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Sunday, July 4, 1999 Published at 02:43 GMT 03:43 UK


World: Africa

A song for Congo

Laurent Kabila: Head of state turned songwriter

As peace negotiations on the future of his country continued, the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo Laurent Kabila unveiled his latest composition, a "hymn of the oppressed" calling on the country's people to battle their enemies.

"Congo's people will never fall. The people's soldiers advance," the president's song goes.

The first airing of "L'Hymne des Opprimes", dedicated to the oppressed of the world, was broadcast on state television on Saturday.

President Kabila attended the ceremonial performance in Congo's capital Kinshasa, but did not sing the song himself.

But it was performed three times - by the Republican Guard, then as an encore by the Presidential Guard, and finally in an rendition by West Ghenda, brother of a former information minister.

The song, for which President Kabila composed the music as well as the words, urges nationalists, Congolese youth, soldiers and others to fight injustice and exploitation and to promote people power.

The recital coincided with talks in Zambia, where foreign and defence ministers from Congo's neighbouring states are trying to end the 11-month-old conflict.

President Kabila made no reference to the peace talks.



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