Rebels Get By With a Little Help From Their Foreign Friends
KINSHASA, CONGO — Despite vehement denials by the triumphant forces of Laurent-Desir Kabila, military analysts agree that their war could not have been waged without foreign help.
One diplomat estimates that of the total 30,000 to 40,000 fighters, 2,000 to 3,000 were foreigners who formed a cadre of the most experienced, best-trained men. Of that number, perhaps up to 1,500 were from neighboring Angola. About 500 came from Rwanda and Uganda.
Rwanda provided the main financial support, with one foreign military source estimating that as much as $3 million was provided to Mr. Kabila's Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire.
Analysts said the initial logistical support came from Rwanda and Uganda, which provided trucks, ammunition, mortars, and training to a beginning force of 2,000 fighters. Of that number, perhaps half were ethnic Tutsis known as Banyamulenge from eastern Zaire or were Zairean dissidents. They were joined by about 500 battle-hardened troops from Rwanda and Uganda, according to one source.
Now-deposed President Mobutu Sese Seko had alienated the governments of Angola, Uganda, and Rwanda by allowing rebel movements in those countries to use Zaire as a haven.