Tuesday, August 25, 1998 Published at 10:28 GMT 11:28 UK
African armies urged to quit Congo
Congolese troops have welcomed foreign help
The United States has repeated its call for foreign military forces to withdraw from the Democratic Republic of Congo as fears grow of a wider regional conflict.
US State Department spokesman James Foley made the call to Angola and Zimbabwe as the Congolese government of Laurent Kabila continued to battle against a three week rebellion.
The latest American statement follows reports that the Angolan army has made further advances against rebel positions west of the capital, Kinshasa.
The Angolan government has officially confirmed that it is providing military assistance for the Congolese government.
The Congolese government has also revealed that Zimbabwean troops have arrived in Kinshasa to fight alongside President Kabila's forces.
The Congolese Justice Minister, Mwenze Kongolo, said Zimbabwean and Angolan troops had been invited to help the government.
"As for the Rwandans and the Ugandans they are aggressors so they are here not by our choice," he said.
Central African war
Echoing US fears of a war engulfing the region, African leaders urged the rebels and forces loyal to President Kabila to call a truce.
Mr Mandela said he was confident a ceasefire could be reached.
Rwanda and Uganda, which attended the SADC summit as observers and which have been accused by Congo of supporting the rebels, also put their names to the peace plea.
The Portuguese news agency, quoting Angolan military sources, said that Angolan troops had forced rebels out of the ports of Moanda and Banana, situated on Congo's Atlantic coast.
The unconfirmed reports said that both towns fell on Sunday.
But despite losing the base, which had been used to fly in troops and supplies for the advance on Kinshasa, the rebels have made gains in eastern Congo, capturing the third biggest city, Kisangani.
Meanwhile, a senior Zimbabwean government source said a Zimbabwean force of up to 600 special troops had arrived in Kinshasa.
He said the rebels were now trapped between the Zimbabweans and Angolan troops in the south-west, and advised them to surrender.
The immediate goals of the pro-Kabila troops based in the capital appear to be to restore power and safeguard access to the Atlantic Ocean.
As the fighting continues, life for civilians in Kinshasa is becoming increasingly difficult.
Imported goods are no longer reaching the city because the rebels control key ports and prices have risen sharply as residents stock up on food.