DR Congo — Freedom fighter assassinated
by Andrew Jackson President Laurent Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo was assassinated Tuesday last week, dying on a plane to Zimbabwe where he was being rushed for medical treatment. Diamonds, gold and oil appear to be behind the death of this great African freedom fighter. DR Congo, the country formerly known as Zaire, has long been considered a "prize" worth fighting over by European powers and its neighbours — Germany's desires on the territory were one of the reasons it invaded Belgium during the First World War. Granted independence from Belgium in 1960, the country has lived mostly under the rule of Mobutu Sese Seko, who took power in a coup in 1965. Mobutu presided over 35 years of murder and plunder in Zaire, remaining in power with financial and military help from the Belgian, French and American Governments. Acting as the imperialists' deputy in Africa, Mobutu sent his armies to overthrow socialist governments, his most notorious and futile intervention was in Angola where Zairean troops fought alongside those from the apartheid South African regime. Laurent Kabila fought with rebel forces against Mobutu from the 1960s, at one time alongside Che Guevera. His view of their superficial independence was put: "African independences offer to the world the tragic spectacle of a continent betrayed, plundered, humiliated and bloodied with the complicity of its own sons." Kabila and his forces finally liberated Zaire in 1997, sweeping through the nation in a revolution backed by the people and deserting government soldiers, tired of Mobutu's exploitation. Peace was short lived however, as Kabila found outside forces unwilling to give up the plunder they had enjoyed under Mobutu. Kabila was successfully restructuring the economy, shunning the dictates of the IMF and World Bank, and tearing up contracts made by the previous regime with foreign exploiters. Since 1998, an international invasion force has been attempting to oust Kabila, in an horrific war largely and conveniently ignored by the Western media, but which has cost an estimated 2.3 million Congolese lives. Other anti-colonialist governments across Africa, including Namibia, Zimbabwe and Angola, came to Kabila's aid. Numerous and conflicting theories have emerged as to who was behind the assassin, an 18-year-old who has been Mr Kabila's bodyguard since 1996. Mr Kabila's son Joseph has been named interim President as investigations continue.