DR Congo Says Renegades Seize Radio, Order Restored
June 11, 2004
KINSHASA (Reuters) - Renegade presidential guards in the Democratic Republic of Congo seized control of state radio early on Friday, but troops loyal to the government retook the station soon afterwards, the government said.
"The situation is now calm," government spokesman Vital Kamerhe said. He did not specify if there had been a battle for the radio station.
"Some officers in the presidential guard took control of the state radio at 2:30 this morning (9:30 p.m. EDT Thursday), but loyalist soldiers retook control two and a half hours later," he said.
He said the guards were led by Major Eric Lenge of the elite unit which guards Congo's President Joseph Kabila, but that it was unclear how many guards were involved.
The incident comes days after government troops recaptured the eastern town of Bukavu from dissident soldiers after a week-long occupation launched in protest at what they said was the persecution of their ethnic group.
The revolt exposed the weakness of Kabila's transitional government installed a year ago, which is still struggling to restore central authority across Africa's third-largest country after five years of war.
The clashes in the mineral-rich east also raised fears of a wider regional conflict involving Congo and its tiny neighbor Rwanda, which invaded the former Zaire in 1996 and 1998.
(Reuter via R.Wilkner-USA Jun 11, 2004 in HCDX-ML)