>Great Lakes: IRIN Weekly Round Up #22, 8/18/96

Great Lakes: IRIN Weekly Round Up #22, 8/18/96

Department of Humanitarian Affairs
Integrated Regional Information Network

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This is number 22 in a series of weekly reports from IRIN on general developments in the Great Lakes region. Sources for the information below include UN agencies, NGOs, other international organisations and media reports. IRIN issues these reports for the benefit of the humanitarian community, but accepts no responsibility as to the accuracy of the original sources.

Weekly Roundup of Main Events in the Great Lakes region
12 - 18 August 1996

# Regional foreign ministers on Friday tightened sanctions against Burundi and banned members of Burundi's new military-backed regime from travelling within the region. At a meeting in Kampala, Uganda, the foreign ministers of Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Zaire, with representatives of the governments of Ethiopia, Zambia and Cameroon (representing the OAU) agreed that only human medicines and "emergency basic food aid for Rwandan refugees in Burundi" would be exempted from sanctions imposed at the Arusha II summit on 31 July. A Regional Sanctions Coordinating Committee, meeting in Kenya, is to be established, composed of Ambassadors/High Commissioners of participating countries with bases in Kenya, representatives of Kenya, Rwanda, Zambia and representatives from National Focal Points; the OAU Chairman and the OAU Secretariat. The first meeting will be held on 31 August.

UN officials said on Saturday that they were seeking clarification of the decision to exempt only food for refugees. UN representatives and aid workers fear that this decision will further incite ethnic tensions and result in attacks on aid convoys. In the past, WFP food convoys have been hijacked and looted and aid workers attacked following accusations that refugees were fed at the expense of local people. Humanitarian agencies also fear that epidemics and other health hazards will increase because of a shortage of medical supplies brought on by the sanctions. A WFP convoy loaded with food for refugees and internally displaced persons, meanwhile, was able to reach Burundi via Tanzania on Wednesday. This was the first humanitarian cargo to be exempted by Tanzania from sanctions.

Following Friday's meeting in Kampala, the Presidents of Rwanda and Uganda defended the decision to implement sanctions and condemned what they called political extremism in the region. At a joint news conference in Kampala, they urged Burundi's military leader to restore security, parliament and political parties. Uganda and Rwanda had been seen by diplomats as possible weak links in upholding the sanctions. Tanzania and Zaire also agreed on Saturday to take action to halt smuggling to Burundi from Lake Tanganyika which links the three countries. Zambia announced on Friday that it had joined the sanctions and would stop handling imports and exports through its lake port of Mpulungu with immediate effect.

As the effect of sanctions began to be felt in Burundi, petrol ration coupons were introduced on Tuesday to conserve stocks of fuel. Private cars have been limited to just 20 litres of fuel per month.

# Burundi's now banned Frodebu party has rejected plans by Burundi's new leader, Pierre Buyoya, for a three year transitional government. Buyoya said that he needed this time to restore civil institutions and save the country from genocide. Buyoya's plans, announced on Wednesday, also called for a national debate on the country's future. Buyoya had indicated his willingness to include all political groups in the debate. The leader of Burundi's National Council for the Defence of Democracy, Leonard Nyangoma, said on Friday that he would never take part in open debate with the present regime.

# Burundi's new regime scoffed on Friday at a proposal by opposition parties to set up a Government in exile. Jean Minani, chairman of Frodebu, said that the idea of transferring the seat of power to Dar-es-Salaam had not been excluded. A spokesperson for the Burundi regime said that such a government could only ever be self-proclaimed. Meanwhile, Burundi's President prior to the coup, Sylvestre Ntibantunganya, who continues to seek sanctuary in the United States Ambassador's residence in Bujumbura, has declared that he is still the president. In Nairobi, Frodebu officials said that Ntibantunganya has appointed three roving Ambassadors to defend his government before the international community. The ousted President has also called on all Ambassadors appointed by his government to stay in their posts and ignore decisions taken by Buyoya.

# The Burundian Army has been accused by Frodebu of massacring more than 4,750 civilians since the coup on 25 July. Most of these killings are said to have taken place in Giheta in Gitega province. The Army is also accused of shooting dead some 25 Hutu students at Mwaro Secondary School on 9 August and killing 51 school children and villagers in Cibitoke the next day. A report by Amnesty International cites an incident on 7 August in which soldiers were reported to have aided or condoned a massacre of around 200 Hutus. The Army has denied the massacres but has admitted that it has been carrying out a crackdown against rebels in some areas. Aid workers have confirmed that the Army killed at least 23 people on 26 July in Giheta commune in Gitega, but there has been no independent confirmation of other alleged massacres. Clashes between the Army and suspected rebels, however, are reported in the central western province of Muramwya and the central region of Gitega.

# Three Rwandan refugees were shot dead outside Magara refugee camp in Ngozi, northeast Burundi at the weekend following a riot in the camp during a repatriation operation. Stones were hurled on Saturday by a crowd of refugees at Burundian troops and aid workers during voluntary repatriation. Three refugees were wounded when soldiers shot into the air in an attempt to disperse the crowd. It appears the three refugees who were killed were apprehended as they were leaving the camp later that night. Around 2,600 refugees are reported to have returned to Rwanda voluntarily on Saturday and a further 1,800 on Sunday. This brings the total number of Rwandans left in the Burundi camps to around 40,000.

# The Burundi regime said on Friday that it welcomed a UN report into the 1993 assassination of Burundi's first democratically elected president, Melchior Ndadaye, even though it implicates senior Army officers. The UN report points a figure at Col. Jean Bikomagu, the Army Chief of Staff and other officers in the planning, execution and aftermath of the October 1993 coup attempt and Ndadaye's subsequent assassination. The report says, however, that there is insufficient evidence to bring any specific person to trial. The report also accuses Frodebu politicians of organising massacres of Tutsi civilians shortly after the 1993 attempted coup. Nine of the people suspected of being involved in the coup attempt fled to Uganda and were jailed. All but one were freed when their detention was challenged.

# Sixteen non-essential UN personnel and four family members were flown out of Bujumbura on Saturday on board two UN-chartered planes. Their departure leaves 140 UN staff in Burundi. The last two international commercial flights into and from Burundi via Sabena Airline left on Tuesday transporting some 400 people out of the country. Among them was the wife of former president Ntibantunganya.

# UN sources and aid agencies are said to have confirmed the killing of around 150 people in northwest Rwanda during clashes between Rwandan troops and Hutu "rebels". This follows last week's report by Amnesty International that reprisal killings of civilians, including women and children, by Rwandan troops and rebels were increasing. Aid agency sources in Kibilira, Gisenyi said that 24 civilians were reported to have been killed in a series of attacks by the RPA in nearby hills. A RPA spokesman said that he was unaware of incidents in the area apart from one when 13 civilians were killed in cross fire. Five former Rwandan army soldiers also died.

In its report released last Tuesday, Amnesty International said that between April and July 1996 more than 650 civilians had been killed and that the RPA appeared to be "using the need to fight the enemy as a pretext for eliminating people whose presence or influence was perceived as a threat to the current Government".

# Theoneste Bagosora and Andre Ntagerura, both detained in Yaounde, Cameroon have been indicted by the Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda on genocide-related crimes in Rwanda in 1994. The indictment charges Bagosora, the former Chief of Cabinet at the Ministry of Defence, with serious violations of humanitarian international law. Ntagerura, who was former Minister of Transport and Communications and a prominent member of the former ruling party, the Mouvement republicain pour la democratie et le developpement, the MRDD, is charged inter alia with genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity. The transfer of the accused to detention facilities in Arusha, Tanzania - where they will be tried - will take place as soon as the President of Cameroon authorizes it. A total of 20 suspects have already been indicted by the Tribunal.

# Relatives of the 10 Belgian peace-keepers killed at the start of the Rwandan genocide in 1994 are in Rwanda to pay their respects to those that died. On Sunday, the 13 relatives visited the residence of former Rwandan prime minister, Agathe Uwilingiyimana, who was being protected by the Belgian peace-keepers shortly before her murder. The relatives also laid wreaths at the barracks of Camp Kigali where the ten peace-keepers were executed.

# The Rwandan government has asked to join the Inter-Governmental Authority on Drought and Desertification (IGADD) and the East African Cooperation in an effort to boost the country's economic recovery. The request was announced by Rwandan President, Pasteur Bizimungu, on the end of a four day visit to Kampala last week.

# A newly created rebel group in Uganda appealed last Monday to the UN for the creation of safe havens for the indigenous people of Uganda's western region of Karamoja. The group, called the Equatorial Nine Peoples Liberation Army (ENPLA), claims that the government of Uganda is carrying out a genocide against the Dodo, Nyangea, Napore, Menning and Ik tribes of northern Karamoja. The ENPLA has called on the people of Karamoja to take up arms and fight for regional autonomy.

In an extraordinary session, the Ugandan Parliament ordered its select committee on defence and internal affairs on Friday to investigate insurgency by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in the northern parts of the country and make recommendations on how to resolve the conflict. LRA rebels say that they are fighting to overthrow Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, but have killed hundreds of civilians this year. Museveni has refused to heed opposition and church calls to hold peace talks with the LRA and recently announced a stepped up fight against rebel groups. This includes sweeping changes in top military ranks, as well an increased defence budget. At the weekend, angry crowds are reported to have stoned to death four members of the LRA following an attack by the armed rebels on the railway station in the northern town of Gulu. Uganda's independent newspaper, The Monitor, says that the death toll in the conflict between the Army and the LRA has reached 327 in the last two weeks - 255 of these civilians. Another 27 people, including 23 students, have been abducted during the same period.

# The Ugandan government, faced with a critical power shortage, said on Saturday that it was reviewing a suspended US$ 82 million contract to extend a hydro-electric power plant, 80 kilometers east of Kampala. The contract, with a Chinese company, was suspended last year after the Ugandan authorities complained about shoddy work.

# Fresh doubts were being voiced last week about the credibility of Uganda's new parliament following a statement denouncing the 27 June parliamentary elections as undemocratic. President Museveni's senior advisor on legal matters, Professor George Kanyeihamba speaking to electoral commissioners and officials said that democracy had been sacrificed on the altar of corruption. The criticism follows that of opposition leaders and is reported to be a further blow to an exercise already condemned as flawed.

# Zairian President Mobuto Sese Seko is reported to be in a clinic in Lausanne, Switzerland for medical tests. A Swiss official said that Mobuto had been granted his visa to Switzerland for "medical reasons", but would not disclose the nature of the treatment.

# Zairian Prime Minister Leon Kengo wa Dondo will meet his Rwandan counterpart in Kigali, Rwanda on Tuesday for talks on the Rwandan refugees in Zaire. Around 1.1 million Rwandan refugees remain in Zaire, most of them having fled there after the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Zaire has said that all Rwandan refugees must return to their own country before scheduled elections in Zaire in 1997.

# Contributions to the UN Consolidated Fund-Raising Document for the Great Lakes region for 1 January - 31 December 1996 now stand at US$ 441,798,472 - some 60% of the total US$ 685,069,151 requested. The largest donor is the USA which has contributed some 34.57% of the total receipts (full details available from IRIN).

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From: UN DHA IRIN <> Date: Mon, 19 Aug 1996 19:11:29 +0300 (GMT+0300) Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Weekly Round Up #22 12-18 August 1996 96.8.18 Message-Id: <>

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

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