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Vol 39 No 23

Published 20th November 1998


Congo-Kinshasa

The wages of war

As the regional combatants prepare for a showdown in the diamond capital of Mbuji Mayi, President Kabila has arranged some pay-offs

Four months on, the battle for economic and political power in Congo-Kinshasa has become Africa’s most African war this century. The key protagonists and their armies are all African, the economic spoils are majority-owned by Africans, the diplomatic efforts to stop the war are being run through regional organisations - only the weapons (and the occasional military ‘advisor’) are provided from outside. Western countries are standing back, leaving the core diplomacy to the Southern African Development Community and the Organisation of African Unity. Countries outside the immediate arena of battle, such as Nigeria and South Africa, hope desperately that the SADC and OAU peace initiatives under the chairmanship of Zambian President Frederick Chiluba will make some progress at a new round of talks on 21-22 November. Yet the omens look bad.

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