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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Zaire Rebel Leader Flies South for Talks

GOMA, Zaire -- Zairean rebel leader Laurent Kabila flew to South Africa on Tuesday for talks on the war in Zaire, a regional military source said.


The rebels, pressing their four-month-old military campaign to try to oust President Mobutu Sese Seko, said they were now only 30 kilometers from the important eastern town of Kindu.


Kabila left from Goma as rebels and aid workers said Zairean government troops were looting in Kindu and residents were panicking.


"He [Kabila] left today for South Africa. We do not know how long he will stay. But the visit is part of consultations with the South Africans on the Zaire conflict," a regional military source said.


The source stressed that Kabila would not be meeting Zairean government representatives.


"He is not going to meet the Zaireans at all. This is purely between Kabila and the South Africans. Depending on the outcome, other initiatives will follow," said the source.


Kabila was accompanied by his chief aide on foreign affairs Bizima Karaha, a medical doctor who last week held talks with South Africa's Vice President Thabo Mbeki in Cape Town.


In the eastern Zairean city of Goma, a rebel spokesman said Kabila had left for a trip into the field, but he declined to say where. He added the rebels remained interested in negotiations.


In Paris, President Mobutu Sese Seko's son said the embattled Zairean ruler was given radiation therapy after prostate cancer surgery last August, a treatment medical experts say means his cancer has almost certainly spread.


Independent cancer specialists not involved in treating him say Mobutu should live for at least another two to three years with good medical care -- and could survive far longer.