IRIN Emergency Update No. 225 on the Great Lakes, 8/7/97

IRIN Emergency Update No. 225 on the Great Lakes, 8/7/97


Department of Humanitarian Affairs

Integrated Regional Information Network

for the Great Lakes

Tel: +254 2 622147

Fax: +254 2 622129


IRIN Emergency Update No. 225 on the Great Lakes (Thursday 7 August 1997)

* A general strike called for Friday in Kenya by the National Convention Executive Committee (NCEC) to press for constitutional reforms has split the parliamentary opposition, the 'Daily Nation' reported today. While two opposition party leaders have condemned the mass action call, 30 MPs have publicly endorsed the stayaway. FORD-Kenya leader Kijana Wamalwa said in a statement Tuesday that the strike was unnecessary as the government had agreed to dialogue with opposition parties. However, the 30 MPs yesterday said they would disrupt parliamentary debate on two government reforms bills unless they are first discussed with the NCEC, a pro-reform umbrella organisation of opposition political parties and civil society groups. Meanwhile, several hundred activists of the ruling KANU party took to the streets of Nairobi today in a show of support for President Daniel arap Moi.

* The DRC and Angola have signed a series of defence and border security agreements following a two day visit to Luanda by DRC President Laurent-Desire Kabila. Interviewed on Angolan radio today, Interior Minister Andre Pitra Petroff said the agreements included Angola's training of DRC border police and the "possible" supply of equipment. An accord was also signed on the regulation of trade along the common border, and bilateral agreements are expected on education, health, fisheries and oil. Kabila left Luanda yesterday.

* Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa has condemned the parties in the Burundian conflict for "frustrating regional efforts towards peace" the Kenyan Daily Nation reported today. Mkapa, on an official visit to Uganda, said the parties are "looking at an illusionary military victory." Referring to the forthcoming all-party peace talks in the Tanzanian town of Arusha on 25 August, Mkapa urged "the stakeholders in Burundi not to miss this chance for peace in their country".

* The security situation remains tense in the Lukole refugee camp in Tanzania's northwest Ngara region with political rivalry resurfacing between the Burundian Hutu opposition groups CNDD and Palipehutu, according to aid agencies. Tanzanian state-owned radio today said that Foreign Affairs Minister Jakaya Kikwete has firmly denied allegations by Bujumbura that Tanzania was supporting Burundian opposition groups. Meanwhile, the Tanzanian army has stepped up patrols and arrested an unspecified number of 'bandits' on the Benaco-Rusomo road in the Ngara region, aid agencies said. AFP reports that Rwandan Hutu refugees who avoided repatriation last year are in hiding in the area and ambushing vehicles on the roads.

Burundian refugees are returning home voluntarily from Tanzania at the rate of about 3,000 a month, UNHCR says. Since the start of the year, some 13,000 people have returned home from Lukole refugee camp.

* Amnesty International fears that Burundi FRODEBU MP Paul Sirahenda "may have been targeted because of his political opposition to the government". The MP and his driver have been missing, presumed dead, since their burnt-out car was found on 3 August near the Tanzanian border. Amnesty, citing unconfirmed reports in a statement yesterday said the MP was arrested at Mutobo, Makamba province, as he was preparing to cross the border and was "driven away in a military jeep to an unknown destination." The rights group alleges a "pattern of human rights violations" against FRODEBU members. Twenty-two senior party officials have been killed since 1993. National Assembly Speaker Leonce Ngendakumana told the BBC Kirundi service: "we don't know how he died. We tried to get information from military authorities but they told us that they were still investigating."

* Security has deteriorated at Loukolela in northern Congo (Brazzaville) as a result of fighting between government forces and the militia of former president Denis Sassou Nguesso, humanitarian sources say. Despite the security situation, 130 Rwandan refugees were repatriated between 21-26 July bringing the total number returned to 876. There were 8,349 remaining refugees around the area as of 26 July.

* The UN Security Council yesterday endorsed the continued role in the CAR of the 800-man Inter-African Mission to Monitor the Implementation of the Bangui Agreements (MISAB). It also authorised the use of force "if necessary" to ensure the security and freedom of movement of the mission's personnel. The authorisation will be reviewed after three months. Soldiers from six African nations were deployed to the CAR in February to monitor accords putting an end to a long-running army mutiny.

* Two senior Sudanese opposition leaders have appealed to Arab states for humanitarian aid for areas under their control, AFP reported yesterday. Former prime minister Sadiq al-Mahdi and Mohammed Osman al-Mirghani asked Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo Wednesday to approach Arab countries on their behalf, according to the head of the Cairo office of al-Mahdi's Umma party. The aid would go to Sudanese civilians living in exile or regions 'liberated' by the umbrella opposition group, the National Democratic Alliance.

* Sudan is to ask for compensation from countries and companies that manufacture landmines, according to the Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRC). Mines are widely used in Sudan's 14-year civil war and the SRC wants the manufacturers to contribute to a planned fund to aid mine blast victims, AFP said yesterday.

Nairobi, 7 August 1997, 15:00 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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