The Guns of Kenge

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KINSHASA, Zaire: As Mobutu Sese Seko continued what many believe could be a permanent absence from Zaire, the battle for Kinshasa began in earnest. After taking three-quarters of Zaire with little or no resistance from demoralized government troops, Laurent Kabila's rebel forces are now locked in an unexpectedly bloody battle in Kenge, 120 miles east of the capital. Reportedly 300 people, including 100 civilians, have already been killed. Kinshasa's defense has reportedly been joined by Rwandan and Angolan mercenaries propping up Mobutu's tattered forces. Rebels also said French mercenaries were holding down Kinshasa's airport. Kabila remains determined as ever. "There is no cease-fire, so I don't see why we should mark time," he told Radio France Internationale on Wednesday. "The troops have to advance. Taking Kinshasa is a matter of course."