UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
U N I T E D N A T I O N S
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for the Great Lakes
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IRIN Emergency Update No.193 on the Great Lakes (12 June 1997)
* The OAU and UN have called for an end to hostilities in Congo as fighting again shook the Congolese capital Brazzaville today. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan yesterday urged President Pascal Lissouba and ex-president Denis Sassou Nguesso, who say they have both ordered their troops to cease fire, to begin negotiations to settle their differences. Today OAU chairman and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe echoed the call, and said the OAU was ready to mediate. However, sources on the ground reported heavy weapons and automatic gunfire today. AFP quoted military sources as saying French troops in Brazzaville were today awaiting the arrival from Chad of six tanks to evacuate foreigners trapped in their homes.
President Boris Yeltsin yesterday ordered the evacuation of Russian and CIS nationals from Congo, the Russian Itar-Tass news agency reported. The South Korean ambassador to former Zaire, who was evacuated from Kinshasa to Congo at the time of the takeover by the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo(ADFL), has now been evacuated to Libreville in Gabon. The ICRC has stopped carrying out evacuations saying the situation makes it impossible to work. In a statement today, it called on the warring sides to spare civilians from the violence.
However, ICRC announced it would today send two flights from Kinshasa with food and medical supplies for Rwandan refugees in Loukelela, northern Congo. This will be the first time aid workers have had access to the refugees since fighting broke out last week. The situation in Loukelela is reported fairly tense as a result of refugees going into farms and fields searching for food.
* Eritrea has accused Sudan of planning to launch an attack, according to AFP. It said it had received a fax from the Eritrean embassy in Nairobi warning that Asmara reserved the right of self-defence and denying Sudanese accusations of an Eritrean troop build-up along the border.
* The Sudanese government has approved June's flight clearance schedule for aid flights into southern Sudan, based in Lokichokio, "Operation Lifeline Sudan" reported today. However flights into Yei, Rumbek, Tonj and Warrap were not approved. The Khartoum authorities also imposed the condition that the government-held areas of Gogrial, Pibor, Yirol, Kapoeta, Torit, Tali and Nasir should also be served. OLS said flights resumed yesterday after a seven-day suspension.
* Humanitarian sources said 12 bombs were dropped on the southern Sudanese town of Maridi on Tuesday, killing one woman and injuring eight more people, five of whom are said to be in a critical condition.
* The joint UN-OAU Special Representative to the Great Lakes Mohamed Sahnoun is due to leave Geneva for Kinshasa today for talks with President Laurent-Desire Kabila, including alleged human rights abuses in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). While in the area, Sahnoun will also explore further possible contributions by the UN to resolve the conflict in Brazzaville.
* Associated Press reported that four mountain gorillas were killed in crossfire during fighting between ADFL soldiers and Rwandan insurgents in eastern DRC last month. It cited the Nairobi-based International Gorilla Conservation Programme as saying the gorillas included a silverback named Kabirizi. The four gorillas were part of a family which had been habituated to humans. Fewer than 620 mountain gorillas remain in the world, with many of them living in the Virunga mountains that straddle Rwanda, DRC and Uganda.
* In Mbuji-Mayi, UNHCR officials said they had located a group of 234 Rwandan and 25 Burundian refugees. According to the refugees, they were part of a larger group, possibly amounting to some 30,000, which split several weeks ago with half moving towards Kinshasa and half towards Angola.
* ICRC said yesterday over 5,000 unaccompanied children had been repatriated to Rwanda from DRC since the end of April and 2,620 family reunions had been arranged since the beginning of May. Most of the children were old enough to provide information about their families and origins, it said.
* Rwandan military spokesman Emmanuel Ndahiro said a number of suspected Interahamwe members were wounded after an attempt to free prisoners in the northwest was repulsed by the army. According to AFP, he said the attempt occurred on Sunday night at Kinigi prison, north of Ruhengeri. Ndahiro added that after the raid, some 60 people were taken to the stadium in Ruhengeri for screening and several arrests were made.
* A Burundian official has urged caution over "infiltrations" from the Tanzanian side of the border, saying there is a corridor from Tanzania passing through Giharo, Mugege and Itaba communes. Leonidas Hakizimana, the Rutana governor, told Burundi radio yesterday that some "assailants" had been arrested.
* A total of 350 people have died from cholera in Tanzania since the beginning of the year, according to official figures issued by the Health Ministry, through WHO. Worst affected are the Dar es Salaam area with 3,376 cases reported as of 28 May 1997, and Kigoma where 1,371 cases were reported as of 22 May. The cumulative number of cases throughout the country as of last month is 6,435.
* About 500 heavily armed rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) have crossed into Uganda from the DRC over the Ruwenzori mountains, the state-owned 'New Vision' reported today, quoting a security source. The official said it was not clear whether they had come to fight or surrender.
Nairobi, 12 June 1997, 15:00 gmt [ENDS]
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Date: Thu, 12 Jun 1997 17:51:30 +0300 From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Update 193 for 12 June 1997 97.6.12 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.91.970612174718.5961A@dha.unon.org>
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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