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IRIN Emergency Update No. 110 on the Great Lakes for 27 February 1997
* Laurent-Desire Kabila, leader of the rebel Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (ADFL), held talks with South African President Mandela today according to press reports. Rebel sources have said Kabila will not meet with Zairean President Mobutu Sese Seko's officials in South Africa, but insists on one-to-one talks with Mobutu. President Mobutu, who is in France, says he will not talk to the rebels.
* Reports of fighting and looting in and around Kindu continue. The Zairean Ministry of Defence has admitted there is fighting around the garrison town, but claim today that government troops had pushed back rebels and reached the strategically important Elila bridge about 50 kilometres east of Kindu. The Ministry of Defence said there had been "violent exchanges" with the rebels at Moyengo, about 40 kilometres south of Kindu, reports AFP. According to one well-informed source in the region, the rebels intend to take Kindu to give Mobutu "an incentive" to negotiate.
* In Kinshasa, the defence ministry reported that Ugandan troops were massed in the northeast of the Upper Zaire region, around Mount-Bleu, Bunia and Mahagi, close to the Ugandan border. It said the Ugandan forces were equiped with tanks, heavy guns and rocket launchers.
* Kabila's forces "are moving in on Zaire's third largest city, Kisangani, and the Tingi-Tingi refugee camps", Rwandan state radio reported yesterday. Kabila, however, has previously given assurances that he will hold back his troops for humanitarian reasons from Tingi-Tingi and Kisangani.
* Seventeen heads of state in the Organisation of African Unity will meet on March 18-19 to discuss the war and refugee crisis in Zaire, OAU officials and foreign ministers said today in Tripoli. OAU spokesman Ibrahim Dagash said that the gathering would involve countries in the Central Organ (for conflict resolution) of the OAU and would probably meet in Lome, Togo (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Abuja, Nigeria are also being considered). Libiyan leader Colonel Kadhafi was expected to open the OAU meeting yesterday but inexplicably failed to turn up. OAU spokesman Ibrahim Dagash said the OAU had been told by the Libiyan government that Kadhafi would come for the closing session on Friday.
* The French government expressed hope yesterday that peace efforts led by Pretoria "will very soon achieve concrete results", reports AFP. Foreign spokesman Jacques Rummelhardt said there was urgent need to reach a truce and stop the fighting in eastern Zaire.
* Refugees International said in a statement yesterday that while peace talks were a "welcome first step" towards a solution in eastern Zaire, they were "not focused on the dire emergency at hand: the fate of hundreds of thousands of sick and starving displaced Zaireans and Rwandan and Burundian refugees". It said that reports of high mortality rates in Tingi-Tingi camps, fears of appropriation of food by Rwandan militia, and possible execution of refugees by Rwandan camp leaders, makes the outlook for refugees and the displaced in eastern Zaire "bleak". The statement also points out that the fate of some 25,000 refugees from Kalima (before, Shabunda) remains unknown. The refugees were in "very bad condition" before fleeing Kalima. Refugees Interational recommends that: donor governments express their support and provide every means necessary to evacuate vulnerable people from eastern Zaire by air; the government of Zaire permit humanitarian agencies to search by air and on the ground for refugees who fled into the forest; the international community support the UNHCR in every way possible to facilitate the rescue and repatriation of refugees near Kingulube.
* UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan accepted the resignations of the chief administrator and deputy prosecutor of the Rwandan genocide court, UN spokesman Juan-Carlos Brandt said yesterday. Chief administrator Andronico Adede of Kenya and deputy prosecutor Honore Rakotomanana of Madagascar submitted their resignations after meetings with Annan in New York. According to the spokesman, the Secretary-General concluded that "the continuation of the two officials of the Tribunal in their posts would not be in the interests of the United Nations and the work of the Tribunal". Annan has appointed Agwu Okali of Nigeria, who works in Nairobi for the UN agency HABITAT, as the new chief administrator, or registrar. Chief Prosecutor Louise Arbour of Canada was also summoned to New York last Friday for consultations with the Secretary-General. In a report released this month UN Inspector-General Karl Pashcke found unqualified staff, financial waste and mismanagement at all levels of the court.
* Cameroon's Court of Appeal freed six Rwandan war crimes suspects Wednesday stating that there was insufficient evidence to extradite them to the International UN Tribunal in Arusha. Officials said that the Court of Appeal had found that the accusations against the men were "not sufficiently grave" and that the evidence presented was "insufficient". The UN Tribunal had provided last minute evidence against two of the men, which had prolonged their stay in custody. The six men are among 13 people the Cameroon authorities arrested in 1996 in response to requests from the Rwandan government which had named them as taking part in the 1994 genocide.
* Most of the exiled Rwandans arrested by Kenyan police in a "swoop" this week have been freed, reports AFP. Among those picked up and held were former Rwanda prime minister Jean Kambanda, who held office April-July 1994. High profile Rwandan exiles campaigned this week on behalf of certain groups of Rwandans, releasing a statement claiming the swoop was aimed at "Hutus" - the swoop, however, targetted all Rwandans. Sources quoted in the press suggested the swoop could be linked to the recent arrival several hundred Hutu ex-FAR and other Rwandans from Tingi-Tingi camps in eastern Zaire. Police swoops against refugees and immigrants are commonplace in Kenya.
* Burundi radio reported on Wednesday that security forces carried out a search at Gisenyi displaced persons camp. The security sweep follows an attack in Kamenge, northern Bujumbura, on Monday night, which targetted a district secretary. Seven people, including his wife, were killed and an infant stabbed. A military source said that the search was carried out on the basis of intelligence provided by one of the assailants arrested on the night of the attack, and 18 more people have been arrested.
* At the opening of a two-day conference in Kampala on "the challenge of peace in northern Uganda", President Yoweri Museveni sent assurances that the government is willing to facilitate any genuine initiative to bring peace and an end to conflict. His remarks were relayed through a speech reacd for him by the prime minister, Kintu Musoke. In the speech, the president warned those "who seek assistance from Sudan to stop it for the well-being of their people and economic growth in northern Uganda", reports Ugandan state radio. On the same day, Ugandan radio broadcast an appeal from the Resident District Commission (RDC) from Kabarole district, Western Uganda, Dan Mugisha Mwesigye. Mwesigye appealed to rebels in southwestern Uganda to voluntarily surrender and "join the rest of the Ugandans in developing the country". The RDC said that no rebel would be punished if he surrendered. He also said that not all the rebels who attacked Kasese were Tabliqs - Ugandan Muslim Fundamentalists - and that the government was of "all people, including Moslems".
* Uganda has halted civilian flights to the northern town of Gulu. Civilian air operators said the ban had been in effect since Tuesday, reports AFP. Major General Salim Saleh, special presidential advisor to the north, said the government feared Sudan would bomb the north. Gulu is the heart of an insurgency by Christian fundamentalist rebels. The Ugandan government accused Sudan of bombing the nrothern town of Moyo on February 13; Sudan denied it.
* The Pan-African Conference on Peace, Gender and Development begins on Saturday in Kigali, Rwanda. The conference is organised under the auspices of the OAU, ECA, various UN agencies and the Netherlands government. The conference was conceived by the coalition of Rwandan women, the Government and civil society represented by Pro-Femmes/Twese Hamwe, the National Advisory Board on Women and the Ministry of Family and Promotion of Women.
Nairobi, 27 February 1997 14:10 GMT [ENDS]
[Via the UN DHA Integrated Regional Information Network. The material contained in this communication may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. UN DHA IRIN Tel: +254 2 622123 Fax: +254 2 622129 e-mail: email@example.com for more information. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer.]
Date: Thu, 27 Feb 1997 19:35:10 +0300 From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Update 110 for 27 Feb 1997 97.2.27 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.95.970227193431.9917Kemail@example.com>
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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