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Vol 43 No 17

Published 30th August 2002

Old guard, new guard

After five transitional years, the former President has a new mandate – of sorts

President Denis Sassou Nguesso chose a significant date to end the long transition that began with his forces' defeat of Pascal Lissouba in October 1997. The Fête Nationale of 15 August commemorates both Independence in 1960 and the ousting of President Fulbert Youlou in 1963 after three days of fighting. For Congo's numerous Roman Catholics, it is also a very holy day, the Feast of the Assumption. Sassou Nguesso's inauguration the previous day passed without incident, despite fears of an attack on the capital by Ninja militias loyal to cult leader Frédéric Bitsangou, known as Pasteur Ntoumi.

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