US Troops Leave for Possible Zaire Evacuation

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Reuters

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Mar 23, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/23/97
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<I><A HREF='http://www.clari.net/'>ClariNet</A> <CLARI-ITEM TYPE>story</CLARI-ITEM> <B><CLARI-ITEM SLUGWORD>NEWS-ZAIRE</CLARI-ITEM></B> from <CLARI-ITEM FROM>Reuters</CLARI-ITEM></I><BR>
<H1><CLARI-ITEM HEADLINE>US Troops Leave for Possible Zaire Evacuation</CLARI-ITEM></H1>
<I><B><CLARI-ITEM COPYRIGHT>Copyright 1997 by Reuters</CLARI-ITEM></B></I> / <I><CLARI-ITEM DATE>Sun, 23 Mar 1997 4:11:31 PST</CLARI-ITEM></I><P>
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<P> AVIANO, Italy (Reuter) - The first contingent of U.S.
solidiers left Italy for Africa Sunday to prepare for a possible
American evacuation from Zaire.</P>
<P> The 27 servicemen, primarily from the Southern European Task
Force based in Vicenza, Italy, left from an air force base in
Aviano, air force Major Bryan Holt said.</P>
<P> He said more troops would be leaving from Aviano, north of
Vicenza, throughout the day. Most were headed for Brazzaville,
Congo.</P>
<P> Among those who left Sunday was army Major General Edwin
Smith, commander of the Southern European Task force and
commander of the joint task force for Operation Guardian
Retrieval.</P>
<P> Friday the U.S. Department of Defense directed the U.S.
European Command to deploy forces, consisting of several hundred
personnel, as part of contingency planning for a possible future
evacuation from Zaire.</P>
<P> The U.S. forces will join French troops and planes already in
nearby Gabon and Congo in case evacuations from strife-torn
Zaire become necessary. Belgium is also sending troops.</P>
<P> Zaire's long-time ruler President Mobutu Sese Seko, 66, is
ill with cancer and rebels led by Laurent Kabila have seized
about a fifth of the sprawling central African country.</P>
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