Zaire’s internal split worsens as rebels support former PM

Mark Huband in Nairobi

The Guardian, 24 August 1992

ZAIRE’s exiled secessionist movement yesterday declared support for the former prime minister, Nguza Karl-I-Bond, only days after his announcement that the southern province of Shaba would not accept the authority of the week-old government of the new prime minister, Etienne Tshisekedi.

In a statement issued from Angola, members of the Katanga Gendarmes, who split Zaire in two in 1960 and re-attempted a secession when they led an invasion of the southern province of Katanga (now called Shaba) in 1977, said they were awaiting orders to return to Zaire from Mr Karl-I-Bond, whom they recognise as their leader.

The declaration came as hundreds of Zaireans from Mr Tshisekedi’s Luba tribe attempted to flee Shaba fearing that they will be massacred by Mr Karl-l-Bond’s Lunda tribe.

Travellers from Shaba who have reached Kinshasa said many Lubas had been hiding in the town of Kamina for the last two days due to fears of being attacked by Mr Karl-I-Bond’s supporters.

Funerals were held in towns throughout Shaba yesterday for eight people killed in clashes between Mr Karl-I-Bond and Mr Tshisekedi’s supporters.

State television said the victims were “Katangese” who had been killed by Luba soldiers on August 15-16.

© Guardian Newspapers Limited