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DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: IRIN chronology (as of 30 September 1998)
NAIROBI, 30 Sep (IRIN) - Following is a chronology of key events in the Democratic Republic of Congo since the start of the current crisis:
27 July: President Laurent-Desire Kabila orders all foreign soldiers, including Rwandans and Ugandans, to leave the country.
2 Aug: Army rebellion against Kabila begins in eastern DRC with fighting reported in Goma and Bukavu (North and South Kivu) between loyal government troops and a rebel coalition said to comprise Congolese troops, in particular ethnic Tutsi (Banyamulenge) soldiers, backed by Rwandan forces.
Fighting also breaks out at two military camps in Kinshasa when government troops seek to disarm rebel Banyamulenge soldiers and Rwandans.
3 Aug: Rebels gain control of Goma and Bukavu while fighting spreads to other areas of eastern DRC.
Government troops succeed in controlling the rebellion in Kinshasa. A three-day dusk-to-dawn curfew is imposed in the capital. River traffic between Kinshasa and Congo-Brazzaville is suspended.
4 Aug: Rwanda denies any involvement in the DRC rebellion.
Rebels hijack an aircraft at Goma airport and force the pilot to fly across the country to Kitona in Bas-Congo province. The aircraft is reported to have dropped off hundreds of rebel soldiers to open up a western front.
5 Aug: DRC Foreign Minister Bizima Karaha announces in Goma that he has joined the rebel side.
6 Aug: Uvira in South Kivu falls to the rebels. Kabila accuses Rwanda of invading the country. Human rights groups report on persecution of ethnic Tutsis by government soldiers in Kinshasa.
7 Aug: Rebels gain control of Muanda and the Banana naval base in Bas-Congo, effectively cutting off Kinshasa's main supply lines from the nearby Matadi port.
8 Aug: Leaders of DRC, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Namibia and Tanzania meet in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, to discuss the crisis.
9 Aug: Beni in North Kivu falls to the rebels. Kabila publicly accuses Ugandan troops of fighting in the DRC on the side of the rebels.
12 Aug: Rebels take Bunia.
13 Aug: Rebels take the Inga hydro-electric dam in Bas-Congo, gaining control of Kinshasa's electricity supply.
17 Aug: The rebels announce that their movement will be known as the Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD). Ernest Wamba dia Wamba, an exiled university professor, is appointed chairman, with Arthur Z'Ahidi Ngoma, an opposition politician, as his deputy. The rebels announce the capture of Matadi in the west, and of Walikale, Baraka, Lubutu and Fizi in the east.
18 Aug: In a statement issued in Addis Ababa, the OAU calls on the rebels to lay down their arms and condemns "any external aggression" in DRC's affairs.
19 Aug: The defence ministers of Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola, meeting in Harare, decide to send troops and military equipment to the DRC in response to Kabila's request for assistance from the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
21 Aug: Zimbabwean and Angolan troops arrive in Kinshasa and Bas-Congo to prop up Kabila's army in the face of the rebel advance on the capital.
21-22 Aug: In separate statements, Rwanda and Uganda warn that they could intervene in the DRC conflict to protect national interests (in the case of Uganda) and the interests of ethnic Tutsis (in the case of Rwanda). Rwanda maintains it has no troops in the DRC, while Uganda says its presence is limited to two army battalions sent prior to the start of the rebellion in order to combat Ugandan rebels based there.
23 Aug: South African President Nelson Mandela chairs a meeting in Pretoria with representatives of SADC member countries, including DRC. The summit, also attended by the presidents of non-SADC countries Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya, mandates Mandela to organise a ceasefire in consultation with OAU Secretary-General Salim Ahmed Salim.
The Vatican says that 207 people were killed by Banyamulenge rebels at a Roman Catholic mission in Kasika near Uvira.
Government troops and their allies recapture Kitona in Bas-Congo, as the rebels capture Kisangani in Province Orientale and are reportedly 30 km from Kinshasa.
24 Aug: Government troops and their allies recapture the western towns of Muanda and Banana.
26-27 Aug: Fighting erupts near Kinshasa's international airport and adjacent neighbourhoods. Tens of thousands of residents are displaced from their homes. A night-time curfew is reimposed. Rebels take the town of Kalemie on lake Tanganyika in Katanga province.
28 Aug: Loyalist troops backed by Angolan and Zimbabwean forces repulse the rebels' offensive on Kinshasa. News agencies report scenes of Kinshasa residents burning alive suspected or actual Tutsi rebels or their sympathisers in the city.
30 Aug: Government troops and their allies recapture Matadi and the Inga hydro-electric dam in western DRC.
31 Aug: The president of the UN Security Council, in the second statement on the conflict, calls for a ceasefire, the withdrawal of foreign troops and a political dialogue to resolve the crisis.
2 Sep: Kabila attends a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) held in Durban, South Africa, where he delivers a speech accusing Rwandan and Ugandan soldiers of committing the 1996-97 massacres of Hutu refugees in the DRC.
3 Sep: UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the OAU secretary-general organise meetings in Durban with SADC members, and separately with Rwandan and Ugandan delegations, to try to advance the DRC peace process.
7-8 Sep: DRC peace talks held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, are attended by the heads of state of the DRC, Angola, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Uganda, Rwanda and Zambia, as well as the OAU secretary-general. Rebel representatives Ngoma and Karaha are also present, but they are kept apart from the other delegations. A ceasefire agreement worked out by the heads of state is rejected by the rebel delegation who demand face-to-face negotiations with Kabila.
10 Sep: Rebels in Kisangani say they have discovered mass graves containing the corpses of hundreds of Tutsis allegedly killed by government forces in August before the city fell to the rebels. Meanwhile, reports of additional killings of civilians by rebel soldiers or Rwandan troops emerge from south Kivu.
The restoration of electricity and running water to most parts of Kinshasa, the resumption of international flights and the easing of the curfew start-time to midnight signal the gradual return to normality in the capital, but food security remains poor for much of the population.
11 Sep: Shabunda in South Kivu is reported captured by the rebels. Kabila visits Chad, where President Idriss Deby pledges his "unconditional support."
Aid agencies start airlifting food, water-treatment chemicals and other emergency supplies to Kinshasa. The Matadi port and the Matadi-Kinshasa road reopen.
12 Sep: OAU-organised talks, which began in Addis on 10 September, result in an agreement on "draft modalities" for implementing a ceasefire. The talks are attended by DRC, Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia as well as the OAU secretary-general and several UN political and military advisors. Rebels say they will not recognise any agreement reached without their direct participation.
Kabila visits Gabon, where President Omar Bongo condemns the "occupation" of the DRC by foreign troops backing the rebels.
14 Sep: Hundreds of Mayi-Mayi warriors and Rwandan Hutu Interahamwe militia attack rebel-held Goma, but are defeated after a five-hour battle. Rwanda accuses Kabila of training and equipping the Hutu attackers.
15 Sep: The annual summit of 14 SADC countries ends in Mauritius with a communique recognising the legitimacy of the intervention of Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia in support of Kabila. The summit mandates Zambian President Frederick Chiluba to continue SADC peace efforts.
The rebels claim that 2,000 Sudanese soldiers were sent to the government's forward military headquarters at Kindu, with Libyan financial backing, to support Kabila. The claim is denied by the Sudanese and DRC governments.
18 Sep: Kabila flies to Tripoli and holds talks with Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi.
19-20 Sep: Zambia's Chiluba and Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa visit the leaders of Uganda and Rwanda to discuss the crisis, as part of SADC mediation efforts.
22 Sep: Rebels claim they gained control of Isiro in Province Orientale.
24 Sep: Thousands of civilians, mainly Banyamulenge, are reportedly displaced in Katanga province because of government attacks on villages.
Chad, Central African Republic, Congo-Brazzaville, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Angola, Namibia and Gabon condemn "aggression against DRC" at a pro-Kabila summit organised by Gabonese President Omar Bongo in the capital, Libreville.
28 Sep: Chad announces it sent 1,000 troops to the DRC to support Kabila.
Nairobi, 30 September 1998 12:00 GMT
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Date: Wed, 30 Sep 1998 17:09:11 -0300 (GMT+3) From: UN IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <email@example.com> Subject: DRC: IRIN chronology of current crisis 30 Sep 1998.9.30 (fwd) Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.firstname.lastname@example.org>
Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar, email@example.com