IRIN Emergency Update No. 228 on the Great Lakes, 8/13/97

IRIN Emergency Update No. 228 on the Great Lakes, 8/13/97

Department of Humanitarian Affairs

Integrated Regional Information Network

for the Great Lakes

Tel: +254 2 622147

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IRIN Emergency Update No. 228 on the Great Lakes (Wednesday 13 August 1997)

* A month of clashes between rival Hutu rebel groups in northwestern Burundi has left an estimated 600 civilians dead and displaced thousands, local sources report. The fighting in Citiboke and Bubanza provinces, apparently between the armed wing of the National Council for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD) and the Party for the Liberation of the Hutu People (Palipehutu), was allegedly sparked by the CNDD's decision to attend forthcoming peace talks with the government in Arusha, Tanzania. According to one source, Palipehutu "accused CNDD of treason". The rivalry also appears related to Palipehutu's perceived loss of support to CNDD, particularly in Bubanza. Some 10,000 people have fled the hills in the province for Bubanza town and are in need of food and shelter. But a CNDD spokesman in Brussels, interviewed by the BBC, denied yesterday that CNDD was battling Palipehutu and instead claimed they were fighting an armed group organised by the government. Describing Palipehutu as "tribalist" and the ideological difference between the two groups as "very, very big", he however added, "it is not so big as to be the source of military fighting."

* Foreign ministers of the DRC, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda are due to meet in Kampala Saturday to review sanctions on Burundi according to an announcement by DRC Foreign Minister, Bizima Karaha, AFP reported yesterday. Sanctions were imposed on Burundi last year following the military coup by Major Pierre Buyoya. * A former Rwandan army officer accused of taking part in the 1994 genocide was arrested in the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa and transferred to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) detention facility in Arusha, Tanzania, AFP reported today. Samuel Manishimwe, the former military commander in Cyangugu, was arrested on Monday. His detention brings to nine the number of suspects picked up in Kenya by the UN warcrimes tribunal since 18 July. Two accused, a former minister Pauline Nyiramasuhuko and her son Shalome Ntanobari, have already been charged by the court. Six other suspects will appear before the tribunal today for a decision on the extension of their detention. Under ICTR rules, the court cannot hold suspects for longer than 30 days without an extension ruling.

* Three people have been sentenced to death on genocide charges by a Rwandan court and ordered to pay a total of US$ 1.5 million in damages, AFP said yesterday, citing reliable sources. The accused are to appeal the verdict by a court in Gitarama, southern Rwanda. According to a July UN Human Rights Field Office for Rwanda (HRFOR) report, Rwandan courts have passed death sentences on 61 people out of 142 who have been tried for genocide this year.

* Rwandan President Pascal Bizimungu arrived in the DRC yesterday. He joins Ugandan leader Yoweri Museveni who landed in Kinshasa Monday and, according to local press reports, Tanzanian President Benjamin Mpaka. The trioka are attending what news agencies describe as a summit of key allies of DRC President Laurent-Desire Kabila.

* Ms Justine Kasavubu is expected to be given the post of the DRC's resident minister in Belgium where she will liaise with the EU and have a major say in foreign policy, regional analysts say. Kasavubu, the daughter of the country's first president, was relieved of her government service portfolio in a cabinet reshuffle on 9 August.

* A sit-in was organised by health workers in Kinshasa this morning ahead of a general strike by government employees scheduled for tomorrow over the non-payment of salaries, local sources report. The health workers have not been paid for the past three months.

* The Ugandan army is considering creating 'protected villages' in the northwestern West Nile region if insurgency by Ugandan National Rescue Front (UNRF) rebels continues, the state-owned 'New Vision' said Tuesday. 'Protected villages', located near military posts, have been established in northern Uganda since last year where government forces are battling the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). However, relocated from their land, the displaced face hardships in the camps. WFP warned in March that they could become totally dependent on food aid.

* A short-lived ceasefire collapsed in Congo-Brazzaville Tuesday as the forces of President Pascal Lissouba and political rival Denis Sassou Nguesso traded artillery fire. AFP reported that some rounds landed across the river in Kinshasa and according to local inhabitants the DRC army returned fire.

* The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) reports that "the reluctance in recent weeks" of both the Angolan government and UNITA to demobilise "appears to have diminished" ahead of a 15 August report by the UN Secretary-General on Angola to the Security Council. However, reports continue of military build-ups by both sides. According to IOM, it has assisted a total of 23,334 demoblised soldiers and 43,506 dependents and numbers are set to rise with conditions in place for operations to begin in Moxico and Cuando Cubango provinces.

* President Nelson Mandela urged Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir "to face realistically" that he has to make peace with rebel chief John Garang, SAPA reported yesterday. Mandela stressed that until a ceasefire is agreed there can be "no permanent peace". Bashir, on an official visit to South Africa, said he supported the call for a ceasefire but would not be drawn on whether he would sit down in the near future and negotiate directly with Garang.

* The Kenyan police have arrested and arraigned in courts some 200 people in connection with the violence surrounding Friday's one-day national strike in which four people died. Kenyan radio said yesterday that those arrested had been charged with various offences including incitement to violence and looting. On Monday, the pro-democracy umbrella National Convention Executive Council (NCEC), which called the strike to press for constitutional reforms, said it would suspend further protests for 10 days "to give dialogue a chance". Religious leaders are seeking to faciliate talks between the government and opposition and met today to choose a chief mediator, AFP reported. The meeting comes amid speculation that President Daniel arap Moi will call snap elections. Moi warned yesterday: "The elections are around the corner, so be prepared."

Nairobi, 13 August 1997, 15:15 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".]

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

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