STATEMENT BY SADC SECRETARIAT
15 January 2000
It was with profound sadness that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) received the news of the sudden death of the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Laurent Kabila.
The DRC Information Minister, Mr Dominique Sakombi, announced President Kabila's death last night. President Kabila was shot and wounded on Tuesday by one of his bodyguards in his Hilltop residence near downtown Kinshasa. The SADC Secretariat condemns this violent and barbaric act which does not auger well for the process of bringing peace and stability to the DRC. This assassination also flies in the face of the principles of democracy and the rule of law to which the SADC region strictly adheres.
President Kabila's untimely death is indeed a sad and unfortunate development for the SADC region in particular, Africa and the whole world in general. Under the leadership of President Kabila, the DRC joined SADC in 1997 and since then it has contributed to regional cooperation and integration issues in our region. President Kabila was one of the key players in the DRC peace process and his death is a major setback to efforts to bring peace to the DRC.
The SADC Secretariat would like to extend heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathies to the family of President Kabila, the Government and the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo on this tragic loss.
We are hopeful that the people of the DRC would seize this moment to intensify the search for a lasting and democratic solution to the situation in their country. It is our hope that this dark chapter in the history of DRC will soon be behind us.
19 January, 2000