Great Lakes: IRIN Update 169, 5/12/97

Great Lakes: IRIN Update 169, 5/12/97

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

Tel: +254 2 622147
Fax: +254 2 622129

IRIN Emergency Update No.169 on the Great Lakes (Saturday 10 - Monday 12 May 1997)

* A surprise meeting between the Presidents of Sudan and Uganda, chaired by President Daniel arap Moi of Kenya agreed to start "a new era of cooperation". Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Hassan el Bashir of Sudan met in Eldoret, Kenya on Saturday. Among their agreements was a decision to release all military and civilian captives held on both sides, and a pledge to "cease accusations and counter-accusations". The Kenyan official media, describing the meeting as "historic", said that the two sides "appreciated the positive points" of the April 21 peace deal between the smaller southern Sudanese factions, and called on the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to include John Garang, leader of the "mainstream" Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) in the initiative, particularly for "other humanitarian problems". President Moi is currently the chairman of IGAD, which groups the Horn of Africa countries and said he would soon be convening a meeting of IGAD on peace in Sudan and the wider region.

Tension between the two countries have been running high, and negotiations brokered by Iran and Libya, among others, have not succeeded in restoring diplomatic relations severed in 1995.

* Zairean President Mobutu Sese Seko returned to Kinshasa from Libreville, Gabon on Saturday. Archbishop Laurent Monsengwo was elected as President of Zaire's Transitional Parliament (HCR-PT) on Saturday. However, in Brussels, the Archbishop said he "hadn't been contacted and hadn't asked" for the job. He announced that he would be returning to Kinshasa but that he was seeking "national and international guarantees" as well as approval from the Catholic Church for his possible role as parliamentary president.. Opposition MPs and a spokesman for opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi disputed the vote and rejected Monsengwo as a "Mobutist". Rebel foreign affairs spokesman Bizima Karaha said on Sunday that the rebel Alliance would have no dealings with Monsengwo, who arrived in Kinshasa via Brazzaville today while Zairean Foreign Minister Kamanda wa Kamanda announced on Togolese radio that "the missing link" in Zaire's political life has been restored.

* A spokesman for the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (ADFL) yesterday claimed that expatriates in Kinshasa could be killed in an attempt by anti-ADFL groups to trigger an intervention by the international forces based in Congo. European countries and the US had already urged their expatriates to leave Zaire if their presence is not absolutely essential. Several countries re-iterated the advice at the weekend, including Belgium, which has an estimated 2,700 nationals in Zaire. US Envoy Bill Richardson said on Sunday there are "good vibrations" from the ongoing peace process which is expected to produce another meeting between Mobutu and Kabila on board a South African naval vessel on Wednesday. Rebel information spokesman Bizima Karaha told Reuters today that Wednesday's meeting "will be the second and last one".

* A train carrying 46 MTs of food and non-food aid reached Obilo, 82 kms south of Kisangani on Saturday. Access to the 5-6,000 sick and hungry refugees at the site had been impossible until talks between UN, ADFL and Rwandan officials on Friday agreed the trip. Several aid workers accompanied the train, which brought back 468 refugees (361 of whom were unaccompanied minors) back to Kisangani for repatriation by air to Rwanda. 1,936 refugees were flown to Rwanda on Sunday. Similar numbers were moved on Friday and Saturday, bringing the total repatriated by air since April 27 to 18,614. The condition of refugees at Biaro remains critical, with around 40 deaths being reported every day. More communcal kitchens are being set up.

* Reports say fighting in Zaire is heaviest to the west of Kenge, where the road to Kinshasa crosses the Wamba river. Rebel ADFL officials on Friday claimed to have captured prisoners of war during the fighting and to have 150 government troops in rebel hospitals. ADFL leader Kabila told AFP on Saturday his forces were holding back so as to avoid shedding "blood for no reason" in a battle for Kinshasa. While UNITA was accused of fighting ADFL rebels on behalf of Kinshasa, UNITA repeated allegations of Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) involvement on the Zairean rebels' side on Friday, claiming FAA forces are being airlifted into Lubumbashi via Saurimo in northeastern Angola. IPS reports from Luanda that various sources report a "massive buildup of Angolan army" at Dundo, in northeastern Angola. Press reports say the ADFL is suffering from a lack of fuel since Zambia sealed the rail link with southern Zaire in response to the nationalisation of the Zairean raliway company on May 5.

* The US State Department has criticized US companies rushing to make deals with Zairean rebels. Spokesman Nicholas Burns said on Friday that the recent delegation of 30 businessmen, organized by American Mineral Fields to Lubumbashi was "unwise". Some observers have commented on the "legitimization" that foreign investment gives Kabila ahead of any electoral mandate.

* The UN Joint Investigative Mission to Zaire will produce a report from information available to it, despite being blocked from entering eastern Zaire. The team of human rights investigators failed to secure full cooperation and security guarantees from the ADFL and pulled out of Kigali at the weekend. The team, in a statement issued on Friday stressed that the mission was meant to investigate "a number of the more serious and credible allegations with a view to ascertaining whether massacres have been carried out in a systematic and planned manner."

* Kenya's 'Sunday Nation' newspaper reports that the fifth regional Burundi sanctions committee meeting took place on Saturday in Kampala. The meeting of technical experts, from Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Rwanda, Uganda and the OAU made recommendations on how to implement the decisions of the fourth Arusha summit on Burundi. Foreign Ministers of the countries applying sanctions will decide on final application of the embargo, which has been significantly relaxed, but still blocks imports of fuel.

* AFP reported yesterday that 60 soldiers of the former Rwandan army (ex-FAR) have asked for asylum in the Central African Republic. They are currently in the Zairean border town of Zongo, just across the border from CAR capital Bangui. A report on RFI said today that 2,600 ex-FAR have arrived in Congo where they had been disarmed by Congolese troops. The Burundian army told Studio Ijambo radio today that it had killed 18 ex-FAR and Interahamwe soldiers as they headed for Rwanda via northwestern Burundi. Other ex-FAR soldiers have previously been reported in Angola, and even in southern Sudan.

* The Rwandan government has called a recent Amnesty International (AI) report on the progress of genocide trials in Rwanda "biased" and "uninformed". Radio Rwanda on 9 May announced that the Ministry of Justice had replied to AI's April 8 report. The rebuttal from the government acknowledges that "no country can claim to have the perfect system of justice", but says that Rwanda has made "tremendous progress" in building a "competent, impartial and independent judiciary." While appreciating the assistance of the international community, the Rwandan government statement said they could have done more with the resources "squandered" on the International Criminal Tribunal in Arusha. Over 100,000 people are currently held in Rwandan prisons.

Nairobi, 12 May 1997, 15:50 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: 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: Mon, 12 May 1997 18:48:46 +0300 From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Update 169 for 10-12 May 1997 97.5.12 Message-ID: <>

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

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