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Wednesday, 1 December, 1999, 19:57 GMT
Rebels condemn DR Congo offensive
MLC rebels Rebels and government have been locked in a 15-month war

By Chris Simpson in Kigali

Rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo have accused Congolese President Laurent Kabila of staging a fresh offensive against rebel positions around the rebel-held town of Bokungu in the north of the country.

Battle for the heart of Africa
Spokesman for the Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) Kin-kiey Mulumba said the rebels were still firmly in control of Bokungu.

Mr Mulumba called for strong international condemnation of the "constant campaign of relentless aggression" by President Kabila and his allies on the rebel-held town.

According to the RCD, serious international pressure now needs to be applied against the Congolese president to prevent further ceasefire violations by him.

Mr Mulumba said the Congolese army had used Russian Antonov cargo planes to drop bombs on rebel positions, but emphasised the rebels would not be abandoning Bukungu or any other towns under their control.

UN monitors

The latest allegations come three months after the rebels formally made peace with President Kabila.

The United Nations is now trying to ensure that hostilities do not resume.

UN military liaison officers have been sent to different parts of the country to review the current military situation and prepare the ground for a full-scale UN mission, provisionally scheduled to begin next year.

The UN Security Council has backed proposals to send 500 observers into Congo, but it wants clear guarantees that the peace is holding before giving formal authorisation for their deployment.
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See also:
16 Nov 99 |  Africa
OAU monitors enter DR Congo
11 Nov 99 |  Africa
UN team starts work in Congo
08 Jul 99 |  Africa
Congo peace plan: the main points
02 Oct 99 |  Africa
Congo accused of breaking truce
23 Jun 99 |  Africa
DR Congo: What price peace?

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