[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Sunday, 13 June, 2004, 05:01 GMT 06:01 UK
DR Congo pursues 'coup leader'
Congolese army guard a street with a tank after a coup attempt in Kinshasa
The army has been patrolling Kinshasa after the failed coup
The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo says it is still hunting the leader of a failed coup, who fled from the capital, Kinshasa.

President Joseph Kabila's spokesman said Major Eric Lenge was hiding in the forest of Bas Congo, near the capital.

On Friday, Maj Lenge's soldiers briefly took over state radio and declared they were in control of the country, before being chased out by government troops.

Congo's opposition has said the coup was fabricated by President Kabila.

The opposition and also sections of the country's media have said the move was aimed to delay next year's elections and increase Mr Kabila's powers.

The coup was the latest challenge to a power-sharing government set up last year to end five years of war.

Major 'trapped'

"We have not yet got our hands on him [Maj Lenge]. He abandoned his vehicles and he is hiding in a forest in Bas Congo," presidential spokesman Kudura Kasongo said on Saturday.

"If he is there, we will eventually get him as he will have to come out and get something to eat," the spokesman added.

On Friday, there was heavy gunfire in Kinshasa, after Maj Lenge's men briefly seized state radio after Major Lenge's men seized state radio overnight.

President Kabila later went on national television, saying that a coup attempt had been thwarted.


Our correspondent says that Maj Lenge is believed to be close to Mr Kabila and to some hardliners who have no seats in the current government of unity.

Analysts in Kinshasa say that the "coup attempt" could have been engineered by the hardliners, to change the balance of powers within the Congolese government.

The government is made up of former belligerents who have fought each other over five years of war and are due to organise elections next year.

There was another coup attempt in March and much of the east remains unstable, despite the presence of some 10,000 UN peacekeepers.

Last Wednesday, government troops retook the town of Bukavu, which had been under rebel control for a week.

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


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific