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Thursday, 8 March, 2001, 15:53 GMT
Lebanon urges Congo deaths inquiry
Laurent Kabila
The aftermath of Kabila's death is still playing itself out
Lebanon has asked the Democratic Republic of Congo if it can participate in an investigation into the deaths of 11 Lebanese in Kinshasa following the assassination of Laurent Kabila in January.

The justice and foreign ministers of DR Congo are reported to have said on Wednesday that that the Lebanese nationals were "executed", but details about the deaths are sketchy.

DR Congo leader Joseph Kabila
Joseph Kabila ordered an inquiry into the killing
Justice Minister Mwenze Kongolo said some of the Lebanese were killed by soldiers acting without authorisation.

The revelation follows the announcement that the official investigation into Kabila's killing will be extended by a month.

Joseph Kabila, the son of the former leader who took office after his father's death, ordered an investigation into the killing in February.

Extension

It was supposed to wrap up by 6 March, but Justice Minister Kongolo said on Wednesday 7 March that it would last an extra month "to allow better finalisation of the inquiry".

Laurent Kabila was shot on 16 January in mysterious circumstances. His death was confirmed two days later.

DR Congo Justice Minister Mwenze Kongolo
Mr Kongolo said there was violence after Kabila died
The killing unleashed a "violent reaction" that led to the death of "many people, including several Lebanese citizens", Justice Minister Kongolo said.

At the time of the killing, government sources said he was shot by one of his bodyguards, who was himself then shot dead by Colonel Edy Kapend, Laurent Kabila's aide-de-camp.

First announcement

Colonel Kapend was the first government official to appear on television in the wake of the shooting, and appeared to give orders that exceeded his authority.

He was arrested at the beginning of March, along with General Nawej Yav.

Colonel Edy Kapend
Colonel Kapend has been arrested
Unnamed military sources told the Reuters news agency that General Yav had been responsible for the arrests of the 11 Lebanese nationals on the day after the Kabila shooting.

The sources said that the name of one of the Lebanese men was found in an address book belonging to the boydguard who allegedly shot Kabila.

There is a well-established Lebanese community in DR Congo, involved largely in import-export businesses, especially with diamonds.

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17 Jan 01 | Africa
Kabila 'shot dead'
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