Great Lakes: IRIN Update 118, 03/05/97

Great Lakes: IRIN Update 118, 03/05/97

Department of Humanitarian Affairs
Integrated Regional Information Network

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Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Update 118 for 5 Mar 1997 97.3.5

(IRIN erroneously reported - on the basis of information given by Kinshasa - that the Governor of Kisangani had flown to Kinshasa. We apologise to our readers for this error in update 117)

* The government of Zaire called today for the urgent implementation of a UN peace plan calling for a ceasefire and the withdrawal of foreign forces from its soil. A government statement in Kinshasa urged the United Nations to immediately send in international monitors to oversee the withdrawal of foreign troops. The statement followed an announcment in Paris by Zaire's Foreign Minister Gerard Kamanda Wa Kamanda that President Mobutu Sese Seko and the Zairean government had accepted a peace plan proposed by Mohamed Sahnoun, Joint OAU/UN Special Representative for the Great Lakes Region.

The peace plan was endorsed by the United Nations Security Council on February 18 (see IRIN Update 104). The five points call for:

o immediate cessation of hostilities o withdrawal of all external forces, including mercenaries o reaffirmation of respect for the national sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Zaire and other states of the Great Lakes region o protection and security for all refugees and displaced persons and facilitation of access for humanitarian assistance o rapid and peaceful settlement of the crisis through dialogue, the electoral process and the convening of an international conference of peace, security and development in the Great Lakes region

* The Regional Humanitarian Coordinators Office (RHCO) in Nairobi reports only 9 UN staff are affected by the expulsion order in Zaire, out of the 19 who were evacuated from Kisangani to Kinshasa on Saturday, March 1. According to RHCO, the government order affects UN staff who were based in Kisangani and not those who were on temporary mission. Earlier reports from Kinshasa that three international staff had already left by barge were proved unfounded. International staff affected are preparing to leave. Two NGO members potentially affected by the expulsion statement from the Zairean government said today their organisations had received no direct order to leave.

* Humanitarian sources report that some local staff left in Kisangani have resigned from international organisations over the last few days because they feel "vulnerable to be associated with the UN".

* A government statement broadcast by Zairean state radio said that 25,000 civilians have been murdered since the rebel Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (ADFL) took over Tingi-Tingi camps in eastern Zaire. According to the government statement, broadcast yesterday, the "precipitous departure of these humanitarian workers from the Tingi-Tingi camp and the town of considered by the government to be directly responsible for the slaughter which took place in less than 48 hours". There has been no independent confirmation of this.

* UNICEF is "extremely concerned" about some 600 children who were on therapeutic feeding before Tingi-Tingi camps dispersed, and another 2,500 on supplementary feeding. Journalists reported on Monday refugees heading towards Kisangani, some 150 kilometers west of the provincial capital - but said the leaders of the column were the fittest. Pictures of refugees on the road show them with swollen feet and in poor condition.

* Quoting a regional military source - who has provided accurate information on rebel movements to date - Reuters says that the ADFL are beseiging Kisangani on three fronts, and that the city could fall in days. The source said rebels were within range of Kisangani on two axis beyond the northern town of Bafwasende, and also advancing on the Lubutu-Kisangani road. The source said the rebels were also gaining ground in mineral-rich Shaba province, with recent gains in Kabolo and Manono - where the ADFL reportedly encounter little resistence.

* Defeated Zairean soldiers surrendered their weapons to rebels today in Kindu, as the ADFL began setting up a new administration, reports Reuters from Kindu. The capture of Kindu last week gives the rebels a key transport hub on the Zaire river and the northernmost working station on a rail line to South Africa. It also has a large airport.

* At least twenty people have died in two separate attacks in Rwanda since last week, report AFP. In the first attack, in Rushashi area near Kigali, ten people died and 21 were injured (see IRIN Update 116). A second attack took place on Sunday or Monday in the northwest region of Ruhengeri, aid officials said. Radio Rwanda did not report the two attacks but broadcast death notices that included one family losing four sons and another eight of its members.

* According to a report by the United Nations Human Rights Operation in Rwanda, the human rights situation in Rwanda has "drastically deteriorated" since the begining of January 1997 - following the repatriation of more than a million people, many of whom were believed to be directly involved in the 1994 genocide. In January, UNHRFOR received reports of the killings of at least 424 persons in 55 incidents; the report said it "represented the highest number of killings since the begining of 1996".

According to the report, the human rights situation is particularly bad in the four prefectures bordering Zaire. In January, of the 424 reported killings, 311 took place in the four prefectures bordering Zaire. Of the 311 killings, 228 were reported in the Ruhengeri Prefecture. According to UNHRFOR, the 424 victims included 78 returnees, 40 genocide survivors and their associates, 14 detainees, and 13 local officials. In January, at least 163 of the 424 killings were reported to be the responsibility of the state, including members of the RPA; 42 were attributed to members of the ex-FAR and militia. UNHRFOR said the deteriorating security situation had also been marked by number of fatal attacks against expatriates working in Rwanda, including the killing of five UNHRFOR staff members, and that human rights activities had been "drastically reduced". UNHRFOR said it had been unable to carry out full monitoring activities during the reporting period.

* The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, announced he had accepted with regret the resignation, effective March 15, of Jose Ayala-Lasso, High Commissioner for Human Rights. Mr Lasso is to become Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ecuador. The Secretary General said he had appointed ad interim and with immediate effect, Ralph Zacklin, Director of the Office of the Legal Counsel and Deputy to the Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, as Officer-in-Charge during the selection process for a new High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Nairobi, 5 March 1997, 19:35 GMT


[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: for more information. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer.]

Date: Wed, 5 Mar 1997 19:41:31 +0300 From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Update 118 for 5 Mar 1997 97.3.5 (fwd) Message-ID: <>

Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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