Great Lakes: IRIN Update 181, 5/26/97

Great Lakes: IRIN Update 181, 5/26/97


Department of Humanitarian Affairs

Integrated Regional Information Network

for the Great Lakes

Tel: +254 2 622147

Fax: +254 2 622129


IRIN Emergency Update No.181 on the Great Lakes (26 May 1997)

* President Laurent-Desire Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) met the ambassadors of the United States and Britain on Saturday, Congolese television reported. Kabila told CNN that he would prepare for democratic elections after a two-year transitional period. AFP said a special envoy of the French foreign ministry arrived in Kinshasa on Sunday for talks with the ADFL over security following last week's killing of two French businessmen.

* ADFL soldiers searched rooms at Kinshasa's Intercontinental Hotel early yesterday morning saying they were looking for weapons. Journalists staying at the hotel, which is also the headquarters for the ADFL, said they were woken up by soldiers who combed through personal belongings and papers.

* Congolese radio reported at the weekend that ADFL troops were marching on the coastal town of Muanda in Bas-Congo. It said there were still pockets of resistance, especially at Zongo and Gbadolite in Equateur province, where "the war is raging" between ADFL and former Zairean army forces.

* Former Zairean president Mobutu will go to France, where he has a villa on the French Riviera, at the beginning of June, Reuters reported, quoting a Moroccan official. Mobutu is currently at the heavily guarded Amphitrite hotel at Shkirat just outside the Moroccan capital, Rabat. France holds the second round of legislative elections on June 1. Earlier this month, ADFL officials in Paris said they would "plant bombs" if Mobutu was allowed to come to France.

* Reuters yesterday reported eye witness accounts of more than 340 Rwandan Hutu refugees being massacred by ADFL soldiers at Mbandaka, northwestern DRC, earlier this month. The report quotes priests, civil servants and local residents who said 200 refugees were killed at a port on the Congo river and a further 140 at a village to the south. An ongoing UNHCR airlift flew 600 refugees home from Mbandaka yesterday, bringing the total repatriated to 1,500.

* Aid workers were finally allowed to drive from Km 42 to Km 48, south of Kisangani/Stanleyville, on Saturday looking for Rwandan refugees. A heavy presence of ADFL soldiers was reported along the road. Few refugees were found, but many are believed to be hiding in the forests. A further mission to Km 53 is promised for tomorrow. Agencies also hope for permission to fly to Ikela, southwest of Kisangani, where dozens of refugees reportedly remain.

* UN and other agencies in Goma, eastern DRC, held a "day of reflection" today following the attack on a Unicef house earlier this month. National staff were sent home. Some agencies suspended some non-essential services. * The Tanzanian 'Daily News' said on Saturday Tanzania was preparing to repatriate 100,000 refugees who fled DRC during recent fighting there. The refugees are camped around Kigoma on Lake Tanganyika. The newspaper said DRC under its new authorities was deemed to be safe for their return.

* The UNHCR said as many as 20,000 refugees have fled to the Central African Republic (CAR) following the change of regime in neighbouring DRC.

* In Angola, the army has moved into key diamond areas controlled by former rebel UNITA fighters and overrun by refugees from DRC, Reuters reported on Friday. The report quotes a UNITA general who confirmed the capture by the army of four towns in Lunda Norte, along Angola's eastern border with DRC. He had reports of casualties but could give no figures.

* The Kenyan 'East African' said today United States officials are increasing pressure on the Sudanese government at a time when the regime is seen to be weakened by the fall of Mobutu in the former Zaire. The report said opposition leader and former prime minister Sadiq al-Mahdi was this week visiting Washington. There is also speculation that he will visit Kinshasa soon to discuss regional solidarity with the new DRC regime.

* A regional summit on the Sudan conflict due to be held in the Kenyan capital Nairobi this week has been cancelled, AFP reported today, because of the proximity of next week's OAU summit in Zimbabwe.

* The Sudanese government says it has taken back the town of Gogrial in Bahr-el-Ghazal from the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), AFP reported today. The government also denied that the state capital Wau has fallen to the SPLA.

* Several hundred demonstrators in the Rwandan capital Kigali protested against last Friday's visit by the chief prosecutor of the international tribunal, Louise Arbour. AFP reported that the protestors waved placards asking where the US$40 million spent on the Arusha-based tribunal had gone and why none of the trials of instigators of the 1994 genocide had yet been concluded.

* Burundian radio said President Pierre Buyoya asked for Burundi to be allowed to join the East African Community when he met Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in Kampala on Friday. Buyoya said he had outlined a peace plan for Burundi and called for regional sanctions to be totally lifted.

* Amnesty International said it had received reports that four detainees were being tortured in detention at Camp Buyenzi in the Burundian capital Bujumbura. They were arrested with a number of others at Nyakabiga in April on charges of involvement in a series of mine explosions in Bujumbura. * Four people were killed and several injured when their vehicle hit a landmine 7 kms north of Kitgum in northern Uganda at the weekend. The mine was believed to have been planted by the rebel Lord's Resistance Army.

Nairobi, 26 May 1997, 14:15 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: Mon, 26 May 1997 17:35:13 +0300 From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Update 181 for 26 May 1997 97.5.26 Message-ID: <>

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

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