No fanfare for Kabila in capital

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The Independent Online
It was hardly an arrival for a conquering hero. Laurent Kabila, the Great Liberator of Congo-Zaire flew into Kinshasa last night, long after the flag-waving crowds who had lined the streets all day to greet him had given up waiting and gone home.

Mr Kabila said nothing to the journalists at the airport after his two- hour flight from Lubumbashi, his rebel headquarters. He was whisked off in a Land-Rover, followed by heavily armed soldiers and dignitaries.

After more than three decades opposing ousted dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, Mr Kabila's arrival in the capital was surprisingly low-key. The new President is said to have serious concern about his personal safety. In Kinshasa yesterday, a Western security adviser said Mr Kabila might by suffering from a touch of paranoia but that he might have also good reason to worry. During the seizure of Kinshasa, members of Mr Mobutu's elite presidential guard, the DSP, assassinated General Mahele, the country's Defence Minister, accusing him of betrayal for trying to negotiate a peaceful takeover of the city by rebel forces.

Kinshasa has only been under the control of its new rulers since Saturday, and it is not certain that all pro-Mobutu elements have gone. Hundreds of them are in exile just across the river in Brazzaville, Congo. There are also suggestions that Mr Kabila may be worried about a threat from within. His own Alliance Party is said to be fragmented.

As Mr Kabila arrived in the city, two Frenchmen were killed by gunmen in uniform, a French diplomat said. Michel Tournaire and Herve Rigaud, were leaving a factory around 7pm when they were killed. The motive for the attack was not immediately clear. But France was a close friend of Mr Mobutu, and residents say there has been an undercurrent of anti- French feeling in the capital.