Kabila was reportedly shot by a bodyguard - NYTimes/ Covert Action on Kabila; Civil War.
mstainsby at SPAMtao.ca
Wed Jan 17 02:45:42 MST 2001
Congo Leader Reportedly Dead After Being Shot by Bodyguard
By NORIMITSU ONISHI
President Laurent D. Kabila was reportedly shot by a bodyguard.
BIDJAN, Ivory Coast, Jan. 16 - President Laurent Kabila of Congo, who deposed one of
Africa's great dictators but then brought his country into even worse disarray, was
shot and killed today, diplomats and associates said.
The president was shot by one of his bodyguards, according to John E. Aycoth, a
lobbyist and public relations consultant in Washington who acts as Mr. Kabila's
spokesman in the United States. He said he had talked to top Congolese officials, who
told him that the president was dead.
The killing was also reported by Louis Michel, foreign minister of Belgium, Congo's
former colonial ruler, who said he was told of Mr. Kabila's death by "two trustworthy
The circumstances of the shooting were not immediately known, but one report said
that it had involved a dispute between Mr. Kabila and some of his generals.
The Congolese government gave no details of the incident, but announced that it had
sealed borders, closed the airport and imposed a night curfew. A televised address by
President Kabila's personal chief of staff, Col. Edy Kapend, suggested the
seriousness of the events. Soldiers surrounded the presidential palace, according to
reports from the capital, Kinshasa, though the city itself appeared calm. There was
no indication who was in charge.
Ordering senior commanders to bring their units under control, Colonel Kapend said:
"No shots may be fired, for whatever reason, without prior order. The population must
not be thrown into panic and the troops must not grow agitated."
The government's minister of interior, Gaetan Kakudji, one of Mr. Kabila's closest
allies, went on state television to say that the president himself had ordered the
curfew, suggesting that he was still alive.
But in Washington, a senior administration official said the United States has
received several reports from credible sources that Mr. Kabila had been assassinated.
"Our operating assumption is that he is dead," the official said.
Mr. Kabila's death would dramatically alter the dynamics of a two- and-a-half-year
war that has drawn in half a dozen African nations and destabilized all of Central
Mr. Kabila, who deposed the longtime dictator Mobutu Sese Seko in 1997, had long been
considered the main obstacle to any diplomatic resolution to the current conflict,
and had become increasingly isolated in his four years in office.
It was not clear tonight who might have led the shooting of Mr. Kabila, though his
standing in the military had fallen recently.
After months of stalemate during which the warring parties had seemed satisfied with
carving up Congo and feasting on its natural resources, Mr. Kabila's forces suffered
a serious defeat late last year in Katanga, the mineral-rich province in the
Shots were heard this afternoon near the presidential palace, where fighting also had
occurred, according to the United Nations in New York, citing Kamel Morjane, the
United Nation's special envoy to Congo, who was in Kinshasa.
While Mr. Kabila had promised to deliver the Congolese from the years of Mr. Mobutu's
dictatorship, he immediately banned all political parties after coming to power. And
he never followed through on his promise to hold elections in April 1999, instead
running the country himself, with the help of a strong military.
Mr. Kabila steadily lost popularity in the capital. He traveled only at night,
because during the day pedestrians would lift their shirts to show their bellies at
his passing motorcade as a sign that they were hungry.
article finishes at:
U.S. Military and Corporate Recolonization of the Congo
by Ellen Ray
The United States' involvement in Congo since before independence from Belgium in
June 1960 has been steady, sinister, and penetrating. Most notable was the CIA's role
in the overthrow (September 1960) and later assassination (January 1961) of Congo's
first Prime Minister, the charismatic (and socialist) Patrice Lumumba. The full
extent of U.S. machinations was not known for years,1 but the failure at the time of
the United Nations to protect Lumumba was patent. And questions continue to linger
over the mysterious plane crash in September 1961 that killed U.N. Secretary General
Dag Hammarskjold as he was flying to the border town of Ndola to meet with Moise
Tshombe, president of the breakaway Katanga Province. The plane fell from the sky,
killing all aboard.2 Is it any wonder that in Congo today there is little trust of
Washington or respect for the United Nations?
In October 1996, the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire
(ADFL), commanded by and composed mainly of Tutsi military forces from Paul Kagame's
Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA), along with Tutsi refugees from Zaire and some Congolese
patriots,3 all under the titular leadership of Congolese exile Laurent Kabila,
crossed into Zaire from Rwanda and Burundi. In May 1997, after only seven months of
fighting, they had overthrown the 30-year dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko.4 While
marching west across the vast expanse of the country, divisions of this army had
wreaked terrible vengeance on the Rwandan Hutu exiles encamped since 1994 in eastern
Zaire, where they had been driven from Rwanda by the RPA on the heels of the
horrendous massacre of hundreds of thousands of Rwandan Tutsis, encouraged and
supervised by extremists in the Hutu-dominated government.
In Kinshasa, with Kabila named President, key cabinet posts and the new Congo army
and security forces were immediately staffed at the highest levels by Rwandan Tutsis.
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