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Zaire rebels make gains and close on capital

Zaire's rebel forces captured the towns of Ilebo, Tshikapa and Bowete and were closing in on the capital Kinshasa, according to a senior official of the rebel alliance yesterday. "We can announce tonight the capture of Bowete, Tshikapa and Ilebo," the rebels' "justice minister", Mwenge Kongolo, told a news conference. "We are also approaching Kikwit and our progress is going on normally."

Zairean villagers yesterday reported that Tutsi-dominated rebels slaughtered many Rwandan Hutu refugees at camps south of Kisangani and aid workers said they had reports that up to 55,000 refugees had fled.

Reuters - Kinshasa