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Vol 45 No 12

Published 11th June 2004


The Kivus jolt Kinshasa, again

The revolt in remote Bukavu threatens the peace and Kabila's transitional regime

The capture of Bukavu by General Laurent Nkunda's rebels on 2 June sent tremors across the country. It was a huge blow to the power-sharing government in Kinshasa and the attempt to build a new national army from former government soldiers and different rebel factions. Almost everyone except Eastern Congo's rebels looks weaker as a result. At first, Congolese workers and students demonstrated against the impotence of government and United Nations' peacekeepers in the face of rebel fire. Quickly the protests turned to riots in Kinshasa, Kisangani, Kindu and Lubumbashi. UN offices were attacked and robbed, about 30 vehicles were burnt and UN peacekeepers shot dead at least three looters in Kinshasa. President Joseph Kabila's year-old transitional government lost even more popular support and the opposition took advantage. In Kinshasa on 3 June, tens of thousands of demonstrators brandished the old flag of Zaïre, sang the Mobutist national anthem and chanted the late President Mobutu Sese Seko's name.

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