IRIN Emergency Update No. 224 on the Great Lakes, 8/6/97

IRIN Emergency Update No. 224 on the Great Lakes, 8/6/97


Department of Humanitarian Affairs

Integrated Regional Information Network

for the Great Lakes

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IRIN Emergency Update No. 224 on the Great Lakes (Wednesday 6 August 1997)

* Burundi's parliament wants to work with official mediator, former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere in forthcoming peace talks between the government and rebels, PANA reported Monday. "The National Assembly will play the role of moderator between the Burundian brothers", House Speaker Leonce Ngendakumana suggested. Burundi's all party peace talks are expected to take place in Arusha on 25 August. Ngendakumana cautioned that the meeting may fail if the parties decided to tackle the most contentious issues, such as army reform and the return to constitutional legality as was the case in the Rome earlier this year. "We must draw the required lessons from the Rome experience," the speaker advised. "What will be negotiated in Arusha will not be power per se, but rather a project for society."

* A FRODEBU MP was ambushed and killed along with his driver in southern Burundi at the weekend as he was travelling to Tanzania, agencies report. Paul Sirabahenda was the 23rd MP of the mainly Hutu party to have been killed since the assassination of elected Hutu President Melchior Ndadaye in a 1993 coup attempt.

* Rwandan radio announced yesterday that four insurgents were killed and one captured in Kigali Rural prefecture by security forces and civilian collaborators.

* An EU ministerial delegation which visited DRC on 4 and 5 August has expressed satisfaction over talks held with DRC officials. A press statement issued today by Luxembourg, which currently holds the EU presidency, described the talks as constructive and said the delegation would recommend the resumption of economic cooperation, suspended in 1992, given the "favourable political climate" in DRC. The EU ministerial troika, made up of Luxembourg, Netherlands and UK, also hailed DRC's democratisation process and pledged the EU's assistance in democratisation and reconstruction. The two sides also discussed the refugee issue, with the EU welcoming DRC's acceptance of the UN's investigative mission. The UN was urged to "proceed without delay", the press statement said.

* The DRC's deputy interior minister has warned of a "destabalisation" plot against the government. General Faustin Munene alleged in a local radio interview reported by AFP that opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDSP) and Antoine Gisenga head of the Unified Lumumbist Party (PALU) were planning demonstrations, and "manipulating young people who loot and kill civilians" in an attempt to discredit the government. Munene cautioned against "any attempt at rebellion" in the DRC.

* Uganda is to train troops of the DRC, the state-owned 'New Vision' said yesterday, with the first contingent of 50 soldiers expected to arrive by the end of the month. They will be instructed in combat operations techniques, "handling of civilians in war situations" and "politicisation". According to the private 'Monitor' newspaper, Uganda is also to set up and train a DRC anti-smuggling unit that will target the flow of illegal diamonds from the country. Both the soldiers and the anti-smuggling force will apparently be trained at Kaweta, 100 kms from Kampala.

* Stressing regional cooperation, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said the Great Lakes are now "Bantuphone" as a result of the area's new political arrangement, the 'Daily Nation' newspaper reported today. Opening talks in Kampala Tuesday with Tanzanian President Benjamin Mpaka, Museveni said his government is seeking greater integration with friendly neighbours through improved road networks in the region. Mpaka is in Uganda on a four day visit.

* Five Ugandans have been charged with treason over the alleged smuggling of weapons destined for the rebel Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). The five were arrested in Arua, northwestern Uganda when a combined police and army raid uncovered guns, ammunition and military uniforms, the 'New Vision' reported yesterday. The Ugandan authorities claim the equipment came from the southern Sudanese town of Juba and was to have been ferried to the ADF, which is fighting government forces and attacking villages in western Uganda.

Meanwhile, the Ugandan police defused a grenade late Monday planted in a Kampala theatre, AFP reported. The discovery comes in the wake of three grenade attacks in the city in the past week which have killed 10 people and injured 40 others.

* Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has applauded the DRC government's "major effort ... to stabilise the country politically and economically." In a speech at a dinner given for DRC President Laurent-Desire Kabila broadcast by Angolan TV yesterday, Dos Santos asked the international community to "be patient and support the Congolese government's programmes" and added that "short, but firm and safe steps" are better. Kabila arrived in Angola Tuesday for a two day visit aimed at strengthening bilateral ties.

* A special Joint Defence and Security Subcommission has recommended more border posts and tighter policing along the Angolan-Congo (Brazzaville) border, Angolan TV said yesterday. The commission met in Cabinda last week to review security concerns, particularly the movement of opposition UNITA forces between the two countries. The commission, led by Angolan Interior Minister Santana Andre Pitra Petroff and his Congolese counterpart Philippe Bikinkita, also stressed the need for the voluntary repatriation of Angolan refugees and the "systematic expulsion of all individuals who pose a threat to the security of either country".

IRIN's daily update no.222 of 1 August 1997 contained a paragraph on Angolan-Democratic Republic of Congo talks in Cabinda. This should have been Angolan-Congo (Brazzaville) talks.

* Angola has reportedly asked Botswana, Namibia and South Africa to restrict flights into UNITA-held territory, according to an unnamed Western diplomat quoted by Reuters yesterday. International concern is mounting that Angola is on the brink of slipping into another round of civil war. UNITA has until 15 August to answer a number of key UN Security Council demands over its demilitarization and return of territory to central government administration. A response by UNITA Sunday was rejected as "unacceptable" by the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative and the three observer states to the peace process.

* The Sudanese government would welcome a mediation effort by neighbouring DRC in its long-running civil war with the Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA), AFP quoted press reports today as saying. Haider Haj Siddek, Sudan's ambassador-designate to Kinshasa said Khartoum "will keep the door open to this and all other peace efforts." The statement follows a mediation offer made last month by DRC Agriculture Minister Paul Bondoma on a trip to Sudan.

Nairobi, 6 August 1997, 14:40 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".]

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

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