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Thursday, January 7, 1999 Published at 13:17 GMT

World: Africa

Zimbabwe names backers in Congo war

Zimbabwean forces have been fighting in support of President Kabila

The Zimbabwean government says its military intervention in the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo is being funded by France, Angola and Libya.

A senior Zimbabwean government official added that China was the main supplier of arms to the war effort supporting President Laurent Kabila.

He refused to say how much the total war effort was costing.

Economic fallout

Zimbabwe has sent thousands of troops in support of Congolese President Laurent Kabila, and concern that it was meeting the cost itself has led to a big fall in the local currency, sharp price increases and serious social unrest.

France and Libya have been involved in recent peace talks, and the BBC Harare Correspondent Joseph Winter says this revelation might scupper further progress if the rebels decide they won't deal with them any more.

The Zimbabwean official said that France initially supported the uprising, but switched to Mr Kabila when the pro-American Ernest Wamba Dia Wamba was installed as the rebel leader.

Rebels investigate massacre

[ image: Rebels forces launched an offensive in the east last August]
Rebels forces launched an offensive in the east last August
In seperarate developments Mr Wamba Dia Wamba says he is sending a delegation to Uvira in the east of the country to investigate reports of a massacre in which up to 500 civilians are said to have died.

Mr Wamba has already said that troops will be punished if the reports of the killings in the village of Makobola are confirmed. But he said that Makobola was such a small village that it could not host the number of people that were alleged to have been killed there.

Father Giulio Albanese of Misna: Our reports say at least 500 were killed
The Roman Catholic missionary news agency, Misna, based in Rome, which first reported the massacre said entire families had been slaughtered, by machete or gun over a three-day period.

Misna editor, Father Giulio Albanese, told the BBC he believed the massacre was "an act of retaliation against the civilian population" for their support of the Mai Mai - a group Congolese nationalist partisans supported by President Laurent Kabila who are fighting the Tutsi rebels known as the Banyamulenge.

The Mai Mai are reported to have launched an attack on rebels the day before the massacre in which several Tutsi soldiers had been killed.

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