Great Lakes: IRIN Update 207, 7/8/97

Great Lakes: IRIN Update 207, 7/8/97


Department of Humanitarian Affairs

Integrated Regional Information Network

for the Great Lakes

Tel: +254 2 622147

Fax: +254 2 622129


IRIN Emergency Update No.207 on the Great Lakes (8 July 1997)

* Ugandan rebels abducted more than 30 children and looted food supplies in an attack on Mongula refugee camp in northern Moyo district Saturday. The abductees were all boys between 11-15 years-old. The raid is the third in a month on the Sudanese refugee camp bringing the total to 41 people seized by Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The WFP in Uganda reports there are complaints among the 11,000 refugees at Mongula that their security concerns are not being taken seriously. The attacks mark an escalation in rebel activity in the north since an offensive by the Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA) in March routed LRA and West Nile Bank Front bases across the borders. Gulu district, traditionally the centre of LRA operations, has remained quiet but raids have continued in neighbouring Kitgum. AFP reported that a rebel group looted houses and burnt vehicles at Namakora Mission, 40 kms east of Kitgum town Saturday night.

* Ugandan peace-keepers due to be trained later this month by US Green Berets will not be deployed outside the OAU framework. Replying to concern expressed by an unnamed OAU official reported in the EastAfrican weekly, Minister of State for Defense, Amama Mbabazi, told the Monitor newspaper that the army is interested in building its capacity rather than unilateral military deployment without OAU consent. The US Special Forces team is due in Uganda for two months on July 21 to provide battalion-size instruction on convoy protection, mine clearance, communications and civil-military relations. Similar training under the Warren Christopher initiative for an African rapid intervention force is to be provided for Senegal, Ethiopia, Ghana and Malawi.

* An article by Ugandan Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Rebecca Kadaga in the 'EastAfrican' has expressed her country's "joy" over Laurent-Desire Kabila's accession to power in DRC, both for economic and security reasons. Kadaga, who is in charge of regional cooperation, said it would now be easier to contain the DRC-based rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), while economically it would be possible to discuss creating a common infrastructure to facilitate the movement of goods and services. She denied Uganda was involved in the military struggle to remove ex-president Mobutu from power, but acknowledged cooperation with other Great Lakes countries and South Africa "in charting out possible solutions for a peaceful transition". One of Uganda's main priorities now, she said, was economic cooperation with eastern DRC.

* The sale of Czech fighter planes to Uganda is on hold, the New Vision reported today. Minister of State for Defense, Amama Mbabazi, said he has not received a formal offer of sale. The Czech Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hellena Bamasova, said on May 31 that Prague was willing to sell the ground attack/trainer jets, but the paper says a scheduled meeting between her and Mbabazi never took place.

* Calm returned to Kenyan cities and towns today in the aftermath of Monday's bloody clashes between opposition supporters demanding constitutional reforms and the security forces which left at least nine people dead in the worst political violence seen in seven years. The opposition's umbrella National Convention Executive Committee (NCEC) has called for new demonstrations for Wednesday and the disruption of the six-nation IGAD summit. "Our position and demand of the IGAD meeting is no reforms, no IGAD meeting," the NCEC said in a statement. Demonstrations without police permits are illegal under Kenya's draconian public order laws and the police authorities said they would again disperse any political gathering that takes place Wednesday. The opposition argues that repeal of the public order laws are among the constitutional reforms needed to ensure free and fair elections later this year.

* The fate of 114 Sudanese POWs held by Uganda since March and Somalia's continuing instability is expected to head the agenda of the two day IGAD summit starting in Nairobi Wednesday. A diplomatically isolated Sudanese president is expected to join heads of state at the meeting from regional neighbours Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya and Uganda. Somalia's chair will remain vacant.

* UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan will brief the Security Council today on his plans for a new human rights mission to investigate abuses in the DRC. UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said Monday that the DRC government would allow the probe to go ahead if the mission's composition was changed. Kinshasa had objected to the inclusion of Special Rapporteur for Human Rights, Roberto Garreton, claiming his previous report accusing the ADFL of mass killings was not objective. Responding to accusations of UN surrender by human rights groups, Eckhard said "the secretary-general feels it is not who does this report but that it be done."

* Unidentified gunmen killed at least 13 people in Kinshasa's working class districts Sunday night in a wave of attacks that has deepened a climate of insecurity in the city. Residents say it is difficult to tell whether it was ex-FAZ soldiers or rogue ADFL troops that were responsible for the shootings. Interior Minister Mwenze Kongolo described the killings as the work of "criminals trying to sabotage the government" of President Laurent-Desire Kabila, Reuters reported.

* UNHCR says the planned repatriation of Congolese refugees from camps in Kigoma, Tanzania, remains on hold. Humanitarian sources say hesitant Tanzanian authorities would like to first see an official statement from the DRC welcoming back the refugees, and a tripartite meeting involving UNHCR to discuss security and operational concerns. Meanwhile, 6,510 Congolese have spontaneously returned to the DRC and a further 314 have crossed into Zambia as of June 22.

* UNHCR staff were prevented by the DRC authorities Friday from reestablishing a collection point for the repatriation of Rwanda refugees at Karuba, 45 kms east of Goma, for a third week in a row following the May 29 killing of four refugees and an aid worker in the area. UNHCR spokesman Peter Kessler described the situation as "unacceptable" after Kinshasa had assured complete access and that the agency was "very concerned" about the fate of the refugees.

The UNHCR has opened two new airlift sites for the repatriation of Rwandan refugees. In the first sortie flown Sunday from Shabunda, DRC, 48 refugees were carried home, and 84 were transported Saturday from Lukolela in Congo-Brazzaville. The airlift operation evacuated 507 people between 3-6 July.

* DRC President Laurent Kabila arrived in Windhoek Monday on a two day state visit. The possibility of Namibia drawing hydro-power from the Congo River is expected to top the agenda in talks.

* Tension continues along the DRC border, Angolan Interior Minister, Andre Pitra Petroff, has warned. Before leaving for talks in Kinshasa yesterday, Petroff told Angolan TV that the presence of UNITA and Zairian soldiers on the border continues "to cause serious problems."

* The price of a river crossing on dug-out canoe to Kinshasa increased to 10,000 CFA as fighting continued in Brazzaville last week. An estimated 20,000 refugees have fled to Kinshasa since the political violence began in Brazzaville on June 5 and according to UNHCR around 1,300 to 2,000 of them are sheltering "in extremely difficult conditions" on barges in the city's port.

* Three people were injured, one seriously, when a pick-up truck detonated an anti-tank mine in the Nkuli Hill area of Bujumbura Sunday night, Radio Burundi reported.

* Emissaries of former Tanzanian president Julius Nyrere left Bujumbura yesterday after three days of talks aimed at paving the way to peace negotiations later this month in Arusha between the government and Burundian opposition parties. No details of the talks about talks were released, but the BBC Kirundi/Kinyarwanda service reported that Charles Mukasi, leader of the mainly Tutsi UPRONA party, said he would not attend Arusha but representatives of his party would. PARENA, the party of former president Jean-Baptiste Bagaza, rejected any meeting with the Hutu rebel CNDD. Arusha is planned as a pre-agenda forum for follow up talks after the Rome meetings earlier this year between the government and CNDD rebels.

* An envoy of Burundian President Pierre Buyoya had talks with the Tanzanian authorities in Dar es Salaam last week to discuss alleged rebel infiltration into Burundi from western Tanzania. Public Health Minister Dr Juma Mohamed Kariburyo told the 'EastAfrican' weekly his country believed rebels were using Tanzanian territory as a rear base to attack the Burundian army in the Bururi and Makamba regions. He said he had come to Tanzania to request joint border meetings between the two countries and to urge the Tanzanians to move refugee camps far away from the border. According to the newspaper, part of the minister's mission was also to persuade the Tanzanian government to lift remaining economic sanctions against Burundi.

* Suspected Hutu guerrillas killed an estimated 20 people in three attacks in central Rwanda over the weekend, AFP reported yesterday. Two of the raids occurred in the Nyakabanda commune of Gitarama prefecture, 40 kms northwest of Kigali. On Friday, Mushabati commune near Gitarama town was attacked by what the military authorities described as forest-based "enemy groups".

Nairobi, 8 July 1997 15:40 GMT [ENDS]

[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: Tue, 8 Jul 1997 18:44:14 -0300 (GMT+3) From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Update 207 for 8 July 1997 97.7.8 Message-ID: <>

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

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