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Tuesday, 23 May, 2000, 12:17 GMT 13:17 UK
Rebels to join Kisangani withdrawal

Presidents Kagame and Museveni agreed the withdrawal
Rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo now say they will pull their fighters out of the diamond-rich town of Kinsangani, along with Ugandan and Rwandan forces.

The rebel movement, the Congolese Rally for Democracy, initially refused to join in a withdrawal signed on Monday by the armies of Rwanda and Uganda.

But now a rebel spokesman says they will pull out, although they will maintain the control of the administration and reserve the right to defend Kisangani from any attack by government forces.

The Ugandan chief of staff, General Jeje Odongo, said he had agreed with his Rwandan counterpart, General Kayumba Nyamwasa at a meeting in Kigali on Sunday that the pull-out would start on Thursday 25 May .

"We have agreed that both our forces will withdraw to a distance of at least 100 km from Kisangani," General Odongo told reporters.

The two armies will each leave 216 soldiers behind to conduct joint patrols until the arrival of United Nations peacekeepers.

Friends become enemies

Rwanda and Uganda troops back rival factions of the rebel movement that is opposed to the Congolese president, Laurent Kabila.


Laurent Kabila
President Kabila wants speedy deloyment of UN troops
Troops from the two countries clashed in the Congolese city earlier this month leaving several people dead and many others injured.

It was the second clash since August last year when hundreds of troops from the two former allies were killed as they turned their guns on each other.

Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Paul Kagame of Rwanda agreed on a rapid withdrawal two weeks ago.

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See also:

17 May 00 | Africa
Quick UN Congo force urged
08 May 00 | Africa
Congo town pull out agreed
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