Six die in bombing raids

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The Independent Online
Kinshasa, Zaire (AP) - Government forces bombed three rebel-held towns in eastern Zaire yesterday and vowed to intensify the bombardments, which witnesses said killed at least six people. It was the sharpest escalation yet in the five-month war.

A defence ministry spokesman, Leon Kalima, said bombs were dropped on Bukavu, Walikale and Shabunda. He gave no casualty figures but urged civilians to leave the area.

Aid workers said six people were killed and at least 20 wounded in Bukavu when four bombs fell on the town. The defence ministry said Walikale had been "razed" in what it described as "a surgical operation aimed at the enemy's strategic and military targets". It also said it would target Kalemie, 300 miles south of Bukavu, where the rebel leader, Laurent Kabila, condemned the bombings as "a terrorist action" and said his army was preparing "to bring the war where these planes are coming from". There were no immediate casualty reports from Shabunda and Walikale, also under the control of Kabila's Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire.

A defence ministry official said that Goma, the biggest city in rebel hands, was next on the hit list.