Congo-Kinshasa: Uganda Government Regrets Kabila Assassination

18 January 2001

Kampala — Uganda government officials yesterday regretted the assasination in Kinshasa of president Laurent Kabila but said he was "very problematic and a major roadblock" to peace in the Congo.

Army commander Maj. Gen. Jeje Odongo said, "It is sad he died, but it is also true that he was problematic in all attempts to search for peace."

Jeje, whose army backs Congolese rebels who control large parts of the Equateur, Orientale and North Kivu provinces of Congo said, "We hope whoever takes over will be a person who is committed to peace."

Mr. Amama Mbabazi, the state minister of foreign affairs in-charge of regional cooperation, said, "In case Kabila is dead, we send our condolences. But we urge his successor to be committed to the implementation of the Lusaka peace agreement." Mbabazi is the chairman of the Political Committee, the supreme body that oversees the implementation of the Lusaka Agreement signed on July 10, 1999 by six African heads of state, including Kabila and President Museveni.

As chairman of the Political Committee, Mbabazi said, "We would remember Kabila as one of the signatories of the Lusaka Agreement who never respected it and refused to have anything to do with it."

"If Kabila is truly dead, then we are going to immediately make contact with the new rulers in Kinshasa to find a more viable and realistic solution to the pacification of Congo," Mbabazi said.

National Political Commissar James Wapakhabulo said, "It is Uganda's hope that whoever replaces Kabila will not be as intransigent as he was."

Dominique Kanku, the spokesman of the Congolese Liberation Movement, which on Tuesday merged with RCD-Kisangani to form the Congolese Liberation Front, said, "If chaos erupts and the population invites us to intervene, we shall respect their wishes," Kanku said.

Kin-Kiey Mulumba, spokesmen for RCD-Goma rebel group said, "Kabila was an obstacle to peace and now the obstacle is gone."

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