Great Lakes: IRIN Update 205, 7/3/97

Great Lakes: IRIN Update 205, 7/3/97


Department of Humanitarian Affairs

Integrated Regional Information Network

for the Great Lakes

Tel: +254 2 622147

Fax: +254 2 622129


IRIN Emergency Update No.205 on the Great Lakes (3 July 1997)

* Concern is growing among the humanitarian community that the Burundi government's intention to start dismantling regroupment camps may be followed by a policy of villagisation. Humanitarian sources say that in Kayanza, which may be the first province to start dismantling the camps, government plans are not to send people back to their often isolated homes but to relocate them along roads. New houses are to be built along existing roads and new roads constructed where there are none. New roads would effectively encircle small villages which, from a military point of view, would be easy to monitor. The government originally justified the regroupment camps as the only way of separating civilians from armed Hutu rebels waging war against the army in the countryside. Living conditions in many of the camps are poor with high levels of malnutrition. The international community, which has pressurised for their closure, has called for people to be sent home. Humanitarian sources say they will not support the roadside settlement scheme, which effectively implies that military criteria to take precedence over humanitarian issues. * Heavy shelling late yesterday in the Congolese capital Brazzaville shook windows in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), just across the Congo river, AFP reported. President Pascal Lissouba's troops and those loyal to former president Denis Sassou Nguesso blamed each other for the renewal of fighting. An estimated 10-15,000 Congolese have already fled to Kinshasa and the exodus continues. The Makelekele hospital has been a target of shelling and sick and wounded have been forced to flee, according to UNICEF which supports the hospital. Meanwhile, the Malian government said it was ready to take part in a UN/OAU peacekeeping operation in Congo.

* The DRC government yesterday called on the UN to take seriously its demands concerning the UN human rights mission charged with investigating allegations of massacres of Rwandan Hutu refugees in the east of the country. Speaking to AFP in Kinshasa, Reconstruction Minister Etienne Mbaya reiterated his government's refusal to accept the participation of Roberto Garreton in the mission. Garreton earlier published a report accusing the troops of President Laurent-Desire Kabila, then rebel leader, of carrying out massacres of refugees and Zaireans. A UN human rights team arrived in Kinshasa on 20 June and a second team of investigators was due to arrive on 7 July.

* A UNICEF local staff member was shot in the chest in Lubumbashi, DRC, on Monday after soldiers opened fire on a bus in which he was travelling. The incident was sparked off by a road accident in which a girl was knocked down. The UNICEF worker is being evacuated to Johanesburg for treatment today. Tensions are said to be running high in Lubumbashi and soldiers are described as "trigger happy."

* Former Zairean president Mobutu Sese Seko yesterday underwent an intensive medical examination for "health complications" at a military hospital in Rabat, Morocco, Reuters reported. Mobutu, who has prostate cancer, was last week admitted to a civilian hospital in the northern port of Tangiers.

* Zambian radio said today the Zambian government would soon start training military personnel and police in neighbouring DRC. Home Affairs Minister Chitalu Samba said some logistical issues needed to be sorted out first by a reformed joint commission between the two countries.

* State-owned Radio-Television National Congolaise has resumed television transmissions via satellite. Satellite transmissions from the then Zairean TV were last monitored by the BBC in December 1994. They were suspended because of lack of funds to repair earth station equipment and to pay Intelsat fees.

* Army mutineers in the Central African Republic (CAR) yesterday signed a ceasefire agreement with African peacekeepers in the capital Bangui, AFP reported. Under the accord, both sides will end all hostile actions from today. It also aims to stop the problem of looting, and deals with ways of reintegrating the rebels into the government forces.

* Humanitarian agencies in CAR have appealed for emergency assistance for an estimated 80,000 people displaced in the Bangui region by the conflict. Most urgent needs are shelter materials as it is currently the rainy season. Some people are said to be in a poor condition and in dire need of assistance. * French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine said yesterday that France wanted to rethink its relations with Africa and "in no way seeks disengagement", AFP reported. Vedrine said the days of unilateral action were over and in future France's policy would have a "European dimension" and would take into account the Anglophone African countries.

* The Ugandan government is taking steps to deal with famine in northern and northwestern areas, Uganda radio said yesterday. The Prime Minister Kintu Musoke told parliament that 852 million shillings had already been released to purchase food relief and a further 500 million would be released later. Stricken areas include Gulu, Kitgum, Arua, Kasese and Wayo, which are affected by attacks involving rebel groups.

* The 'Monitor' reported yesterday that eight civilians, four Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels and two Ugandan government soldiers were killed in clashes 30 kms south-east of Kitgum in northern Uganda between June 25-28. The newspaper quoted a military commander as denying earlier press reports that up to 50 people had been killed in the fighting.

* The Sudanese press agency SUNA reported today that the Khartoum government hopes to negotiate the return of 114 prisoners of war captured by Ugandan troops during an attack on the southern Sudanese town of Yei in March. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said earlier he first wanted the return of 21 schoolgirls abducted last October by Khartoum-backed Ugandan rebels.

* Fighters with the former Angolan rebel UNITA attacked a village in the south of the country at the weekend killing two people, including a child, and burning 60 houses, AFP reported yesterday.

* Kenyan reformists today called on people to turn up in large numbers on Monday, 7 July, at rallies planned in 49 locations around the country. The rallies, organised by the National Convention Executive Committee, are the latest action aimed at forcing constitutional reform before this year's elections. President Moi yesterday warned youth to ignore the rallies, which the government have declared illegal. Today, police used teargas to disperse university students demonstrating over the introduction of strict new measures on the payment of fees. Meanwhile, Kenya's Attorney-General Amos Wako said today that the radical Islamic preacher, Sheikh Khaled Balala, would be allowed to return to Kenya from Germany after earlier attempts to bar him.

Nairobi, 3 July 1997, 15:15 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: Thu, 3 Jul 1997 18:25:11 -0300 (GMT+3) From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Update 205 for 3 July 1997 97.7.3 Message-ID: <>

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

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