Congo rebels claim success

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The Independent Online
Forces loyal to Congo Brazzaville's former military leader, Denis Sassou Nguesso, said they had captured the presidency and were pushing west in a lightning advance through the south of the capital. There was no immediate word on the whereabouts of President Pascal Lissouba, Sassou's rival in the bloody four-month power struggle in the former French colony.

Residents of the government-held southern suburbs fled across the Congo river to Kinshasa, capital of the former Zaire. "The presidency has now been captured," a spokesman for Sassou's commanders said, adding that Mr Lissouba had not been there at the time. Sassou forces also claim control of Brazzaville's Maya Maya international airport.

"We retook the airport three days ago." a Cobra commander said. The conflict, which began on June 5 when Lissouba tried to crack down on Sassou's private Cobra militia, has killed several thousand people in Brazzaville. - Reuters