Great Lakes: IRIN Update 170, 5/13/97

Great Lakes: IRIN Update 170, 5/13/97

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

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

IRIN Emergency Update No.170 on the Great Lakes (13 May 1997)

* BBC reports today that the Zairean government has announced a curfew in Kinshasa from 8pm to 6am and has called upon residents to arm themselves to defend the capital city from encircling rebels.

* AFP yesterday reported sources saying that forces of the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (ADFL) have reached the "Black River", just west of Mbankana on the road from Kenge to Kinshasa. An ADFL commander in Lubumbashi also claimed that rebel forces were 60 kms from Kinshasa's international airport. However, Zairean Information Minister Kin-Kiey Mulumba said last night that fighting was still raging at Kenge. The Zairean government continued to insist that fighting was still continuing at Kenge today. Mulumba also denied allegations by the ADFL that foreigners were to be targeted by the Zairean Armed Forces (FAZ).

* Zairean President Mobutu Sese Seko's son told Belgian TV it was too early to say if Mobutu would hand over power to a transitional government headed by parliamentary speaker-elect Archbishop Monsengwo. In any case, rebel leader Laurent-Desire Kabila said in a radio interview today that "we will not allow Mobutu to change his place with another Mobutu-ist." Zairean Opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi has called for a "ville morte" protest against both Mobutu and Monsengwo in Kinshasa tomorrow. In the capital, leaflets purportedly from the rebel Alliance advise residents to mark a stay-at-home from Wednesday to Friday and to fly white flags to show their support, reports Reuters.

* SAPA reports that South African President Nelson Mandela may not be present at tomorrow's meeting on board a South African Navy ship moored at Congo's port of Pointe Noire. The second face-to-face talks between Mobutu and ADFL leader Laurent-Desire Kabila are scheduled for tomorrow morning. South African Deputy President Thabo Mbeki is expected to attend.

* Aid agencies continue to report the arrival of Rwandan refugees and disarmed ex-Rwandan army and militia in marshlands in eastern Congo. Assessment missions by humanitarian agencies confirmed that about 5,000 refugees are at Liranga, having paid boatmen about $5 per person to cross the river border from Zaire. Earlier reports of thousands of Rwandans at Lukolela were discounted with current estimates saying only about 50 Rwandans are in the area. An ICRC helicopter has delivered 3 MT of food to the refugees at Iranga. The refugees, 60% of whom are men, are organizing camps divided into "cellules" patterned on the Rwandan administrative structures. Access by road to the area is nearly impossible. About 400 Tutsis are currently registered as refugees in Brazzaville, many of whom are from Rwanda. They fled Kinshasa in the early days of the Tutsi-led uprising last year, fearing reprisals.

* Radio France Internationale reported today that 218 Rwandans were allowed to cross from northern Zaire into Central African Republic (CAR) near the capital Bangui. The government of CAR was reported to want the refugees to move on to another country as soon as possible. The report said that about half the Rwandans are ex-FAR. Another pocket of armed Rwandans on the southern border of Zaire, near Zambia, are holding a Belgian priest hostage. The priest's Franciscan order announced yesterday, according to AFP, that Brother Raoul de Buissiere was in the hands of "armed Hutus".

* In Bukavu, local radio broadcast messages at the weekend urging the local population to observe a curfew in some neighbourhoods such as Bagira and the market area of Kadutu. Well-placed sources told IRIN of clashes on the escarpment road south of Bukavu on Saturday. Initial indications are that the conflicts were between ex-FAR/Interahamwe and ADFL.

* UNICEF announced today an attack on one of their staff houses in Goma yesterday morning. Five armed men stole money and beat and threatened five UNICEF workers. UNICEF executive director Carol Bellamy called the attack an "act of terror". ADFL authorities in Goma told UNICEF that the attackers may have been trying to discredit them by wearing similar uniforms.

* UNICEF has called for the establishment of an international criminal court to prosecute war crimes against children. Carol Bellamy, in a statement released on Friday, used examples from Zaire, Rwanda and Burundi to illustrate the "deliberate targeting of children as part of an orchestrated campaign to terrorize and subjugate entire communities."

* AFP, quoting Radio Rwanda, reports that six people were killed in an ambush in Gikongoro, southern Rwanda on Sunday. The dead were two priests, a nurse and three young girls.

* The Ugandan 'New Vision' newspaper yesterday reported that 90 rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces have been killed in fighting with the government army since April 24. At least 10 government troops have also been killed. A military source said the ADF had established a camp at Kampasa after being driven from camps in Zaire by Zairean ADFL rebels. Today, the New Vision reported 70 more ADF rebels were killed and 160 guns seized in an offensive by the national Ugandan People's Defence Force (UDPF) in Kasese district on Saturday.

Humanitarian sources report an attack on Saturday by rebels on the Achol Pii refugee camp in the Agago area, in which seven refugees were wounded and one 15-year-old killed. National UPDF forces repelled the attackers.

Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels killed a schoolteacher and left six students seriously injured in an attack last week a few kilometres south of Kitgum on the Kitgum-Lira road. Four other people are missing.

* Southern Sudanese rebels claim to have captured Tonj in Bahr al Ghazal province. A Nairobi spokesman for the SPLA told AFP on Saturday that the next target would be Wau, 39 kms away. Meanwhile SPLA forces maintain pressure on the government-held southern garrison city of Juba, but have been harrassed by ambushes from Ugandan rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), which has used southern Sudan as a base to launch attacks in northern Uganda. In northeast Sudan, opposition forces grouped under the National Democratic Alliance umbrella group claim to be only 35 kms from Kassala.

Nairobi, 13 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: Tue, 13 May 1997 18:09:21 +0300 From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Update 170 for 13 May 1997 97.5.13 Message-ID: <>

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

Previous Menu Home Page What's New Search Country Specific