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New President for Rep. of Congo

October 22, 1997

BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of Congo (AP) _ The former dictator who has seized control of Republic of Congo will be inaugurated president over the weekend, a top military official said today.

Gen. Denis Sassou-Nguesso has been meeting with aides in his hometown of Oyo, 250 miles north of Brazzaville, since claiming victory last week in his four-month civil war against President Pascal Lissouba.

Sassou-Nguesso will arrive in Brazzaville on Thursday and be sworn in during the weekend, said Jean-Marie Tassoua, the top commander in Sassou-Nguesso’s Cobra militia. The day has not been determined.

Lissouba, who won the central African country’s first multiparty election in 1992, has fled to Burkina Faso.

Aid began arriving in this war-ravaged capital Tuesday, including a French medical team that will set up a 40-bed hospital. The French will work with a U.N. team that will evaluate humanitarian needs, said U.N. mission coordinator Eric Laroche.

An Angolan cargo plane delivered military equipment and fuel Tuesday, a sign of that government’s support for Sassou-Nguesso. Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos on Monday promised to help Sassou-Nguesso assume control over the country that he led as a military dictator from 1979-91.

Angola saw Sassou-Nguesso’s victory as a way to end Angolan rebels’ use of Lissouba to back their long-running guerrilla war.

Thousands of people died in the war between Sassou-Nguesso and Lissouba, which began June 5 when Lissouba tried to disarm the Cobras ahead of presidential elections that both men were planning to contest.

In the second-largest city, Pointe Noire, 16 foreigners _ 11 Russians, three French and two Belgians _ were being held on suspicion of aiding Lissouba. All denied involvement with Lissouba’s forces.

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