Conflict in Zaire appeared to be intensifying yesterday as Zambia accused Zaire of bombin a Zambian hospital and village, Moroccans troops reportedly prepared an offensive against rebels in Zaire's troubled province of Shaba, and Angola expressed fears that Zaire's forces might invade Angola.
A government spokesman in the Zambian capital of Lusaka said villages and a hospital in a strip of Zambia that borders Zaire and Angola were bombed by planes from Zaire. He said two plans bombed the village of Shingamfunjil, Langango on Saturday and the Kaleni Hill Mission Hospital on Monday, injuring several persons.
The spokesman said President Kenneth Kuanda has informed Zaire's President Moburu Sese Seko of the incidents.
Western diplomatic sources in Kinshass, the capital of Zaire, reported that Moroccans troops near Kolwezi in the center of Zaire's cooper belt are preparing for a major offensive against the rebel forces in Shaba, formerly known as Katanga.
"We've heard the troops are being trouped around Kolwezi and that within a week or so they will join Zairean soldiers in a concentrated move westward toward the Angoland border to confront the invaders," one source said.
Diplomatic sources said about half of the 1,500 Moroccan troops airlifted to Zaire with French help had reached Kolwezi, about 220 miles from the Angolan border. Kinshas officials say Morocco has promised to send a second contingent of 1,500 troops to aid in quelling the invasion by former Katangans who crossed into Zaire from Angola on March 7.
French [WORD ILLEGIBLE] in Kolwezi believe the rebels are regrouping to attack transport and power installations north of the mining town in order to cut off its supplies and communications and avoid confrontation with the Moroccans. Aerial reconnaissance has shown the Katangans are reinforcing their units in Mutshatsha, between Kolwezi and the Angolan border, and infiltrating the area north of Kolwezi.
Angola repeatedly has denied any involvement in the fighting in Shaba. In Paris, Angola's Foreign Minister Paolo Jorge warned that Zairean government forces, backed by the United States and France, might strike across the border into his country.
Neither Zaire nor the United States can accept the recent defeat that has been inflicted on the Zairean armed forces," Jorge told a press conference. "Therefore we do not rule out the possibility of a new aggression against us."
Jorge said the "insurrection" in Zaire had been launched by former Katangan police who had served with Portuguess colonial units in Angola and now had returned to Zaire.
Military authorities in Zaire banned foreign reporters from Kolwezi, saying that one report by a British Broadcasting Corporation correspondent had revealed government troop movements and was "more espionage that journalism."
If Moroccan and Zairean troops mount a drive from the mining town against the rebels, observers said it would lead to the most intensive fighting since the invaders crossed into the province from Angola. In the early days of the invasion, the rebels captured a number of border towns with little resistance.
Reporters who left Kolwezi, 825 miles southeast of Kinshasa, said the Moroccans who had been flown into the area appeared to be familiarizing themselves with the terrain and stockpiling war materials in preparation Zambia charges Zaire bombed villages in the border district of Mwinilunga. for the anticipated campaign against an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 well-supplied rebels.
About 500 Moroccans were in Lubumbashi, 150 miles to the east, where they were handling the airlift of food and military supplies to Kolwezi.
The rebel drive into Shaba has halted from 30 to 50 miles west of Kolwezi and Western sources said that since the Moroccans' arrival it would be nearly impossible for the rebels to take the town.
Zaire has received support in the conflict from several nations. France airlifted the troops from Morocco, Belgium furnished weapons, and delegations from the Sudan and Egypt came to Kishasa to discuss possible military aid.
The United States promised on Tuesday to supply $13 million in "nonlethal" military aid, but rejected Zaire's request for arms and ammunition. The aid will include a C-130 cargo plane, radio equipment, and spare parts.
Zairean officials said support also has been pledged by the Central African Republic, Chad and Iran.