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Vol 37 No 24

Published 29th November 1996


Congo-Kinshasa

Dissonant voices

Faced with the Kivu crisis, foreign powers are as divided as Kinshasa's politicians

Events in eastern Zaïre continue to outpace the West's diplomatic response. There is relief in several Western capitals that some 600,000 refugees have returned to Rwanda without the deployment of an international intervention force. So Rwanda has a much stronger hand now, while Zaïre's leverage is slipping by the day. Any multilateral intervention will need Rwanda's blessing. That means it will have its military headquarters in Uganda or Rwanda and will not require the setting up of a major logistics base in Zaïre with heavy forces. Plans for the intervention force to seize Goma and Bukavu airports from opposition forces led by Laurent-Désiré Kabila and the Banyamulenge rebels seem to have been shelved – and with them, President Mobutu Sese Seko's hopes that a military-backed humanitarian mission might help break the opposition hold on Kivu.

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