Great Lakes: IRIN Update 217, 7/24/97

Great Lakes: IRIN Update 217, 7/24/97


Department of Humanitarian Affairs

Integrated Regional Information Network

for the Great Lakes

Tel: +254 2 622147

Fax: +254 2 622129


IRIN Emergency Update No. 217 on the Great Lakes (Thursday 24 July 1997)

* In a press release today, Ugandan rebel group, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) offered the release of 24 schoolgirls held since October last year in exchange for a ceasefire. The Ugandan government has rejected any conditions attached to the release of the girls, who the LRA claim are held in the northern districts of Gulu, Lira and Apach. Ugandan minister of state for foreign affairs Rebecca Kadaga further alleged that the girls are in fact in Sudan, a few kilometres outside Juba.

* UNICEF Goma yesterday revealed that while the rest of Africa has shown improvements in reducing under-five mortality rates, there has been only a 1% improvement in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the last 15 years. These and other statistics, from UNICEF's Progress of Nations 1997 report, launched this week, led UNICEF Goma's Lauchlan Munro to state "it is clear that the former Zairois regime abdicated its responsibilities towards children."

The DRC's rate of under-five mortality, at 207 per 1,000 births brings DRC to the 138th of 149 countries. Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda have also high rates, respectively of 176, 139 and 145. Burundi has the highest proportion of malnourished children of all countries of the Great Lakes, with an estimated 37% of the under-fives underweight.

* DRC President Laurent-Desire Kabila is on an official visit to Eritrea, reports AFP, quoting the Eritrean Foreign Ministry official. While in Asmara, he will meet Eritrean President Issayas Afeworki.

* The Security Council has called on the parties in Angola to refrain from the use of force. A statement read by the Security Council president yesterday condemned the mistreatment of personnel of the United Nations and international humanitarian organizations in areas under the control of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). Information supplied by UNITA with regard to the strength of its armed forces, the extension of state administration and the activites of its radio station was "neither complete nor credible". The statement said that the increasing tension in northern Angola is spreading to central and southern provinces with "very dangerous implications" for the peace process. Meanwhile, the Angolan defence ministry through a statement on state media said that the situation had become "critical", while alleging that UNITA had moved its northern Uige province headquarters to Santa Cruz on the border with DRC.

* The UN will shortly stop running regular humanitarian passenger flights to Bujumbura. The Kenyan Ministry of Transport has advised the World Food Programme - which used to manage the flights on behalf of the UN as part of humanitarian exemptions to regional sanctions - that agencies should use scheduled flights instead. Kenya Airways and other airlines are now authorized by the Kenyan Government to fly between Nairobi and Bujumbura. The first commercial service, by African Airlines, left Nairobi last weekend.

Burundi's Foreign Minister, Luc Rukingama told the BBC's Kirundi service yesterday that some countries had "helped a lot" during the sanctions imposed on Burundi but "we should not keep singing about it over radios and televisions..."

* Riak Machar, head of the South Sudan Defence Force (SSDF) told AFP yesterday that South Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) rebels were battling government forces 50 kilometres north of the southern garrison town of Juba. Sudanese government forces hold Juba while many other towns in southern Sudan are held by the SPLA. Machar is aligned with Khartoum since a peace accord - rejected by the SPLA - was signed between several splinter rebel groups and the Islamist government.

The Sudanese parliament approved the peace accord yesterday after a three day special session. Under the peace deal, a coordinating council would run the affairs of southern Sudan for four years after which a referendum on the future status of southern Sudan would be held.

* IRIN's next information exchange meeting will be on Friday 1 August at 9.00 am. The meeting has been moved to accomodate the launch of the revised UN Appeal fro the Great Lakes. As usual, all humanitarian agencies are welcome.

Nairobi, 24 July 1997, 15:20 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, 24 Jul 1997 18:12:37 -0300 (GMT+3) From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Update 217 for 24 July 1997 97.7.24 Message-ID: <>

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

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