May 19, 1997 – News of the World this day. Rebel troops, loyal to General Laurent Kabila, took over the Zaire capital of Kinshasa, amid pockets of fighting and the swift exit of deposed leader Mobutu Sesé-Seyko, ending thirty-two years of power in the former Belgian colony of The Congo. Reports claimed the Mobutu had already left, first going to his Northern Zaire hometown of Gbadolite before flying to Morocco where the former dictator maintained a residence. Although Mobutu didn’t formally relinquish power, his absence and the exit of Mobutu loyalists, fleeing Kinshasa made it clearly evident the absolute rule of Mobutu Sesé-Seyko had come to an abrupt end. In the wake of Mobutu’s exit, rebel forces loyal to Kabila fanned out over the city in efforts to further establish full control, taking command of more strategic installations while trying to reassure citizens of their safety, following an orgy of killing after their arrival. More than 200 former Mobutu allies and government workers were killed during the takeover.
Meanwhile, further east and north, hundreds of thousands of people in the coastal section of Bangladesh were evacuating ahead of the coming Cyclone, sweeping in the from Bay of Bengal and poised to hit the coast at any moment.
The former Communist opposition won a decisive victory in Mongolia‘s Presidential elections in what was seen as a setback in Mongolia’s Market-Reform program.
All that, and a lot more via the BBC World Service program News Desk for May 18, 1997. A glimpse of what else was going on in the world on this day.