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Congo: Mobutu’s Body Can Be Returned

January 18, 2002

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) _ Congo’s president said Friday the body of dictator Mobutu Sese Seko would be repatriated from Morocco, where he fled after being overthrown in 1997.

President Joseph Kabila gave no date, but said his government had contacted members of Mobutu’s family so the former leader could have a ``dignified burial.″

Kabila’s father, Laurent, led a Rwandan-backed rebel army that swept across the nation and ended Mobutu’s 32-year reign in May 1997.

Mobutu died of prostate cancer in Morocco in September 1997. Laurent Kabila was assassinated on Jan. 16, 2001, by a bodyguard.

Joseph Kabila, who succeeded his father, said all former Congolese heads of state should be allowed a burial place in Congo and their immediate families should be cared for by the government.

He made the comments at the end of a three-day mourning period marking the year since his father’s death. On Thursday, officials in Kinshasa unveiled a 20-foot-high bronze statue of Laurent Kabila surrounded by a fountain and a garden.

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