CTV.ca | UN removes trapped diplomats in Congo:Why does this have to happen to us? That is my question. I mean how desperate and pathetic must our leaders be (at sone level or another), to pull off a stunt like this, the day when we had finally proven to the face of the world, that we too could do the "democracy" thing, despite having part of te country only reachable by canoe? This is one of the saddest days in the History of Congo. When the people steps-up to the plate, the leaders act like buffoons. Sad, sad, sad...
"Battles between forces loyal to President Joseph Kabila and those of his main campaign rival raged for second day Monday, and U.N. peacekeepers safely evacuated foreign diplomats who had been trapped inside the challenger's besieged home when gunfire broke out.
The fighting in the Central African nation came after election officials announced Sunday that President Joseph Kabila had failed to win an outright majority in Congo's first balloting in more than four decades and would face former rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba in a second round in October.
U.N. spokesman Jean-Tobias Okala said the diplomats, including U.N. chief of mission William Swing, were being returned to the world body's offices in the capital, Kinshasa, after being evacuated from Bemba's compound by U.N. troops in armored personnel carriers.
"They're out and they're coming to U.N. headquarters. Everyone's safe," he said.
The foreign envoys were meeting with Bemba when fighting erupted outside his compound. Swing, the head of the world body's 17,500-troop peacekeeping mission, was inside, along with envoys from the United States, France, China and other countries.
It was not clear if the diplomats were ambassadors or lower-ranking officials. The U.S. Embassy had no comment and others were not immediately reachable for comment.
A U.N. official at its headquarters in New York, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the mission, said peacekeepers were there "to assist in an evacuation ... of VIPs from Bemba's compound."
In a bid to quell the violence, the army issued orders Monday for all soldiers in the Congolese capital to lay down their arms.
Army spokesman Col. Richard Leon Kasonga appeared on national television and issued orders barring all troops from carrying their weapons in public without a written exemption. He appealed for calm, saying, 'We're all members of the same army.'
Bemba's political party said Kabila's guards attacked the house, drawing return fire from Bemba's guards. Bemba was in his office when the fighting started, said his spokesman, Moise Musangana.
A senior military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of prohibitions on dealing with the media, confirmed that Kabila's special presidential guards were battling members of the postwar military drawn from Bemba's insurgent ranks. But the official said Bemba's guards provoked the battle.
Gunbattles in the nation as large as all of Western Europe already had killed at least two people, a grim backdrop for another round of campaigning."
I also, a bit of News from my favorite bloggers in Kinshasa:
Cedric's blog [Fr]