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Published 9th July 1999

Vol 40 No 14


Kabila's last throw

A looming battle for the diamond capital of Mbuji-Mayi makes a ceasefire agreement more attractive to the Kinshasa regime

Congo-Kinshasa's combatants are fighting on two fronts. One is the looming battle for Mbuji-Mayi, the diamond capital in Kasaï Occidental, and the other is getting the best terms from the tortuous peace talks in Lusaka. The two are inextricably linked. Zimbabwean officials say that they have sent a further 3,000 troops to reinforce the Kinshasa government's defences and to stop the advance by Rwandan soldiers and the rebel Rassemblement Congolais pour la Démocratie (RCD) on the city. Everyone in Lusaka knows that the fall of Mbuji-Mayi would decisively change the balance of power and could scupper further peace talks for months.

Fighting talk

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Under fire, strongman Sassou is sending secret messages to his enemies

President Denis Sassou Nguesso, who is too broke to pay his own army, has been secretly trying to make a deal with his main rivals. These are the elected President he overthrew in ...

Ethnic straitjackets

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Wrangles over the vice-presidency embitter the race to succeed Moi

Vice-President George Saitoti survived a no-confidence vote in Parliament on 30 June, which is good news for his political godfather, Nicholas Biwott, now Minister of East African ...

Savimbi's splitters

Divisions among supporters and tougher sanctions cause problems for UNITA's leader

Government forces have launched a new offensive on the rebel bases at Andulo and Bailundo. They may be pushing at an open door. We hear that Jonas Savimbi of the União Nacio...

A hard act to follow

The post-Nkomo era promises a major shake-up in Matabeleland and beyond

For a few days, the death of Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo united Zimbabweans. He was 82, a towering figure since the 1950s, when he returned from college in South Africa and began...

A deal in Lomé

The RUF negotiates its way into government after eight years of brutal warfare

Sierra Leoneans reacted with a mix of relief and scepticism following the signing of the Lomé peace deal on 7 July which brings Corporal Foday Sankoh's Revolutionary United ...


Border blues

Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon are falling out again over their boundaries in the Gulf of Guinea's oil-rich waters (AC Vol 40 No 9). President Paul Biya failed to dampen down the r...

Privatising politics

Britain's Department of International Development is at the centre of a political row after cancelling a contract with consultants linked to the opposition Reform Movement. The con...