Rather than seek to install a new leader in the capital, however, the Ugandans and Rwandans would this time be more likely to simply take control over the parts of Congo immediately across their borders. Either way, that's bad news for a president whose power was almost entirely borrowed from the neighbors.
Armed rebellion in the Congo may be a sign that the powerful neighbors who swept President Laurent Kabila to power 18 months ago have lost patience with him. The current conflict appears to stem from the fact that Kabila has been unable to thwart rebel guerrillas who've been operating from the Congo, says TIME correspondent Marguerite Michaels. Indeed, in April 1997 Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni told Michaels that if Kabila failed to stop rebels from crossing his borders to attack Rwanda and Uganda, "the regional alliance that brought Kabila to power would remove him just as easily." Now, says Michaels, the fighting "poses the question of whether Kabila's regional backers have turned on him."