UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
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IRIN Emergency Update No.184 on the Great Lakes (29 May 1997)
* The rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda has stepped up its attacks in Kitgum and Gulu districts in the north, according to various reports. AFP said today four government soldiers were killed in an LRA ambush on the Gulu-Kitgum road on Tuesday. The same day a Catholic mission 32 kms south of Kitgum was raided and a vehicle burned. The army said it killed eight of the LRA raiders involved. Last week, humanitarian sources report a series of incidents. Kitgum suburbs were attacked in the early hours of 21 and 23 May. Gulu suburbs were attacked in the evening of 21 May and several battles took place in the countryside. Landmines have been planted widely, injuring mainly civilians. Hospitals in Kitgum are said to be full. Among the wounded is a 12-year-old boy who had both legs amputated above the knee after stepping on a landmine at Acholi Bur. There are several active groups of rebels, one is moving northwest from Acholi Bur while another has moved northeast from Kitgum Matidi towards Mucwini. Access to outlying areas and to camps for 52,000 displaced people in Kitgum is now very difficult. Aid workers report an increase in child malnutrition rates. WFP says the current insecurity destroys the last hopes for a good harvest in the area in July.
* The Ugandan 'New Vision' said today rebel Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), forced out of their camps by the army, are fleeing into neighbouring DRC.
* The Burundian army today called on residents of the capital Bujumbura to remain calm after battles yesterday in the surrounding hills. Mortar fire was heard at various times in the day. Army spokesman Colonel Isaie Nibizi said on Burundi radio there was no danger. Local journalists saw the bodies of 40 rebels killed in fighting with the army 10 kms south of Bujumbura yesterday. The army said many more had been killed. Burundi's President Pierre Buyoya held talks with Rwandan President Pasteur Bizimungu in the Rwandan capital Kigali yesterday. Buyoya said afterwards he had discussed his efforts to negotiate with Hutu rebels. He blamed the recent upsurge in violence in Burundi on former Rwandan soldiers and Hutu militiamen infiltrating from neighbouring DRC.
* Tanzanian Prime Minister Frederick Sumaye today denied that Tanzania was supporting Burundian rebels inside Tanzania. In an interview with the BBC Swahili Service quoted on Tanzanian radio, Sumaye said there was no cross-border movement of rebels or weapons in or out of Tanzania.
* Reports of violent disturbances involving soldiers of the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (ADFL) and civilians in Uvira in South Kivu are being investigated. A number of Uvira residents are reported to have fled to neighbouring Burundi, well placed sources told IRIN. * Laurent-Desire Kabila was sworn in today as President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Thousands of people filled the stadium in the capital Kinshasa for the ceremony, which was Kabila's first public appearance since ADFL troops captured the city 12 days ago. Kabila said presidential and parliamentary elections would be held in April 1999. Earlier, a decree was issued giving Kabila wide personal powers, including the right to appoint civilian and military officials. A demonstration by students in the stadium was dispersed by soldiers before the inauguration ceremony started.
* South African President Nelson Mandela told a group of visiting American congressmen yesterday there were no guarantees of former Zairean President Mobutu Sese Seko's safety if he returned to the country now called DRC. He said there were a number of pressures on him to return.
* Belgium says it will give visitor visas to officials of Mobutu's ousted regime only if they had earlier voiced support for democratic change, Reuters reported yesterday.
* The Angolan army is advancing towards a key airfield held by the former rebel UNITA, Reuters reported yesterday, quoting military analysts and officials. The reports said troops were massing at government-held Cafunfo in the northeast, close to Lusamba and its airfield. Observers are worried that the army's advance is endangering Angola's peace process.
* The Congolese government yesterday warned refugees from the DRC to refrain from actions "likely to harm our relations with our neighbours." Several thousand Rwandan Hutus are among those who fled DRC in recent weeks.
* [IRIN regrets the error that slipped in to Update 182, paragraph 4. Of course, the South African President is Nelson Mandela. It was our mistake and not AFP's.]
Nairobi, 29 May 1997, 15:10 gmt
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Date: Thu, 29 May 1997 18:20:04 +0300 From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Update 184 for 29 May 1997 97.5.29 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.95.970529182124.10597F-ength: 5404
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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