Sunday, August 16, 1998 Published at 23:24 GMT 00:24 UK
Kabila returns to Kinshasa
Congolese women in Kinshasa pray for peace
President Laurent Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo has returned to the capital, Kinshasa, amid reports of further gains by rebels fighting to overthrow him.
"We are here to stay. In any case, the aggressors are going to fail," he added.
Hundreds of foreign nationals are continuing to be evacuated as the conflict edges closer to Kinshasa.
Officials in Angola said President Kabila had also paid a brief visit there to consult the Presidents of Angola and Namibia.
BBC West Africa correspondent, Mark Doyle, says Mr Kabila's return to Kinshasa shows a certain confidence about the military situation, despite reports of rebel gains.
Minister denies port has fallen
Reuters has reported that the rebels have taken the strategically-important port city of of Matadi, which is about 250km (155 miles) from the capital.
He said there was no classic front line in the fighting and that government forces were going from house to house clearing out what he called "bandit elements".
Our correspondent says it may be that both accounts are true and that different forces are in different parts of the Matadi area.
The revolt, led by ethnic Tutsis in the east of the country, began in July when a section of the army which helped President Kabila to power last year turned against him.
The government has called the uprising an invasion by Rwanda, but Rwanda has denied any involvement.
Over the past few days foreigners have been fleeing Kinshasa in chartered planes, and across the river to neighbouring Brazzaville-Congo.
The media have carried reports accusing western governments and media of supporting the rebels.
President Kabila's cabinet director, Abdoulaye Yerodia, said that the departing foreigners were like "rats fleeing the ship."
But thousands of foreigners remain in Kinshasa. Many have business investments in the country, but others do not have the money to take a plane out.
In the east of the country, refugees are said to be fleeing by boat to Tanzania where aid workers are housing them in temporary camps.