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DR Congo: 20th anniversary of Laurent Désiré Kabila's assassination

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Democratic Republic of Congo

It's been 20 years since the assassination of the Democratic Republic of Congo's former president Laurent-Désiré Kabila.

He was the leader of a rebellion that overthrew President Mobutu of Zaire in 1997 and restored the country's name.

But in 2001 he was shot dead by a bodyguard on January 16.

Dozens of soldiers were arrested and his son Joseph Kabila took over at the helm.

The anniversary comes as his assassins were recently freed by current President Félix Tshisekedi,

There has been much speculation about who gave the orders it has been suggested that foreign powers may have been involved, as several neighbouring countries were involved in the DRC conflict.

"Whoever killed Laurent Désiré, he doesn't like the Congo, because he at least was going to get the country out of the situation we've been going through for 52 years," said Jean-Raymond Muyumba, former federalist opponent and writer

The freeing of the soldiers comes in the midst of a political crisis between Tshisekedi and his predecessor, Kabila's son.

Though Laurent Kabila is seen as one of the symbols for the country's freedom and who followed in the footsteps of Patrice Lumumba, his four years in charge were marked by repression.

Kabila had promised elections but never delivered them and continued with the Mobutu strategy of handing free rein to his military, making the east of the country a warlords paradise.

"Mzee Laurent Désiré Kabila reminds us of many things in the whole country, he reminds me of a certain freedom and is among the presidents that we were looking for something in this country, he had good ambitions but he could not achieve them," said student Bradieu.