Great Lakes: IRIN Update 137 for 27 Mar 1997 97.3.27

Great Lakes: IRIN Update 137 for 27 Mar 1997 97.3.27

Department of Humanitarian Affairs
Integrated Regional Information Network
for the Great Lakes

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Fax: +254 2 622129

IRIN Emergency Update No. 137 on the Great Lakes (Wednesday 27 March 1997)

* UNHCR appealed again yesterday for the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Zaire (ADFL) to allow safe passage to refugees in eastern Zaire. The UNHCR statement said that Rwandan soldiers and extremists were no longer with the group at Lula, 7 kms south of Kisangani. Local officials told a UN mission to Ubundu earlier in the week that the larger group at Kilometre 82 were also de-militarized. UN High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata said "they are malnourished, traumatized and stricken with diseases. They have told us that they want to end their agony and return to Rwanda". Ogata visited South Africa yesterday for discussions with South African officials and talks on the Great Lakes region. Refugees also told UNHCR that the armed men were now heading further west. Refugees International yesterday called for an air evacuation of vulnerable refugees and the provision of river transport so that UNHCR can transport refugees back to the east side of the Zaire river.

The first rail delivery of relief supplies from Kisangani towards Ubundu since rebels took control of the city left today. Large groups of refugees were found walking on the railway line, starting from about 25 kms outside Kisangani.

* Humanitarian needs have increased in southern Sudan as a result of the return of tens of thousands of Sudanese people from refugee camps in Uganda and the displacement of thousands within Sudan. Operation Lifeline Sudan in a statement yesterday said that road access to Yei district from Uganda was now possible, as the Sudan People's Liberation Army had captured the border towns of Yei, Kaya and Morobo in recent weeks. The UN has also requested flight clearance to deliver relief items by air to Yei, and in the meantime is delivering supplies by air to Yambio, from where goods are transported by road.

* Zairean radio Voix du Zaire reported on Tuesday that Congolese Prime Minister David Ganao met Zairean President Mobutu Sese Seko and conveyed a message of support from Congolese President Pascal Lissouba. "President Lissouba supports Zaire and supports President Mobutu", Ganao said.

* The first meeting between representatives of the Zairean government and the ADFL took place in Lome yesterday evening. Also present were the Secretaries-General of the UN and OAU, their Special Representative, Mohamed Sahnoun and the President of Togo, Gnassingbe Eyadema. The four Zairean representatives - two from each side - were photographed shaking hands. Both sides had also made presentations to a closed session of the summit earlier in the day. More talks were expected today, and one of the rebel representatives, Bizima Karaha, said that negotiations may start, possibly in South Africa or Togo "in the next few days". ADFL representative Gaetan Kakudji told Reuters "it is in his [Mobutu's] interests to negotiate his own departure."

* The main OAU summit closed yesterday and adopted a 15-point resolution which called for "immediate negotiations between the government of Zaire and the ADFL with the aim of achieving a ceasefire and a complete cessation of hostilities." UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that in addition to the five-point peace plan framework, which both the OAU and the UN Security Council have endorsed, human rights issues should remain "at the forefront". "Atrocities should be investigated", Annan is reported as saying. UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Zaire, Roberto Garreton, was expected in Goma today to conduct a preliminary investigation.

ADFL radio reported yesterday that leader Laurent-Desire Kabila, whom it designated as General, "is ready to deal with any representative accredited by the government of Kinshasa in order to arrive at a ceasefire."

Rwandan Vice-President Paul Kagame was reported as saying in an interview with Belgian magazine, Humo, "I hope the rebels will succeed in their plan because Kabila does the right thing as far as I'm concerned... I don't like the current Zairean rulers".

* President Daniel arap Moi of Kenya has handed over the chirmanship of the "Nairobi" diplomatic initiative to the UN and the OAU, the Kenyan News Agency reported yesterday. A brief five-nation "Nairobi III" summit took place in Lome on Tuesday at which Moi urged both sides in Zaire to accept the five-point peace plan unconditionally. The development appears to merge OAU and regional diplomatic initiatives. The Nairobi summits had created a "committee of four" - Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Tanzania to pursue a resolution of the crisis in Zaire.

* Preliminary reports from humanitarian sources indicate that displaced Zaireans are returning to Uvira from Kalemie by boat and also small numbers of Zaireans around Kigoma, Tanzania, are making their way home. Refugees (probably Burundians) around Uvira are also reported to be emerging in search of relief assistance. ICRC has established a "poste de secours" at Kalundu port in Uvira.

* FAO reports that agricultural inputs needed for the "B" cropping season in Rwanda have reached 34% of the target. The cutoff date for the supply of fertilizer, tools and seeds is set at March 31.

* ADFL forces have handed over 119 Ugandan West Nile Bank Front (WNBF) rebels to the Ugandan armed forces, the state-owned New Vision reported yesterday. WNBF forces have been caught between SPLA and ADFL troops overunning their bases in Sudan and Zaire, which were used to launch for attacks inside Uganda. Leader Juma Oris has most recently been reported in Juba, after being wounded in battle.

An ambush by Lord's Resistance Army rebels left two dead and three injured on a road leading to Kitgum on Wednesday, the New Vision reports, quoting a Ugandan army spokesman.

Another group of Ugandan rebels, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), are reported to have clashed with the ADFL inside eastern Zaire at Mwimbiri, east of Uganda's Kasese region, according to the New Vision today.

Hundreds of truck drivers are stranded at the Kenya-Uganda Maraba border post, because Kenyan officials refused to accept travel documents issued by the ADFL administration within eastern Zaire. The Kenyan officials, the New Vision says, demanded documentation from the Zairean embassy in Uganda. The embassy was briefly overrun by ADFL supporters earlier this week, and Ugandan police confiscated a flag of the ADFL mounted at the embassy.

* A defence lawyer at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda denied that the defence of Georges Rutaganda would be based on a allegation that the Rwandan Patriotic Army was responsible for the genocide of Tutsis in 1994. Advocate Tiphaine Dickson told IRIN today that an article to that effect in Monday's East African was mistaken. She said that Rutaganda, a former vice-president of the Interahamwe, was more a businessman than a politician. Membership of the Interahamwe could not be taken as proof of guilt, she said.

* Heavy rain in Dar es Salaam Tanzania has caused four days of flooding, blocking roads and washing away slum dwellings. City Commssion chairman, Charles Keenja told AFP slums built in valleys were blocking the flow of water into the ocean, and that forcible eviction of slum dwellers was planned.

* The US Army has sent two mobile training teams to assist humanitarian information efforts in Rwanda. The objective of the training is to assist the Government of Rwanda to provide for the "reintegration and reconciliation of recently repatriated Rwandan refugees." The US Army teams, according to a US Information Service press release dated 25 March, will teach the Rwandan military technical procedures of how to plan, develop and execute public information campaigns.

Nairobi, 27 March 1997, 14:20 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. Quotations or extracts from this report should include attribution to the original sources mentioned, not simply "DHA".]

Date: Thu, 27 Mar 1997 17:23:54 +0300 From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Update 137 for 27 Mar 1997 97.3.27 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.95.970327171945.3140A-ength: 8505

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

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