Great Lakes: IRIN Update 141 for 2 Apr 1997 97.4.2

Great Lakes: IRIN Update 141 for 2 Apr 1997 97.4.2

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

Tel: +254 2 622147
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IRIN Emergency Update No. 141 on the Great Lakes (Wednesday 2 April 1997)

* Repatriation of Rwandan refugees from eastern Zaire is on the increase. Five thousand returnees passed through the Gisenyi border between Zaire and Rwanda last week. About half of them are thought to originate from Ruhengeri and Gisenyi in northwestern Rwanda. Yesterday, 1,873 refugees repatriated through Goma with the assistance of UNHCR, 1,558 came from the approximately 20-30,000 strong group at Karuba (west of Sake), 319 from Tongo (west of the old Katale/Kahindo camps) and four others spontaneously repatriated. Plans from the UNHCR for the repatriation of the groups north of Ubundu - now over 500 kms from the Rwandan border - include the possibility of air and land transport.

* Talks between the government of Zaire and the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (ADFL) are set for Saturday, news agencies report. The eight-member government team will be led by President Mobutu Sese Seko's security advisor Honore Ngbanda Nzambo. Other members, according to Gabonese Africa No 1 radio yesterday and the Zairean press will include Foreign Minister Kamanda wa Kamanda, and representatives from the Transitional Parliament, the judiciary, the opposition and the military. The rebel team will be led by Bizima Karaha, AFP reports.

Andre Bo-Boliko Lokongo, first deputy speaker of the transitional parliament, and a representative of Zaire at the Lome summit said in a radio interview last week that rapid progress towards elections would be the way out of Zaire's crisis. "We want leaders who are elected by the people and not leaders who come to power in unusual ways", he told Gabonese Africa No 1 on 28 March.

* In briefings to the UN Security Council yesterday, senior UN officials indicated that a UN mission to monitor a ceasefire in Zaire could be mounted within 1-2 weeks of an agreement. Up to 100 liaison officers could be posted on both sides of the conflict. This could be the advance part of a full-scale mission of between 1,500-1,600 men and logistical support.

* Zaire's radical opposition umbrella group, USORAL, has chosen Etienne Tshisekedi as its candidate for Prime Minister at a meeting in Kinshasa yesterday, AFP reports. The ADFL have previously said that any nominee would be regarded as an "enemy". Today senior ADFL official Gaetan Kakudji said that Tshisekedi would be agreeing to "steer a ship we call Mobutu". The appointment requires approval from President Mobutu. Aides to Tshisekedi said today that he "accepted" the nomination. Tshisekedi has maintained that he is the "legal" Prime Minister since being dismissed by Mobutu in late 1992 and again in 1993. Opposition leader Justine Kasuvubu of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UPDS) will head a delegation to meet ADFL leaders in Goma later this week.

* In an interview in Zairean daily Le Soft, Zairean defence minister Likulia Bolongo announced yesterday plans to reform and enlarge the national army to a strength of 50,000. The minister said that "confusion, inconsistencies and political irrationality have put the army in an impossible situation", and admitted that the behaviour of certian elements of the army had been "reprehensible."

* An executive in charge of a huge mining concern near Kolwezi in southern Zaire has said that the company will be flying in drilling rigs and workers on April 18 despite ADFL rebels approaching the area. The Tenke-Fungurume Mining Corp is set to exploit copper and cobalt reserves and had planned to be in production in the year 2000.

* ADFL rebels "undoubtedly" committed massacres in the course of their six-month offensive, UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Roberto Garreton said today in Geneva. He mentioned a possible 40 incidents and recommended that an international investigation team be sent to eastern Zaire. Garreton visited Goma late last week and met with Zairean human rights activists outside the country.

* Diplomatic tensions are growing betwen Rwanda and Burundi. Radio Rwanda yesterday reported that Rwandan Foreign Minister Anastase Gasana had expressed the "disapproval" of the Rwandan government over the treatment of its embassy staff in Bujumbura. No further detrails were provided.

* Burundian army spokesman Isaie Nibizi told Reuters today that 57 people were killed at a marketplace in Rumonge last Thursday. Earlier reports from AFP had suggested 147 people were killed, but it is still unclear whether the dead were civilians or rebel soldiers. "They do not wear uniforms so it is difficult to say who they are", Nibizi told Reuters.

* Uganda's New Vision newspaper yesterday reported that the deputy leader of the West Nile Bank Front, "Brigadier" Abdallatif Tia is among 518 Ugandan rebels held in Yei, southern Sudan, by the the rebel Sudanese People's Liberation Army. Security sources told the New Vision today that 415 WNBF rebels, including 51 officers have either surrendered or been handed over to the Ugandan army since March 12. The New Vision also reported that clashes between Ugandan government forces and Allied Democratic Front (ADF) rebels in Kisinga sub-county, Kasese, western Uganda, left 13 rebels dead and eight captured.

* SPLA leader John Garang said yesterday that rebel forces had seized four districts in northeast Sudan. Combined rebel forces from northern and southern Sudan, grouped under the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition had taken Karora, Itairba, Agiti and Agigi last week, Reuters reports. The offensive is intended to cut the road link between Khartoum and Port Sudan on the Red Sea.

* Sudan's official spokesman accused relief agencies operating in the southern Equatoria region (bordering Uganda and Zaire) of providing weapons, food and clothing to the SPLA. He threatened that relief workers could become targets of government forces "unless they withdraw from the rebel controlled areas". Operation Lifeline Sudan, an umbrella group of NGOs and UN agencies working in Sudan since 1989. Its mandate, agreed with the Government of Sudan and rebel authorities, is to deliver humanitarian assistance to all civilians in need regardless of location. Information and Culture Minister Dr Al Tayeb Mohammed Karare said that aid agencies entering Sudan from Uganda had violated prior agreements. Recent military successes by the SPLA have opened up land routes for aid to southern Sudan delivered from Uganda.

Nairobi, 2 April 1997, 15:15 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: Wed, 2 Apr 1997 18:22:04 +0300 From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Update 141 for 2 Apr 1997 97.4.2 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.95.970402181507.5518E-ength: 7194

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

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