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Thursday, 12 December, 2002, 14:08 GMT
Congolese rebels deny Libyan backing
Monuc forces in DR Congo
UN peacekeepers are deployed in DR Congo
The rebel Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) has denied getting military support from Libya against the government in Kinshasa.

The secretary general of the movement, Olivier Kamitatu, told the BBC's French service that no such alliance existed.

The Democratic Republic of Congo Government has accused Libya of becoming the fourth country to invade its territory after Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi.

The government's chief negotiator at peace talks, Vital Kamerhe, accused the MLC of wanting to restart the war using the arms, equipment and war planes of Libya.

Speaking on UN radio, Mr Kamerhe said the government had already protested to the Libyan authorities and would soon call on the United Nations Security Council to denounce "the acts of aggression".

He said the MLC, which controls much of the north-east of the country, was blocking the inter-Congolese peace talks which have just resumed in the South African capital, Pretoria, because of its war goals.


But the MLC's number two, Olivier Kamitatu, said that the government was using diversion tactics so that, he said, the Congolese people would not hold it responsible for what he described as "the foretold failure" of the Pretoria talks.

The talks have not been going well.

Representatives of the Kinshasa government, of the rebel factions, political parties, Mai Mai militias and civil society have been given until the weekend to draw up the terms for an inclusive, transitional government.

"On the day the commission in charge of security and defence was expected to release its report, the government tried once again to escape its responsibilities by saying that the MLC and Libya were in cahoots, but this is not true.

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"Libya has sent a contingent to the Central African Republic, MLC troops have also been deployed in the Central African Republic, but one should not confuse what is happening in the CAR and the situation in the Congo," Mr Kamitatu said.

"We should bear in mind that the MLC was the first to demand that all foreign troops should leave.

"The MLC is not one of those movements which need the support of a foreign army to continue to defend the freedom and democracy values for which we have taken up arms," he said.

MLC leader Jean-Pierre Bemba
The MLC denies planning to march on Kinshasa

One of the MLC's negotiators in Pretoria denied his army was planning to march on the capital, Kinshasa, using Libyan help, saying they had no war planes.

The BBC's Mark Dummett in Kinshasa says press reports do suggest that Libyan material, if not men, are in areas controlled by the MLC.

Both the Libyans and the MLC have sent men to the CAR in recent months to defend President Ange Felix Patasse from mutinous soldiers.

But UN peacekeepers say they cannot confirm press reports that Libya wants to deploy war planes to the Congolese town of Zongo which is across the Oubangui river from the CAR capital, Bangui.

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See also:

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