Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Monday, August 31, 1998 Published at 00:54 GMT 01:54 UK

World: Africa

Rwanda issues warning to Congo

Angolan troops are helping President Kabila reverse his fortunes

With fighting continuing in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Rwandan government has warned that it may invade its neighbour to protect the interests of ethnic Tutsis.

Correspondent Greg Barrow reports from South Africa
The warning was delivered at a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in the South African city of Durban.

The Rwandan foreign minister, Anastase Gasana, accused Congo's President Laurent Kabila of training a 10,000-strong militia, including elements of the former Rwandan regime which carried out the 1994 genocide of Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Republic of Congo tabled a resolution condemning Rwanda and Uganda for what it calls their aggression on its territory.

Rebels fight on

In another development, President Kabila visited the Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe for several hours.

The BBC's correspondent in Harare, Joseph Winter, said the meeting was to determine the next steps to take in the war against the Congolese rebels.

Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia are backing President Kabila's government in the conflict while the rebels are allied to Uganda and Rwanda.

The rebels have said they will continue fighting despite reports they have been forced to withdraw from strategic locations around the capital, Kinshasa.

[ image: The Inga dam: recaptured from the rebels]
The Inga dam: recaptured from the rebels
They are reported to have pulled out of the main port of Matadi. The rebels have also withdrawn from the Inga hydro-electric dam which supplies power to Kinshasa.

It is thought the rebels handed over the dam after being surrounded by Angolan troops.

However, despite the government successes, the capital is still without electricity and the rebels maintain their hold over main cities in the east.

'Lynch mobs' attack Tutsis

The Congolese government says its troops spent Saturday carrying out mopping up operations in Kinshasa after three days of fighting with rebels.

But while the government said its troops were attempting to restore order, there have been increasing reports of murders of suspected Tutsi rebels.

A source in Kinshasa said there had been summary executions of young men resembling Tutsis.

One man was said to have been beaten to death and his body set alight in front of a cheering crowd.

Another incident saw a suspect thrown from a bridge and then shot.

Regional relations sour

The reported killings are adding to fears that the fighting in Congo could suck the entire region into a conflict based on ethnic hatred.

[ image: The Congolese Government says thse POWs are Rwandan soldiers]
The Congolese Government says thse POWs are Rwandan soldiers
The Congolese Government has said it has proof that outside forces are fighting alongside the rebels, and paraded alleged prisoners of war in front of journalists, saying the men had admitted to being Rwandans.

Uganda has admitted its troops are operating deep inside the Congo, but says they are just protecting national interests and are not involved directly in the conflict.

Zimbabwean officials have accused South Africa of supplying much of the equipment to Uganda and Rwanda, who in turn, they say, passed it on to the rebels.

South Africa's President Nelson Mandela, who has tried to broker a cease-fire in Congo, has criticised Zimbabwe for sending troops to Kinshasa.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

Relevant Stories

29 Aug 98 | Africa
Congo rebels quit key port

28 Aug 98 | Africa
Congo parades Rwandan POWs

27 Aug 98 | Africa
Kinshasa troops flushing out rebels

26 Aug 98 | Africa
Africa's regional interests in Congo

26 Aug 98 | Africa
The Congo Conflict: Q&A

26 Aug 98 | Africa
Rebels blamed for Congo massacre

Internet Links

Democratic Republic of Congo Government

BBC News Online Congo interactive map

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Dam builders charged in bribery scandal

Burundi camps 'too dire' to help

Sudan power struggle denied

Animal airlift planned for Congo

Spy allegations bug South Africa

Senate leader's dismissal 'a good omen'

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Zimbabwe constitution: Just a bit of paper?

South African gays take centre stage

Nigeria's ruling party's convention

UN to return to Burundi

Bissau military hold fire

Nile basin agreement on water cooperation

Congo Brazzaville defends peace initiative

African Media Watch

Liberia names new army chief