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0DATE=1/5/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-243777 TITLE=CONGO REBELS (L-O) BYLINE=TODD PITMAN DATELINE=GOMA CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: REBELS IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO HAVE DENIED CLAIMS BY PRESIDENT LAURENT KABILA THAT GOVERNMENT TROOPS RECAPTURED TWO TOWNS IN THE EAST OF THE COUNTRY. AS TODD PITMAN REPORTS FROM GOMA, THE NEWS COMES AS REBELS ARE SORTING OUT POLITICAL DIVISIONS WITHIN THEIR RANKS. TEXT: REBEL COMMANDER JONAS PADIRI SAYS THE LAKE TANGANYIKA PORT OF MOBA AND THE EASTERN TOWN OF NYUNZU ARE STILL FULLY UNDER CONTROL OF REBEL TROOPS. A MILITARY SPOKESMAN IN THE CAPITAL, KINSHASA, SAYS THE GOVERNMENT RECAPTURED THE TOWNS MONDAY, BUT BOTH LOCALITIES ARE SEVERAL-HUNDRED KILOMETERS BEHIND REBEL LINES. COMMANDER PADIRI SAYS REBEL TROOPS HAVE ENCOUNTERED NO GOVERNMENT RESISTANCE IN THOSE AREAS. BUT REBELS HAVE FREQUENTLY CLASHED WITH TRADITIONAL CONGOLESE MAI-MAI WARRIORS AS WELL AS BURUNDIAN AND RWANDAN MILITIA FIGHTERS IN A CORRIDOR ALONG THE WESTERN SHORES OF LAKE TANGANYIKA. THE REBELS SAY THEY CAPTURED THE NORTHWESTERN TOWN OF ZONGO DURING THE WEEKEND, SENDING MORE THAN TWO-THOUSAND REFUGEES FLEEING ACROSS THE BORDER INTO THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC. PRESIDENT KABILA'S GOVERNMENT, WHICH IS BACKED BY SOLDIERS FROM NAMIBIA, ZIMBABWE, ANGOLA, AND CHAD, HAS RE-CAPTURED THE NORTHERN TOWN OF BUSINGA AND SAYS GOVERNMENT ALLIED TROOPS ARE MOVING TOWARD GEMENA, WHICH FELL TO THE REBELS LAST WEEK. DESPITE CONTINUED MILITARY GAINS IN THE NORTHWEST, THE REBELS MAIN POLITICAL MOVEMENT, "THE CONGOLESE RALLY FOR DEMOCRACY," IS BESET BY INTERNAL POWER STRUGGLES AND HAS SPLIT INTO SEVERAL GROUPS. REBEL OFFICIALS IN THE EASTERN TOWN OF GOMA SAY RIVALRIES HAVE SURFACED, PITTING THOSE ASSOCIATED WITH LATE DICTATOR MOBUTU SESE SEKO AGAINST THOSE WHO PREVIOUSLY WORKED WITH PRESIDENT KABILA. THE REBELS ARE ALSO DIVIDED OVER WHETHER TO EXPAND THE MOVEMENT'S 28-MEMBER DECISION MAKING ASSEMBLY TO OUTSIDERS. AFTER TALKS THIS WEEK WITH KEY ALLIES UGANDA AND RWANDA, REBEL POLITICAL CHIEF ERNEST WAMBA DIA WAMBA SAID THERE WERE NO FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEMS WITHIN REBEL RANKS. DESPITE DIFFERENCES ABOUT HOW TO MOVE FORWARD, MR. DIA WAMBA SAYS REBELS ARE UNITED IN THEIR DESIRE TO END MR. KABILA'S RULE. (SIGNED) NEB/TP/RAE-T 05-Jan-99 8:59 AM EST (1359 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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