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IRIN Emergency Update No.182 on the Great Lakes (27 May 1997)
* State television in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) said yesterday the government had banned all demonstrations and political party activity until further notice because of security. Supporters of Etienne Tshisekedi, leader of the opposition Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), have threatened to stage protests in Kinshasa on Wednesday and Friday and stay-at-home strikes next week over his exclusion from the new government. International flights to Kinshasa were due to start again today, but the river crossing to neighbouring Congo remains closed. Congolese radio yesterday announced the banning of commercials on private stations to end "disorder and anarchy" in this sector of broadcasting.
* President Laurent-Desire Kabila is to be formally inaugurated as head of state of the DRC on Thursday, state radio said today.
* The French Foreign Minister Herve de Charette said France and the USA were working together to support the DRC's transition to democracy, AFP reported yesterday. His statement followed a meeting in Paris with US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright.
* South African President Yoweri Museveni defended DRC President Laurent-Desire Kabila's "commitment to democracy" today, AFP reported. The occasion was the start of a four-day state visit to South Africa by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. Talks are to centre on regional economic co-operation. Mandela praised Kabila's "disciplined army" and said it would be "suicidal" for him to allow political parties to operate before he has a firm grip on the government. * The UN has officially accepted the request by the new Kinshasa government to change the name of Zaire to the Democratic Republic of Congo. The flag has also been changed to the one adopted on independence day, 30 June 1960: dark blue background with six yellow stars down the left side and a large yellow star in the centre. The request came from charge d'affaires Lukabi Khabouji N-Zaji.
* Reuters reported today that Belgium has pulled out nearly half of its 700-strong force stationed in Brazzaville, Congo, before the takeover in Kinshasa. The US and Britian expect to complete withdrawals of their troops, on standby for a possible evacuation of expatriates, this week.
* UNHCR repatriated 880 Rwandan refugees yesterday from Mbandaka in northwestern DRC. In Stanleyville (Kisangani) in the east, 514 refugees were flown back to Rwanda today. The authorities said a landmine was discovered on the road south of Km 48, preventing aid workers from proceeding yesterday.
* Angolan radio said yesterday soldiers of the former Zairean army were infiltrating Angola along the vast 2,600 kms border between Angola and DRC, and were joining rebel UNITA forces in Uige province.
* A barge recently arrived at Liranga, northern Congo, from the capital Brazzaville, bringing supplies to several thousand Rwandan Hutu refugees who fled from neighbouring DRC. Humanitarian sources say most have not expressed interest in repatriation to Rwanda.
* The Inter Press Service (IPS) today reported that 12 people died in recent clashes between supporters of rival political parties in northern Congo. The report also says 4,000 people were displaced in the violence on May 11 in Owando. Congo is due to hold presidential elections in July. * Independent Studio Ijambo in Burundi said 42 people were killed in an attack on a church at Muhuta, 31 kms south of the capital Bujumbura, on May 14. The incident was publicised through an obituary announcement on national radio by church officials. Diplomatic sources said the army was involved in the attack, which may have had many more victims. An army spokesman said he had no information about it.
* The Burundian majority FRODEBU party threatened to resort to violence if the government does not restore peace and constitutional rule, AFP reported from Dar es Salaam yesterday. The report cites a letter from FRODEBU leader Jean Minani to all heads of state attending next week's OAU summit in Harare, Zimbabwe, saying they will use "all means, including military struggle."
* At least four people died and around 45 were injured when a lorry repatriating refugees from DRC collided with two other vehicles near the Rwandan capital Kigali on Sunday, AFP reported yesterday.
* The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda has adjourned until September 29 the trial of Jean-Paul Akayesu, former mayor of Taba. Akayesu is charged with involvement in the massacre of 2,000 Tutsis during the genocide in 1994. His lawyer announced he had been unable to find any defence witnesses willing to testify.
* The Sudanese government has acknowledged the fall of Rumbek in the south to the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), AFP reported today. A government newspaper blamed the loss of the town in April on "complicity" of top government officials.
* Ugandan radio said yesterday a four-day peace meeting in Moroto, Uganda, between Kenyan and Ugandan pastoralists ended with a call to stop cattle rustling.
Nairobi, 27 May 1997, 15:00 gmt
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Date: Tue, 27 May 1997 18:02:33 +0300 From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Update 182 for 27 May 1997 97.5.27 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.95.970527180146.3076D-ength: 5854
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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