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Wednesday, 15 May, 2002, 09:07 GMT 10:07 UK
DR Congo rebel mutiny over
Boats on the Congo in Kisangani
The Congo river used to be Kisangani's lifeline
Rwandan-backed rebels say their forces have crushed an uprising by dissident fighters in their ranks in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

At least five people were killed during Tuesday's brief mutiny in the rebel-held river port of Kisangani.

The acting head of the Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD) rebel movement, Moise Nyarugabo, told the BBC he believed the Kinshasa government was behind the mutiny.

He also said the mutineers had burned their victims to death and had briefly seized control of a radio station.

Kisangani has been the scene of fierce fighting in the civil war which has raged since 1998.

The RCD has not signed up for a power-sharing agreement reached last month.

Under the new deal, President Joseph Kabila has allied his administration with the Ugandan-backed Congolese Liberation Movement led by Jean-Pierre Bemba, who is set to become the new prime minister.

Hand of Kinshasa?

Earlier reports on Tuesday said the mutinous soldiers took over a local radio station in Kisangani and broadcast messages urging people to "free themselves of the Rwandan invaders".

Kisangani
Kisangani has already been ravaged by the civil war
RCD troops later dispersed the crowd and overpowered the mutineers.

A dozen people were reportedly arrested after the incident.

Calm has now returned and the city's governor, Jean-Pierre Birusa, has banned all public gatherings.

"We now have information that they (the mutinous troops) were in touch with Kabila and Bemba, and were seeking to capture the airports in Kisangani to facilitate delivery of assistance from Kinshasa," Mr Nyarugabo told the BBC.

"We shall also seek an explanation from the UN observer mission in Congo on how the troops gained access to their heavily-guarded radio station to broadcast messages to the population to kill people from eastern Congo," he said.

Radio mix-up

However the UN spokesman in DR Congo, Hamadou Toure, denied that the UN Radio Okapi had been attacked, saying it was a local Congolese station.

"Armed people are there to guard the UN equipment, not to take part in fighting among local soldiers," he said.

Kisangani serves as a logistics base for the UN military observer mission in the DRC, known as Monuc.

The UN Security Council has called for the demilitarisation of Kisangani as part of the Congolese peace process.

See also:

15 May 02 | Africa
Fighting breaks out in DR Congo
30 Apr 02 | Africa
UN envoys meet DR Congo leader
29 Apr 02 | Africa
Great Lakes peace mission starts
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