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Wednesday, 16 January, 2002, 17:37 GMT
DR Congo's Kabila memorial
Mourners queue to see Kabila's office
Supporters have flocked to see where Kabila died
By the BBC's Mark Dummett in Kinshasa

Exactly one year after the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Laurent Kabila, was assassinated, the room where he was shot has been opened as a memorial.

The chair where Kabila died
Kabila was shot in his chair by his bodyguard

A prosecutor of Congo's military courts, Colonel Alemba, escorted crowds of mourners to Mr Kabila's office.

The president's bodyguard, Rashidi, walked into the office a year ago, Colonel Alemba explained, apparently with news for the leader.

The late president lent forward in his large white leather chair to hear what the man had to say, at which point the guard drew a gun and shot him.

Much of this account has since been disputed, but the faithful had come to pay homage to their lost leader.

Bullet holes and bloodstains

"I really miss the man, I don't know what to say, I miss the man," said Tshala Mwana, a parliamentary deputy and president of women's organisations supporting Kabila.

"Really there was president who loved his people, a president who loved his country, who was really a soldier for the Congolese people," she said.

Military prosecutor Colonel Alemba
A guide gives the official version of Kabila's death

Colonel Alemba showed visitors the bullet holes in the chair and the bloodstains on one arm.

Also on display were Mr Kabila's bloodstained safari suit, his large brown sandals and belt, and the curtains upon which he was lain before being flown to hospital.

Although many believe he died instantly, the colonel said the president was still alive at that point, and he had a ready audience.

"We were really touched by the death of our president, by the way he was killed, " said visitor Marie Kinyanga.

"We've just seen his clothes, and how he was attacked on his chair - and the blood, everything...it was really a terrible thing."

The tour included a demonstration by a soldier of how the assassin was shot as he ran from the office.

The government believes the murder of Kabila was an international plot.

Key suspects, including Kabila's aide de campe Eddy Kapend remain in jail. A trial is expected in the next few months.

See also:

16 Jan 02 | Africa
One year on: Kabila assassination
15 Jan 02 | Africa
Kabila meets rebel leaders
13 Jan 02 | Africa
Kabila seeks peace at SADC summit
20 Dec 01 | Africa
Death rate soars in DR Congo
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