his son, Joseph, as new head of state.

Joseph Kabila
Shy 31-year-old soldier
Head of armed forces since 1997
Preferred languages: English, Swahili
Family man
Educated Tanzania, Uganda
Officials finally confirmed on Thursday that President Kabila was dead, announcing 30 days of mourning after two days of denials and rumours, but questions remain over how and when he died.

Kinshasa remains calm, but there has been an outburst of ethnic fighting in the east of the country with reports that at least 59 people have died.

No details

Mr Kabila's body had been expected to go on public display in Harare on Friday.

Journalists had been invited by the Congolese ambassador in Harare to view the late president's body, but on arrival most of them were turned away by a man believed to be a member of Zimbabwe's War Veterans' Association.

kabila
Laurent Kabila: Reportedly shot by own bodyguard
A delegation of Congolese officials and the president's widow are now in Harare, preparing to take Mr Kabila's body home on Saturday for burial on Tuesday.

The Information Ministry in Kinshasa says President Kabila died on Thursday morning after doctors struggled to save him, but it has given no details as to how he died.

Zimbabwe's Defence Minister Moven Mahachi has told the BBC that the president was definitely killed in Kinshasa, and his body was flown to Harare on Wednesday.

Instability

Congolese officials say that acting head of state, 31-year-old Joseph Kabila, will be sworn in as president shortly.

State television news broadcasts have been showing him in uniform, greeting cabinet members and diplomats.

Joseph Kabila
Joseph Kabila: Acting head of government
But a BBC correspondent in Kinshasa says Mr Kabila inherits the instability that his father stoked.

Rebels, backed by Uganda and Rwanda, control much of the east of the country and appear stronger and increasingly confident.

However, the latest fighting in the east of the country is part of a struggle between rival rebel groups seeking to gain dominance along the Ugandan border.

Fighters from one ethic group, the Lenda, are reported to have attacked Bunia, firing heavy weapons at its airport and radio station until a Ugandan helicopter fired back on them.

Uganda has unsuccessfully attempted to unite Lendu and Hema rebels, with Lendu leader Ernest Wamba dia Wamba last week refusing to sign a merger agreement, saying it effectively demoted him.

Fears

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's President Mugabe, who has pledged to maintain support for Kinshasa, is consulting with their other allies in the Congo war, Namibia and Angola, on when to convene an urgent summit to discuss the crisis.

On Thursday, the UK Government led calls for DR Congo's leadership to restore stability in the country and to create the conditions that would allow UN peacekeepers to be deployed.

There are fears that the rebels may decide to take advantage of any confusion and try marching on the capital.

But Uganda has pledged not to take advantage of President Kabila's death.

It is possible that the departure of Mr Kabila from the political scene could serve as a catalyst for peace talks.

Kinshasa and its enemies have failed to abide by a series of cease-fire agreements, deepening the country's profound poverty.

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See also:

17 Jan 01 | Africa
Belgium prepares Congo evacuation
18 Jan 01 | Africa
Summit silent for Kabila
19 Jan 01 | Africa
Fighting flares in eastern Congo
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