June 9, 1997 in Nation/World

Private Militia Gains Upper Hand In Congo

Compiled From Wire Services

Foreigners fleeing fighting in the Republic of the Congo said Sunday that a private militia has gained the upper hand after four days of street clashes with government forces.

What began Thursday as an attempt by government forces to disarm members of a 5,000-strong private militia has evolved into anarchy and a full-scale battle for control of the capital, Brazzaville, witnesses said.

Fighting and looting raged Sunday as the militia loyal to former leader Gen. Denis Sassou-Nguesso seized radio and television stations in the capital and expanded its control to the city center from its strongholds in the northern districts of the capital.

At least one French soldier and two government soldiers have died in the violence.

The clashes also forced the U.S. Embassy to suspend attempts early Sunday to rescue American citizens.

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email