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Zairian rebels cut rail link to diamond-rich province

SHARE Zairian rebels cut rail link to diamond-rich province

Rebels have taken the town of Kamina, severing a vital rail supply route into Zaire's diamond-rich Kasai province, expatriate sources said on Monday.

The sources, in contact with Kamina until late Monday morning, said Laurent Kabila's rebel forces appeared to have headed down from the northeast, many of them by foot, and taken the town overnight."There was no battle for the city and no looting," said one source in Lubumbashi, the capital of Shaba province in the far southeast copperbelt and one of Kabila's next declared targets.

The news sent a shiver of apprehension through Lubumbashi, which remains calm in the face of fresh rebel advances.

Kamina is 400 miles northwest of Lubumbashi, 24 hours away by train along the line that runs up into Kasai province and down to Shaba, Zambia and South Africa.

A Belgian-South African consortium has been running the railway for two years, before which much-needed food and other supplies only reached Kasai in bulk by air.