Zaire-and according to diplomatic sources quoted by Reuters news agency five western powers will urge President Mobutu Sese Seko to make peace with local tribesmen in the war-torn Shaba province in return for badly-needed western economic aid.
Zaire-and according to diplomatic sources quoted by Reuters news agency five western powers will urge President Mobutu Sese Seko to make peace with local tribesmen in the war-torn Shaba province in return for badly-needed western economic aid. The sources say that envoys from the United States, France, West Germany, Belgium and Britain will also press him to consider a programme of wide-ranging domestic reforms and to seek better relations with neighbouring Angola. This initiative is part of western efforts to support President Mobutu's government following last month's rebel insurgency in Shaba, which was crushed by Belgian and French Foreign Legion paratroopers.
SYNOPSIS: By now the last of the French legionnaires have left Shaba province and the shattered town of Kolwezi-focal point of the insurrection-is in the hands of the Zairean army. Support was supposed to come form a large contingent of Moroccan and other African troops-but as the French moved out last week there was no sign of them in Kolwezi. According to Reuters the Moroccans, officially said to number 1,500, appeared to be still gathering equipment at Lumumbashi airport prior to deployment.
A convoy of 24 lorries and jeeps carried the 180 remaining legionnaires through the dense bush between Kolwezi and Lumumbashi airport. From there they were airlifted back to their bases in Corsica.
For the legionnaires and many of the incoming troops there was little to do except exchange gossip while waiting at the airport. But for others there was the task of unloading an impressive array of French and American military equipment that has been assembled for the Moroccan forces.
Before their departure French officers accused Zairian troops of looting European homes in Kolwezi after the rebel occupation. And although Lumumbashi now resembles a garrison town with troops from many nations on the streets, Reuters say that increasing numbers of Europeans are leaving. The 500-strong French community is said to be particularly nervous, fearing reprisals for the legionnaires' operation. Europeans say they fear the Zairean army and the local Lunda tribes people as much as the rebels.
Asked why they had left Kolwezi before the Moroccans arrived a French officer said "It is a political decision." And one legionnaire commented "It's good to get out of Kolwezi-the town is finished.