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Congo lays blame for Kabila killing



KINSHASA, Congo (CNN) -- Congo has blamed two African countries and a rebel faction for the assassination of President Laurent Kabila.

An official report said Rwanda, Uganda and the Rally for Congolese Democracy rebels masterminded the shooting on January 16 by one of Kabila's bodyguards.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has informed the Rwandan and Ugandan governments of the report but both countries have denied any involvement in the assassination, said Congo government spokesman Binkarubi Kikaya.

The report is based on interrogation of witnesses and evidence collected by a commission -- appointed by Kabila's son Joseph when he succeeded his father -- and agencies of the Congolese government, said Kikaya.

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The commission was made up of representatives from legal, military, and human rights groups from Angola, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Congo.

Investigators alleged the killing was part of a larger coup attempt.

The commission said Kabila's bodyguard Rashidi Mizele shot the president three times.

But the attack "was not an isolated act," said Attorney General Luhonge Kabinda Ngoy, head of the inquiry. "It was part of a plot to make a coup d'etat."

Rwanda and Uganda have backed Congo rebel groups in a 2-1/2-year-old war against Congo's government, which has enjoyed support from Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia.

A 1999 peace agreement has been repeatedly violated by all sides.

However, in recent weeks most parties have followed through on pledges to withdraw their forces from the front lines.

Congo is currently in peace talks with Rwanda and Uganda, and Kikaya said those talks would not be affected by the report.

A delegation from the U.N. Security Council has been in the region over the past week, meeting leaders from all parties in the conflict to press initiatives under the peace deal.

Kikaya said the report will now be "opened up to the legal process" when it is turned over to prosecutors.

The report mentions 10 Lebanese were murdered immediately after the assassination "to remove any evidence or people who could testify about any aspects of the assassination."

The Lebanese were the conduits of money used to pay for the murder, Kikaya quoted the report as saying.

Kikaya said not all the findings in the report will be released to avoid hampering the legal investigation into Kabila's death.







RELATED STORIES:
RELATED SITES:
• Rwandan Government
• Ugandan Government
• Congolese Rally for Democracy
• United Nations: Information on Congo

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