Great Lakes: IRIN Update 183, 5/28/97

Great Lakes: IRIN Update 183, 5/28/97


Department of Humanitarian Affairs

Integrated Regional Information Network

for the Great Lakes

Tel: +254 2 622147

Fax: +254 2 622129


IRIN Emergency Update No.183 on the Great Lakes (28 May 1997)

* UNHCR has appealed to Great Lakes countries not to force Burundian refugees back home because of recent killings there. UNHCR spokeswoman Pam O'Toole in Geneva revealed details of a fresh massacre, saying that on 19 May, 60 people, mostly returnees, were killed in an attack on a regroupment camp at Ndava in Cibitoke province. On 22 May, she said there was a further attack in which one person was killed and five wounded. UNHCR has told the Burundi government that it is not promoting the return of refugees to the northwest, northeast and southwest of the country, where there is an "unacceptable level of violence" and regroupment centres leave returnees open to attack. O'Toole said they were asking the DRC not to send back 200 Burundians from Kisangani. Tanzania, which hosts at least 290,000 Burundians, and Rwanda with 7,000 are also being asked to co-operate.

* Burundi's army engaged in fighting with Hutu rebels close to Bujumbura yesterday, AFP reported. The sound of mortar fire was heard from the city. Villagers fled Busoro, 15 kms southeast of Bujumbura, for the Musaga district on the city's outskirts.

* Several thousand supporters of the opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi staged a march today through Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) today, protesting over his exclusion from the new government and denouncing the presence of Rwandans in President Laurent-Desire Kabila's army. Reuters reported that soldiers initially allowed the march to go ahead but later broke it up, firing into the air and beating people with gun butts and batons. A number of protesters were arrested. The authorities have banned demonstrations and political activity, but Tshisekedi's supporters have promised further action.

* The DRC authorities have told soldiers with the former Zairean army they may continue living in their barracks in Kinshasa with their families, pending reorganisation. If they face any difficulty they are asked to telephone a designated lawyer in the office of the president.

* DRC Minister for Mines, Matutulo Kambale, said on Congolese television on Monday that all mining deals struck with the former Mobutu regime would have to be renegotiated. He said the new government's guiding principle was "no monopoly."

* UNHCR airlifted 514 Rwandan Hutu refugees from Kisangani yesterday, bringing the total repatriated to Rwanda to 37,069. Planes from Mbandaka in the northwest took 900 refugees home, bringing the total airlifted from there to 3,280. UNHCR said the number of refugees appearing out of the forest around Biaro, south of Kisangani, has dwindled dramatically. A mission is due to travel today to Km 52 where access has been denied for some time. Refugee collection points are to be set up on the southeast axis towards Lubutu at Mobi, Wanie and Rukula.

* Between 4-5,000 refugees from DRC are currently in the Central African Republic (CAR), according to UNHCR estimates. Most are concentrated in the towns of Mobaye and Kemba on the border river of Ubangi. Arrivals have dwindled to a trickle. Most of those already there are officials from the former Mobutu government and some 300 Rwandans. * Eleven people including the police commander of Kibuye region were killed in an ambush on Monday, AFP reported today. The report, quoting military sources, said 30 armed men opened fire on a minibus and another vehicle between the communes of Kivumu and Mabanza in Kibuye, western Rwanda. The attackers were believed to be Hutu militiamen infiltrated from DRC. * Burundi's President Pierre Buyoya arrived in the Rwandan capital Kigali today for a one-day state visit. Rwandan radio said he would discuss the situation in Burundi and the region with Rwandan authorities. Last Friday, Buyoya met Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in Kampala, where he called for economic sanctions against Burundi to be lifted.

* The head of the UN peacekeeping mission to Angola, Alioune Blondin Beye, held talks yesterday with rebel UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi at his stronghold of Bailundo. There is concern among diplomats that peace is being threatened by the Angolan army's drive into UNITA areas in Lunda Norte. UNITA reports an unknown number of dead and wounded as the army overran several towns.

* Humanitarian sources report a deterioration in security conditions in the Gulu district of northern Uganda over the past ten days. Lord's Resistance Army rebels are said to be active to the southeast and east of Gulu town. On 21 May, 88 huts were burnt down less than 1 km from the town centre. One child was killed and eight people abducted and later released. At Limo, an anti-personnel mine exploded when hit by a bulldozer. A number of mines are believed to have been planted at Limo by the rebels during the arson attack.

* The Ugandan army has set a new deadline of 31 May for rebel groups in West Nile to surrender or face capture and imprisonment, Ugandan radio reported on Monday.

Nairobi, 28 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: Wed, 28 May 1997 17:53:36 +0300 From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Update 183 for 28 May 1997 97.5.28 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.95.970528175854.2917C-ength: 5784 Status: RO

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

Previous Menu Home Page What's New Search Country Specific