Rebel Congolese troops embroiled in Bangui coup

Kinshasa- DR Congo (PANA) -- Central African Republic Ambassador to DR Congo, Sise Le Bernard, has not only conceded that troops from Jean-Pierre Bemba's Congolese Liberation Movement (MLC) were helping CAR forces fight back mutineers, but insisted there was nothing wrong in their presence there.
Speaking to newsmen at the end of an audience with DR Congo Foreign minister Leonard She Okintundu, the diplomat argued that in a situation as confused as the one in his country, support from neighbours - whatever the nature - cannot be refused.
A group of heavily armed mutineers at the behest of former president Andre Kolingba tried early last week to overthrow President Ange-Felix Patasse in Bangui, killing several civilians in the process.
Sise however assured the DR Congo government that the current situation in Bangui would in no way affect relations with Kinshasa.
He denied reports that CAR was sponsoring Jean-Pierre Bemba's rebel troops, saying Bemba was supported by Uganda, which provides weapons and oversees military operations on the field in DR Congo.
Sise declined to comment on the suspected presence of Ugandan soldiers among Bemba's troops fighting alongside CAR soldiers, insisting the issue fell within matters of military secret.
Reports from Bangui say, contrary to government claims, fighting was still continuing in the south of the CAR capital with mortar fire heard Wednesday morning.

06 june 2001 10:28:00

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