Great Lakes: IRIN Update 238, 8/29/97

Great Lakes: IRIN Update 238, 8/29/97


Department of Humanitarian Affairs

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IRIN Emergency Update No. 238 on the Great Lakes (Friday 29 August 1997)


* Mohamed Sahnoun, the Joint UN/OAU Special Representative for the Great Lakes Region will arrive in the DRC to discuss the new conditions thrown up by Kinshasa stalling the UN Secretary-General's enquiry into alleged massacres. UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said yesterday that the Secretary-General Kofi Annan had asked Sahnoun to go to Kinshasa "as quickly as possible". He hoped that the new conditions - contained in a letter to Annan signed by two DRC ministers - were "merely a matter of internal communications within the Congolese government and that they can be resolved and that the mission can continue its important work." A UN spokesman in Geneva, John Mills, acknowledged there was a sense of "frustration and impatience" with the difficulties being encountered.

The letter received from Kinshasa Wednesday demanded that the investigation team stop its work until it is joined by an OAU mission. It also called for the removal of UN team leader, Togolese citizen Koffi Ameda, because according to RFI, the Togolese government previously had good relations with former Zairean president Mobutu Sese Seko. Kinshasa also reportedly said it could not guarantee security in eastern DRC and accused the team of meeting opposition leaders, the French radio claimed. Eckhard said the new conditions were "inconsistent" with the understanding reached between the Secretary-General and DRC President Laurent-Desire Kabila on the mission's terms of reference. UN Security Council President Sir John Weston noted that "in light of the somewhat confusing signals that have emerged, we will have to see what Mr. Sahnoun comes back with." US ambassador to the UN, Bill Richardson, stressed: "we believe that the UN investigation mission should not be hampered. If it turns out it is being hampered, it would affect our (US) policy towards Kabila," AFP reported.

* The DRC newspaper 'La Reference Plus' has reported increased tensions within the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (ADFL) between 'Rwandan' and Congolese units. The paper said last week that clashes in Kinshasa's CETA camp on 23 August led to the death of six soldiers. It also claimed that President Laurent-Desire Kabila has dispersed around the country Katangese gendarmes who played a decisive role in the capture of Kinshasa. According to 'La Reference Plus', discontent has been brewing among the gendarmes over the disappearance of their commander Gen. Delphin Muland, who was called to Lumumbashi by Kabila two days before Kinshasa's fall. The local human rights group AZADHO has alleged that Muland was arrested on his arrival in the city. Kabila had reportedly previously promised Muland the post of chief-of-staff in the post-liberation DRC.

* DRC president Laurent-Desire Kabila has received mixed reviews over his first 100 days according to an opinion poll carried last week by the newspaper 'Le Potentiel'. The polling by International Consulting and Study Office (BERCI) found that Kabila scored an approval rate of 51 per cent on a sample of just over 1,000 people in 22 communes of Kinshasa. His regime was described as 'dictatorial' by 52 per cent of respondents and 86 percent recommended a meeting between Kabila and opposition leaders. The government was adjudged not to respect human rights by 73 per cent of those polled and 54 per cent thought the judiciary is not independent.

* 'Alliance pour la Resistance Democratique', a new Great lakes rebel movement formed to 'liberate' eastern DRC, is made up largely of Simba and Bembe peoples, local sources in Goma say. Celestin Anzaluni Bembe, one of its leaders, is a politician from the Fizi area and was the 'first vice-president' in Mobutu Sese Seko's last government. He is allegedly well-known for his anti-Tutsi sentiments. The alliance was recently formed in Tanzania with a military headquarters in Kigoma, according to the paper 'La Reference Plus'. Another of its leaders is apparently Leonard Nyangoma, head of Burundi's rebel National Council for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD).


* The UN Security Council imposed diplomatic sanctions on Angola's former rebel movement UNITA Thursday for failing to comply with the Lusaka peace accords, news agencies report. The sanctions are scheduled to go into effect on 30 September unless the UN Secretary-General informs the Council that UNITA has taken "concrete and irreversible" steps to meet its obligations, including the demilitarisation of all its forces, ensuring the non-partisanship of its radio station and cooperation in the normalisation of state administration. The resolution bans UNITA officials from entering UN member countries and orders the closure of the movement's foreign missions. An international embargo on flights to UNITA-held territory and provision of a wide-range of aviation services was also agreed. The resolution promises "to consider the imposition of further measures, such as trade and financial restrictions, if UNITA does not fully comply" with the peace process.

However, according to UNITA representative Rui Oliveira interviewed by Portuguese radio Antena 1, Luanda is "engaged in a massive exercise of poisoning opinions in the Security Council" and has its "war machine ready to start the war as soon as sanctions are applied." Angola's ambassador to the UN also yesterday warned that war "is imminent". Afonso Van Dunem "Mbinda" referred to UNITA's military preparations including the re-recruitment of thousands of previously demobilised soldiers.


* Burundian parties attending the abortive Arusha peace talks failed to agree a joint statement Thursday. The main Hutu rebel National Council for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD) refused to sign a statement along with, among others, the Hutu-majority Burundian Democratic Front (FRODEBU) and two hardline Tutsi parties that called for continued sanctions against Burundi to force the resignation of military leader Pierre Buyoya. CNDD said it would not be linked to elements which it accused of perpetrating massacres, the BBC Kirundi service said. CNDD instead called for new peace talks in Rome with the government before a resumption of negotiations in Arusha. Buyoya boycotted the Arusha meeting Monday accusing mediator Julius Nyerere and the Tanzanian government of bias and poor preparation for the talks.


* Rebel Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA) leader John Garang will not attend talks on the Sudan conflict hosted by South African president Nelson Mandela, news agencies report. Earlier this month Mandela said he would facilitate a meeting between Garang and Sudanese president Omar al-Beshir in a bid to find a solution to the country's 14-year civil war. After hour-long talks with Garang in Cape Town Thursday, Mandela said the meeting would go ahead at the weekend but between regional rivals Beshir and Ugandan leader Yoweri Museveni. Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe has also been invited in his capacity as chairman of the OAU. According to an SPLA spokesman in Nairobi, Garang will not negotiate with Beshir outside the IGAD framework. The seven-nation regional Inter-Governmental Authority on Development has been shepherding a peace process which recently received a boost when Sudan overcame its previous objections and signed a declaration of principles. These include commitments on self-determination, a secular constitution and the recognition of the multi-cultural nature of the country. However, a regional meeting of foreign ministers to plan negotiations between the two sides was postponed this month by IGAD chairman, Kenyan president Daniel arap Moi.

* Human Rights Watch/Africa has called on South Africa to guarantee that its weapons are not used by warring parties in the Sudan. The rights group, in a letter to President Nelson Mandela Thursday, also asked for measures to ensure that third parties do not circumvent Pretoria's arms embargo and resell South African weapons in the Sudan, AFP reported.


* The United Nations Common Air Services (UNCAS) is to take full charge of the entire UN-K95 Flight Operations between Nairobi and the Great Lakes Region with effect from 15 September. UNCAS is under the management of WFP in Nairobi.

* A clarification to IRIN Emergency Update 236. In the item on Rwandan refugee figures for Uganda, please note that the figure of 2,800 Rwandan refugees refers to the new caseload of Rwandan Hutus who fled to the DRC in 1994 and then crossed into Uganda. The total number of Rwandan refugees in Uganda is 13,203 according to UNHCR-Kampala.

Nairobi, 29 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".]

Date: Fri, 29 Aug 1997 18:18:04 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Update 238 for 29 Aug 1997 97.8.29 Message-ID: <>

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

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