UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
U N I T E D N A T I O N S Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Integrated Regional Information Network for Central and Eastern Africa
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Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN-CEA Weekly Round-up 1 covering the period 1-7 January 2000
GREAT LAKES: Open Security Council debate on DRC scheduled GREAT LAKES: Annan appointee to focus on Burundi crisis DRC: Gloomy prospects for peace this year - EIU DRC: Djugu currently calm, humanitarian needs remain DRC: MSF aims for demonstrable neutrality in Ituri district DRC: Kabila holds talks with selected opposition leaders DRC: Tshisekedi rejects talks outside Lusaka framework DRC: Bemba claims successes in Equateur fighting RWANDA: Speaker of Parliament resigns RWANDA: 20-year economic plan sets ambitious targets RWANDA: Ministry claims quicker trial rate in genocide cases BURUNDI: Amnesty accuses army and rebels of massacres BURUNDI: Army tries to dislodge rebels from southeast BURUNDI: Minister regrets linkage of genocide tribunal and Arusha UGANDA: Army investigating ADF weapons replenishment CAR: Flood victims facing "precarious conditions" SOMALIA: Aid worker killed SOMALIA: Puntland lifts ban on UN international workers SOMALIA: Severe food insecurity in parts of southern Somalia ETHIOPIA-SOMALIA: Ethiopia using Somaliland port of Berbera ETHIOPIA-ERITREA: "Technical Arrangements" still unacceptable to Ethiopia ERITREA-SUDAN: Eritrea, Sudan restore diplomatic ties
GREAT LAKES: Open Security Council debate on DRC scheduled
Prominent regional leaders will join senior western diplomats to discuss means of consolidating the Lusaka peace process on the DRC at a week-long open meeting of the UN Security Council from 24 to 28 January, UN officials stated on Thursday. US Ambassador to the UN and this month's Security Council President, Richard Holbrooke, said DRC President Laurent-Desire Kabila had agreed to attend the meeting, along with other regional leaders, at which the intention was "to revitalise and recalibrate the Lusaka peace process and to help reinforce an African solution to an African problem," Agence-France Press (AFP) reported.
GREAT LAKES: Annan appointee to focus on Burundi crisis
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has appointed Berhanu Dinka as his Special Representative for the Great Lakes "to raise the profile of the UN within the international community's efforts to address the deteriorating situation in Burundi," a UN press release stated on Tuesday. Dinka would also represent Annan at the Burundi peace talks in Arusha and address "regional dimensions of the conflict in the DRC" through "close interaction" with Kamel Morjane, Annan's Special Representative to the DRC, the statement said.
DRC: Gloomy prospects for peace this year - EIU
"There is little prospect of a conclusive end to the conflict in the DRC" in the next 12 months, with indications being that many of the combatants find prolonging the war preferable to peace, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has gloomily predicted in a report on the DRC's prospects for 2000. "Under such conditions, the prospects for a successful UN peacekeeping operation are less than auspicious," it stated. Nonetheless, the report added, the Lusaka peace process had exposed the weaknesses of the various parties, such that it was more likely they would "begin to move towards gradual disengagement." Given its weary allies - Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia - and "a hostile domestic population among whom it no longer has real legitimacy or support," the Kabila government would "continue to drag its hells on implementation of the peace process, including political liberalisation, which it correctly perceives is a direct threat to its own survival," the EIU predicted.
DRC: Djugu currently calm, humanitarian needs remain
The situation in the Djugu area of Ituri District, northeastern DRC, where sporadic conflict between the pastoralist Hema and agriculturalist Lendu groups escalated in mid-December, was relatively peaceful at present, a humanitarian official in the region told IRIN on Thursday. "The situation is currently calmer, except for sporadic attacks in villages," and that may allow current pacification efforts to bear fruit, said Philip Spoerri, head of delegation for eastern DRC of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Meanwhile, the territorial administration commission of the rebel RCD-Mouvement de liberation (RCD-ML) has claimed to have facilitated the preparation of a draft treaty aimed at returning peace and security to Djugu. In a "working document" launched in Bunia, Hema and Lendu representatives had called for a mutual pardon of the wrongs done to the others' community and set out the basis for a cessation of hostilities, a press release from the RCD-ML stated. DRC: MSF aims for demonstrable neutrality in Ituri district
The health relief agency MSF has dispatched an extra team to the region north of Bunia, a statement from the organisation said on Thursday. "Scores of adults and children with machete wounds are being treated at the various hospitals in the region, and the violence is not likely to come to an end soon," it said. In response to accusations that it and other organisations had not been neutral in the conflict, MSF would base one team in Bunia, which has a predominantly Hema population, and another in either Rethy or Mahagi, which have a predominantly Lendu population, MSF added.
DRC: Kabila holds talks with selected opposition leaders
President Kabila has met leaders of the unarmed opposition - political, religious and professional - for talks for the first time since he seized power in May 1997, Agence France Press (AFP) reported on Tuesday. Some 50 politicians, including Likulia Bolongo, the last prime minister of ousted dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, attended the Kinshasa talks. Top opposition figures that boycotted Kabila's invitation included Etienne Tshisekedi, leader of the Union for Democracy and Social Forces, and Joseph Olenghakoy of the Innovative Forces for Union and Solidarity.
DRC: Tshisekedi rejects talks outside Lusaka framework
Tshisekedi stated in South Africa this week that the inter-Congolese negotiations provided for in the Lusaka peace agreement were the only basis for resolving the Congolese question, and that he would not participate in political talks that were not held under the auspices of the Lusaka accord. Second vice-president of the rebel Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD) Moise Nyarugabo said on Monday that his movement was waiting for the facilitator of the inter-Congolese negotiations, former Botswana President Ketumile Masire, to set up "a timetable of consultations" in either Mauritius, Ethiopia, South Africa or Botswana. The foreign ministry of Botswana on Tuesday confirmed to IRIN that Masire, nominated as facilitator of the DRC political negotiations, had indeed accepted the position.
DRC: Bemba claims successes in Equateur fighting
The rebel Mouvement de liberation du congo (MLC) claimed to have killed at least 210 government soldiers in renewed fighting in Equateur Province on the northwestern front on Wednesday, Reuters reported. MLC leader Jean-Pierre Bemba said 150 soldiers of the Forces Armees Congolaises (FAC) had been killed when the MLC repelled a government attack on the rebel-held fishing village of Kuka, and another 60 in an ambush on the Congo River at Libanda, Reuters said. Meanwhile, a military source in DRC told IRIN on Tuesday that operations at Ikela - where government allied troops are still besieged by RCD rebels, despite a reported JMC-brokered deal to have supplies delivered to them - seemed to be "coming to a head", and that there may be an outcome "one way or another" in days rather than weeks.
RWANDA: Speaker of Parliament resigns
Speaker of Parliament Joseph Kabuye Sebarenzi resigned suddenly on Thursday, apparently to avoid a campaign to remove him from his post for mismanagement and abuse of office, Reuters reported. Member of parliament Tito Rutaremara, who was one of some 85 percent of deputies who had demanded Sebarenzi's resignation, said the Speaker had "made a lot of mistakes." Among these were "dictatorial rule, working against parliamentary rules and basic law, and interpreting laws though he was not entitled to do so," the BBC Kirundi/Kinyarwanda service quoted Rutaremara as saying.
RWANDA: 20-year economic plan sets ambitious targets
The ruling Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) has released a 20-year development plan aimed at increasing per capita income from US $250 to US $5,000 by the year 2020, RNA reported on Friday. It is also aimed to reduce the number of people below the poverty line from 50 percent to below 20 percent, push for the elimination of famine, increase agricultural productivity and diversification, and increase specialisation on high-value crop and animal production.
RWANDA: Ministry claims quicker trial rate in genocide cases
Justice Minister Jean de Dieu Mucyo announced on Wednesday that the judicial system had settled some 2,500 genocide cases in 1999, compared to a total of just 1,200 in 1997 and 1998, Rwanda News Agency (RNA) reported. The Gacaca system of participatory justice would speed the process further when it began functioning, probably in April this year, after the necessary laws had been passed, RNA quoted de Dieu Mucyo as saying.
BURUNDI: Amnesty accuses army and rebels of massacres
At least 43 people were killed by members of the armed forces on 31 December 1999 in Kabezi commune, Bujumbura Rural, which has been the scene of sustained conflict for the past few months, the human rights watchdog Amnesty International claimed on Thursday. Forty-three bodies had so far been found in three locations, and the killings appeared to have been a reprisal for an ambush at Gakungwe-Ramba on 28 December in which two soldiers were killed, Amnesty said. The human rights body said the government must "publicly acknowledge the killings" and ensure that those responsible were brought to justice. It also reported an ambush on a minibus near Nyamugari on Tuesday, in which all the passengers were reported to have been killed, and said "the incident appears consistent with numerous attacks on vehicles in the vicinity attributed to armed opposition groups."
BURUNDI: Army tries to dislodge rebels from southeast
Since the start of the new year, clashes have taken place between government and rebel forces across a broad front, the Burundi 'Azania' news agency reported on Wednesday. Quoting a military source, the agency said the army had begun an offensive aimed at "cleansing" Gisuru, Kinyinya, Giharo and Nyabitsinda communes of rebel elements. Giharo commune was particularly affected in its northern and eastern areas, the report said.
BURUNDI: Minister regrets linkage of genocide tribunal and Arusha
Justice Minister Terence Sinunguruza said on Thursday that while Burundi repeatedly raised the issue of establishing an international criminal tribunal for the country, others had regrettably linked it continually to progress at the Arusha peace talks. "Unfortunately it happens that some people want to link it to the Arusha process," which was why the UN was not ready to give attention to such a tribunal before finalisation of an Arusha accord, Sinunguruza said on Burundi radio.
UGANDA: Army investigating ADF weapons replenishment
The Ugandan army was investigating the source of new weaponry that has spurred 14 ADF attacks in Bundibugyo, Kabarole and Kasese districts since the 9 December raid on Katojo Prison near Fort Portal, news organisations reported. Humanitarian sources have said that while the rebels had previously used mostly machetes and knives, all now used guns.
CAR: Flood victims facing "precarious conditions" The government of the
Central African Republic needed more than US $2 million for its National Emergency Plan to meet the needs of some 20,000 flood victims in Bangui and other provinces, UN OCHA has stated in its latest report. OCHA said nearly 14,000 people were living in "precarious conditions" and thousands of hectares of cultivated land had been destroyed. "Persistent rains, stagnant water and overall precarious hygienic conditions expose the victims to health risks," it added.
SOMALIA: Aid worker killed
A CARE International employee, engineer Sueb Mohamed Hussein was shot dead on Sunday in Balad, several kilometres north of Mogadishu on his way to assess food-for-work projects in the middle Shabelle region, CARE spokesperson Wendy Driscoll told IRIN on Thursday. CARE was sure the incident was bad luck and not a direct attack on it, she added. Meanwhile, militiamen believed to be of the Geledleh clan ambushed a 30-truck Red Cross convoy carrying 300 mt of food on Tuesday, looting three trucks before they were repulsed, Reuters reported. Two were later recovered with the help of reinforcements sent from nearby Bardera town, it added. This was the third attack on relief workers or vehicles in a week, coming after the murder of Hussein on Sunday and the wounding of three security guards in an attack on a 13-truck CARE food convoy the same day, Reuters reported.
SOMALIA: Puntland lifts ban on UN international workers
The Puntland administration in northeastern Somalia has withdrawn the expulsion of three UN international staff from the area issued in early December. This followed negotiations between UN officials in the region and the administration, an official from UNDP-Somalia confirmed to IRIN on Thursday. The ban had been lifted on one of the workers only a week after it was imposed.
SOMALIA: Severe food insecurity in parts of southern Somalia
The inter-agency Food Security Assessment Unit (FSAU) has reported that the current Deyr season has been unusual in the late arrival of significant rains in most areas. Where rains arrived late and failed to continue much into December, low crop yields and production can be expected at the harvest in January/February 2000. The most vulnerable groups in southern Somalia are the agro-pastoralists of Bakool, Gedo, Bay and Hiraan - as opposed to the pastoral and riverine groups in those regions, the report said.
ETHIOPIA-SOMALIA: Ethiopia using Somaliland port of Berbera
Ethiopia's transport ministry has confirmed that the port of Berbera in Somaliland has been successfully opened to Ethiopian traffic. A weekly Amharic newspaper 'Efoyta' quoted the country's vice-minister for transport and communications, Ayenew Bitewligne, as saying a total of 30,000 mt of relief food has so far been transported to Ethiopia via the port. Ayenew said Denmark was assisting efforts to renovate and upgrade the road from the Ethiopian border to Berbera. Reuters reported that Ethiopia also planned to use Port Sudan in the future.
ETHIOPIA-ERITREA: "Technical Arrangements" still unacceptable to Ethiopia
Although the two neighbours Ethiopia and Eritrea maintain that they support the 11-point Framework Agreement endorsed by the Organisation of African Unity's (OAU) heads of state summit in Burkina Faso in June 1998 and the modalities for its implementation endorsed in Algiers during the 35th Summit of the OAU, Ethiopia finds the Technical Arrangements deficient "on a number of counts", a spokesman told IRIN on Wednesday. The Ethiopian consul in Nairobi, Mengistu Ayalew, told IRIN that the return to the "status quo ante" was not "fully guaranteed" in the arrangements, hence they were "unacceptable to Ethiopia".
Ayalew said the Technical Arrangements document is silent on the "specific areas" to be evacuated by Eritrea. It also calls for the setting up of a peacekeeping mission under the UN. "This is contrary to the mandate that is clearly stipulated in the Framework Agreement and agreed to, which recommends the deployment of a group of military observers by the OAU with the support of the UN," he said. Eritrea, for its part, says it is in agreement with the Framework Agreement, modalities and the Technical Arrangements.
ERITREA-SUDAN: Eritrea, Sudan restore diplomatic ties
Eritrea and Sudan on Monday signed a joint communique to restore diplomatic relations and reopen border crossing points between the two countries, the Eritrean News Agency (ERINA) reported. It said that, in accordance with the Doha Agreement of May 1999, the two countries had agreed to proceed with the normalisation of relations and hold a meeting of a joint ministerial committee from both nations in Asmara later this month to look into issues such as reopening of the border. The Sudanese embassy in Asmara, which had been occupied by the opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA), was reportedly handed over to the Sudan government on Tuesday. Eritrea and Sudan severed diplomatic ties in 1994.
Nairobi, 7 January 2000, 15:30 gmt
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Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 1999
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Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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