Last week’s fighting in Brazzaville abated, but the Congolese government reported clashes in the southwest of the country. According to media reports, a government statement, broadcast over state radio on Friday, said “a climate of tension” reigned in the Niari region, while government troops and opposition Cocoye militia had clashed at Nkayi in nearby Bouenza region. The two areas are strongholds of ousted president Pascal Lissouba. Congolese Information Minister Francois Ibovi claimed the Democratic Republic of Congo was being used a springboard for attacks against his country. Hundreds of people were reportedly killed in clashes in southern suburbs of Brazzaville last week between the Ninja militia of former premier Bernard Kolelas and government troops.
Meanwhile, the exiled Congolese opposition has called for talks with President Denis Sassou Nguesso. Former finance minister and opposition spokesman Mbila Mungunga Kombo told Radio France Internationale that international pressure could bring Sassou Nguesso to the negotiating table. He claimed the Brazzaville fighting was an “expression of the government’s weakness”.
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