In Zaire, the Red Cross operation to bring relief and medical supplies to the province of Shaba is continuing following the recent invasion by Katangese rebels, as the first troops of a Pan-African security force fly in to replace the remaining French Foreign Legion detachment.
GV Senegalese troops on tarmac at airport after arriving (5 shots)
GV Supplies are unloaded
GV More troops disembarking from giant US transport aircraft watched by other troops (2 shots)
GV Aircraft taking off as truck is off-loaded from another transport aircraft
SV & GV Troops watch as more jeeps and lorries and unloaded (3 shots)
GV Red Cross supplies are unloaded
GV Troops sorting through Red Cross supplies (4 shots)
SV Red Cross officials watch as troops unload more supplies (2 shots)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: In Zaire, the Red Cross operation to bring relief and medical supplies to the province of Shaba is continuing following the recent invasion by Katangese rebels, as the first troops of a Pan-African security force fly in to replace the remaining French Foreign Legion detachment.
SYNOPSIS: These troops from Senegal arrived at Lumbumbashi airport to form an early contingent of the Pan-African force which will police shaba Province, following the bloody incursion by rebel forces last month. They will later be joined by troops from other African nations.
The force is in Zaire, according to the Senegalese Prime Minister Abdou Diouf, within the "framework of an African force". When he announced the decision to send in the troops, earlier this month. Mr. Diouf said that this was in response to an appeal by the current President of the Organisation of African Unity, President Bongo. It was because of what he described as "undeniable foreign involvement" in the attack on Kolwezi. He said that there would not, otherwise, have been any question of intervention.
As the Senegalese troops flew in, the 150-man French Foreign Legion detachment, which has been in the province since the main force left Shaba nearly two weeks ago, was preparing to pull out. As the troops exchanged duties, the battle continues against disease in the country since the attach. As well as medical supplies for Shaba province, food supplies are being flown in.
The Red Cross is trying to counter the problems of growing food shortage and health problems, particularly in Kivu Province in eastern Zaire, hit by a cholera epidemic. It has already claimed an estimated 300 lives. The authorities say the danger of disease in Shaba province following the attack has now largely passed. Red Cross teams buried more that 800 bodies and most remaining residents have been inoculated.
The food situation is more serious. The Red Cross say food supplies are very short in Shaba province. On Friday (16 June) the first of 17 airlifts of food arrived at Lumbumbashi. It will take another 10 days, before the situation begins to normalise.