UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
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IRIN Emergency Update No. 218 on the Great Lakes (Friday 25 July 1997) * Tensions mounted in Kenya today ahead of scheduled opposition rally in Mombasa Saturday, as political reformers warned of the risk of new confrontations. Mombasa's District Commissioner Paul Olando told the "East African Standard" that organisers had not applied for a licence for the rally and warned that stern action would be taken against anyone who turned up. Mombasa, a largely Moslem city, is the headquarters of Islamic preacher Khalid Balala who recently returned to Kenya after three years in exile. Balala warned Wednesday that there would be a popular uprising if political reforms were not effected before this year's elections.
Twenty-two ambassadors in Kenya have written to Kenya's President, Daniel arap Moi urging him to continue talking to pro-reform groups. Moi met last week with Christian and Islamic leaders and opposition leader, Michael Kijana Wamalwa, to discuss ways of facilitating dialogue with pro-reform groups, but on Wednesday Moi's party, the Kenya African National Union (KANU) ruled out discussions with the pro-reform lobby, the National Convention Executive Council (NCEC). The leaders of NCEC said that it appeared that KANU was "inviting further confrontation" and warned that the consequences for the economy and political stability [of Kenya] are "too ghastly for the ruling party to promote." Police in Nairobi fired shots in the air yesterday to disperse youths armed with whips and knives who attacked opposition members of parliament outside the assembly. Opposition MPs accused a KANU member of organising the youths. Violent clashes between political demonstratrors and riot police peaked on 7 July, when 13 people were killed and hundreds injured after police moved in to break up unlicenced rallies.
In a report released today, African Rights, the UK-based human rights group says that recent events in Kenya underline the breakdown of law and order in the country and the crisis within the security forces. The report, which portrays the destruction of a Nairobi shanty town earmarked for development, accuses the police of "endemic corruption."
* At least three people were killed and five injured in Kinshasa when an anti-government demonstration was broken up by police and army, according to the BBC. Eyewitnesses said police fired when dispersing the crowd. The Finance Minister, Mawapanga Mwana Nanga, has been placed under house arrest - accused of misappropriating government funds, news agencies report.
* Former Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere will convene talks next week on the situation in Burundi. The talks, scheduled to begin Tuesday in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, will be attended by the Secretary-General of the Organisation of African Unity, Salim Ahmed Salim and special envoys from the United States, European Union, United Nations, South Africa and Canada. Burundi's leader Pierre Buyoya announced earlier this week that multi-party negotiations would begin next month in Arusha under Nyerere's auspices. Buyoya, who seized power in a coup one year ago today (Friday), has been in secret negotiations since October with Burundian rebels.
* France will close its military bases at Bangui and Boaur in Central African Republic (CAR) by the end of the year as part of defence cutbacks across Africa, French media reported yesterday. France has six permanent bases on the continent. "Le Monde" said that the decision would be announced during a tour of the region by Defence Minister Alain Richard, beginning Wednesday. Some 1,400 French troops are reported to be stationed in CAR. Yesterday a Ministry of Defence spokesman would not comment on the media reports. Meanwhile, in CAR the month-old curfew was scheduled to be eased yesterday. The country's national radio said all but a dozen of the 400-500 soldiers who participated in the June mutiny have returned to barracks. * Thousands of victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide will be mummified and exhibited in a museum to commemorate the genocide, AFP reported today. Rwandan forensic experts are reported to have begun the task of chemically treating the remains of over 20,000 victims who died in Gikongoro, southwest Rwanda. * A UN technical team is scheduled to arrive in Gabon this weekend to assess the feasibility of a UN peacekeeping mission in Congo-Brazzaville. The UN team, composed of political and military planners and a humanitarian officer, is expected to stay in the region for two weeks. The opposing forces in the Congolese capital Brazzaville has signed an agreement to strengthen an existing ceasefire, government radio said today. * Humanitarian sources said yesterday that two Sudan air force planes bombed a displaced persons camp in southeast Sudan killing six people, including two children and injured twelve others. The camp in Lubon, about 10 kms from the Ugandan border, houses some 45,000 displaced persons.
* Riak Machar, head of the South Sudan Defence Force (SSDF), said yesterday that most South Sudanese would chose unity over separation from the north "provided there was equal distribution in power and wealth" in the four years leading to a planned referendum on the south's future status. The SSDF is aligned with factions which have concluded a peace deal with the government. AFP reported yesterday that Sudan's president Omar al Beshir said the government was "genuinely willing for cooperation with the parties which have not yet joined the peace agreement". Beshir has appealed for international assistance in urging the rebel group, the Sudanese People's Liberation Army, to sit down at the negotiating table. The US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, meanwhile, visited Sudan this week to raise issues such as human rights, the peace process and democracy. Washington had said earlier this year that it planned to isolate Khartoum for backing terrorism and abuses of human rights.
Nairobi, 25 July 1997, 15:05 GMT [ENDS]
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Date: Fri, 25 Jul 1997 18:15:32 -0300 (GMT+3) From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <email@example.com> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Update 218 for 25 Jul 97 97.7.25 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.firstname.lastname@example.org>
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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