Great Lakes: IRIN Update 180, 5/23/97

Great Lakes: IRIN Update 180, 5/23/97


Department of Humanitarian Affairs

Integrated Regional Information Network

for the Great Lakes

Tel: +254 2 622147

Fax: +254 2 622129


IRIN Emergency Update No.180 on the Great Lakes (23 May 1997)

* President Laurent-Desire Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) announced his new government late last night in Kinshasa. It has a presidential structure, with no post of prime minister. Kabila as president also takes the national defence portfolio. There is no post for leader of the Democratic Union for Social Progress (UDPS), Etienne Tshisekedi. The Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (ADFL) statutes replace the constitution. Thirteen ministers were named and seven posts, including the vice-presidency, remain to be filled. Those named are :

Home Affairs Minister Mwenze Kongolo

Foreign Affairs Minister Bizima Karaha

Finance Minister Mawapanga Mwana Nanga

Information Minister Raphael Ngenda

Mines Minister Matakula Kambale

Planning & Development Minister Babi Mbayi

Justice Minister Celestin Lwangi

Telecommunications Minister Paul Kinkela

Transport Minister Henri Movasakani

Health & Social Affairs Minister Jean-Baptiste Nsonji

Education Minister Prof. Kamara Rokahikara

Agriculture Minister Paul Bandoma

Civil Service Minister Justine Kasuvubu

The Voice of the People radio in Bunia noted that Etienne Tshisekedi was "very much part" of the new government through the appointment of UDPS members Paul Bandoma and Justine Kasavubu, and his friend Paul Kinkela.

* Supporters of Etienne Tshisekedi today held demonstrations in Kinshasa in protest over his omission from the government. Several hundred students marched to the American embassy shouting "Kabila, dictator." The demonstrators were dispersed by ADFL troops firing in the air. Tshisekedi called on people to "resist with their last energy all attempts to impose a government without popular legitimacy."

* Congolese television said the ADFL had captured DRC's only seaport of Matadi on the Atlantic near Angola. Hundreds of former Zairean army soldiers were reported to be heading towards Matadi after the fall of Kinshasa last weekend.

* Local newspapers in Kinshasa report growing concern among residents over indiscipline among certain elements of the ADFL. Some soldiers are reported to be requisitioning vehicles, helping themselves from people's houses, and indulging in alcohol. The newspapers also report that money changers are refusing to apply the daily excahange rate fixed by the ADFL in agreement with banks and businesses. * Moroccan radio said former president Mobutu had arrived in the capital Rabat for a "short stay" before "leaving for the place where he intends to stay permanently." The radio said he would enjoy "a friendly atmosphere." AP reported that France had denied a visa to more than half of Mobutu's entourage. The Yugoslavian news agency reported yesterday that rumours that Mobutu might temporarily move to the Igalo coastal resort in Montenegro had been denied by Belgrade.

* Congo, Morocco, Egypt and Japan yesterday joined the growing list of nations giving official recognition to the new DRC authorities. Congolese President Pascal Lissouba had backed Mobutu up to the moment of his departure last Friday.

* The Associated Press (AP) today reported that a disaffected soldier in Kabila's army had shown one of its correspondents to the graves of Rwandan Hutu refugees allegedly killed by soldiers near Biaro camp, south of Stanleyville (Kisangani). A map drawn by the soldier led AP to seven areas of freshly turned earth, each 3m by 3m in size, 50m south of Biaro camp, which he said contained the bodies of 200-600 refugees killed and buried by ADFL troops. He said up to 30 refugees were being killed every day, beaten, hacked or shot to death. He told AP he volunteered the information because of growing resentment among Congolese forces against the killings. He told AP:"There is much work to do - digging up bodies and burning them. When the UN eventually comes to investigate there will be no evidence left." * The Central African Republic (CAR) says army mutineers are recruiting Zairean, Rwandan and Burundian refugees fleeing the DRC, AFP reported. A spokesman for the mutineers, who have been defying the government in Bangui for a year, denied the accusation.

* Chadian radio yesterday quoted President Idriss Deby as saying Chad could not host the large numbers of refugees coming from the former Zaire. He said contacts were being made to find other countries to accept them.

* The UNHCR said yesterday it was sending an assessment mission to Congo where there are around 10,000 Rwandan and Zairean refugees. UNHCR yesterday airlifted back to Rwanda the first 300 of thousands of Rwandan refugees in Mbandaka in northwestern DRC. The operation is continuing.

* Angolan troops have clashed with rebel separatists of the Cabinda Enclave Liberation Front (FLEC-Renewed) in the southeast of the enclave near its border with DRC, AFP said yesterday. Quoting the Angolan news agency, the report said hundreds of villagers were fleeing the fighting and taking refuge at Bambuleka, 35 kms from Cabinda.

* UN headquarters has written to 26 countries asking for funds for Angola's demobilisation programme. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), responsible for transporting disarmed soldiers to their homes from assembly camps, says it has received only US$1 million of the US$48 million needed. * Burundi's rebel National Council for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD) today rejected an invitation from the Burundian government to an all-party peace conference in Geneva next month, Reuters reported. CNDD spokesman Leonce Ndarubagiye told a press conference in Nairobi that they wished to continue the two-sided talks already inititiated with the government in Rome, but did not wish to widen talks to include other parties.

* Burundian President Pierre Buyoya is due to meet Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in Kampala today to brief him on the current situation in Burundi. Two UPRONA parliamentarians have been lobbying their Ugandan counterparts over the lifting of sanctions, the Ugandan 'New Vision' said today.

* The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said in its latest report this month that the food situation in Burundi remains "very tight", despite the relaxation of the economic embargo, following a poor first harvest in 1997 and continuing civil strife. Average food prices have increased by more than 40-50% compared to early 1996. In Rwanda, the FAO said huge numbers of returning refugees and the deterioration in security in areas bordering DRC have aggravated an already "precarious" food situation in the country. The vulnerable population is estimated at 2.571 million people, or one third of the population.

* The World Health Organisation (WHO) reported 4,616 cases of typhus in Burundi during April. Of those, 2,699 were in Muramvya province, 1,678 in Gitega, 200 in Cibitoke, 18 in Muyinga, 18 in Kirundo, and 3 in Bururi.

* Rwandan radio said yesterday three men were sentenced to death by a court in Kibuye on charges of genocide committed in 1994. Two other courts in Kibuye and Rushashi sentenced two men to life imprisonment, one to three years in jail and acquitted another.

* Uganda's 'New Vision' said today the army had dislodged rebel Lord's Resistance Army units from their hideouts in Latanya, Aloro and Kibong hills in Kitgum. A military officer said they were fleeing towards Atanga in Aru county, but many had surrendered. In a separate article the newspaper said two top LRA commanders and 12 rebel fighters were killed in recent clashes with the army in Kitgum.

* Kenya confirmed that it is to host a regional summit next Wednesday on the conflict in Sudan, AFP reported.

Nairobi, 23 May 1997, 14:45 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: Fri, 23 May 1997 17:47:16 +0300 From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Update 180 for 23 May 1997 97.5.23 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.95.970523175046.22452E-ength: 8671 Status: RO

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

Previous Menu Home Page What's New Search Country Specific