Great Lakes: IRIN Update 240, 9/3/97

Great Lakes: IRIN Update 240, 9/3/97


Department of Humanitarian Affairs

Integrated Regional Information Network

for the Great Lakes

Tel: +254 2 622147

Fax: +254 2 622129


IRIN Emergency Update No. 240 on the Great Lakes (Wednesday 3 September 1997)

DRC: UN mission finally gets go-ahead

* After more than a week of wrangling, the UN human rights investigative mission finally received the go-ahead to start work, UN spokesman Fred Eckhard announced in New York. News organisations reported Eckhard as telling a press conference yesterday (Tuesday) the Democratic Republic of Congo (former Zaire) had lifted all objections to the mission. AFP reported DRC Foreign Minister Bizima Karaha had informed UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan of the government's decision in a telephone call on Monday, but that the world body was still awaiting written confirmation. However, in a report from Kinshasa, AFP reported a special visit to DRC by the joint UN/OAU Special Representative for the Great Lakes region Mohamed Sahnoun to try and resolve the problem had been called off. "Mr Sahnoun will no longer come to Kinshasa," AFP quoted the UN mission's spokeswoman, Myriam Dessables, as saying. * On Sunday, DRC Justice Minister Celestin Luangi had become the latest senior government official to criticise the UN initiative, accusing the mission of "deviating" from its assigned task and prior agreements. There was no immediate explanation for the abrupt change of government position, but on Monday the United States said it would reconsider its policy towards Kabila if the DRC hampered the UN mission. "We are very concerned by the conditions," AFP quoted Washington's ambassador to the UN, Bill Richardson, as saying. "If it appeared it (the mission) was hampered, it would affect our policy towards Kabila," he said.

DRC: First refugees repatriated from Kigoma, more unrest reported in east

* Following a tripartite agreement between the DRC, Tanzania and UNHCR, 573 Congolese refugees have returned to Uvira. The refugees from Nyarugusu and Lugufu camps left Kigoma port on Lake Tanganyika on Monday evening and arrived at Uvira on Tuesday morning. Humanitarian sources have said an estimated 12,000-13,000 refugees have registered to repatriate.

Meanwhile, humanitarian sources reported rebel groups had taken over the town of Bunyakiri after it was abandoned by Kabila's troops and said the situation around Goma was "very tense". One Bukavu-based aid worker said Bunyakiri, about 80 km north of Bukavu, was believed to have been taken by rebels at the end of last week. BURUNDI: Government proposes new talks on September 29 * Burundi's embattled government has proposed a new date of September 29 for peace talks to end the country's civil war, but said they should not be held in Tanzania, where talks failed last week, according to several news reports. The statement was released only a few hours before a regional ministerial meeting was due to open in the Tanzanian city of Dar es Salaam today (Wednesday), ahead of a summit tomorrow. Reuters reported senior diplomats as saying the summit would decide whether to toughen sanctions against Burundi's military government. All-party talks, under the mediation of former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere, collapsed last week after the Burundian authorities declined to attend. Bujumbura accused Nyerere of taking sides after he backed moves to maintain sanctions against the central African state for failing to initiate democratic reforms.

BURUNDI: Kenya's Moi to boycott summit

* Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi will be a key absentee from the summit in Dar es Salaam, Reuters reports. In a report from the port city, it said Moi, one of Africa's longest-serving leaders, was opposed to tightening sanctions while the present embargo, imposed after last July's coup, was blatantly flouted. The presidents of Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe and OAU Secretary-General Salim Ahmed Salim are expected to attend. Meanwhile, radio Burundi reported on Tuesday that more refugees had been repatriated from Rwanda. It said some 400 refugees were repatriated by the UNHCR last week and a further 200 crossed the border back home on Monday. SUDAN: Rebels claim advances in east * Sudan's opposition said its fighters had captured a garrison near the border with Eritrea and were advancing on the strategic Port Sudan road, AFP reported on Tuesday. In a statement distributed in the Eritrean capital Asmara, spokesman Abdourahman Said said the "joint command" of the opposition umbrella group, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), had "managed to liberate ... the area, village and strategic garrison of Ardawit." As part of a new regional drive to end the 14-year civil war in the country, Zambia's President Chiluba said he was ready to play a leading role in trying to resolve the conflict. His offer followed last weekend's mediation efforts by South Africa's President Nelson Mandela. Mandela hosted face-to-face talks between Sudan's Omar al Bashir and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, a harsh critic of Khartoum's alleged subversion of neighbouring governments. Both sides said the talks made progress, but regional analysts stressed there had been no decision taken on fixing a date for a new meeting. Meanwhile, Sudanese newspapers have reported displaced people dying from disease in the southeast of the vast Afro-Arab country. Provincial Commissioner Abdallah Awad Al-Tayeb told Wednesday's independent Al-Alwan daily from Ad Damazin, the state capital, that many people displaced by armed rebels last January have died in camps in Kurmuk and Blue Nile state, news agencies reported.

RWANDA: Prosecutor demands prison terms for RPA officers

* The prosecutor of Kigali's military court has requested 15-year prison terms for four army officers accused of massacring some 100 civilians in northwestern Rwanda in September 1995, AFP reported from Kigali on Tuesday. Majors Georges Rwigamba and Bagurete Ruzibiza, and Lieutenants Emmanuel Rutayasire and Vincent Sano, of the Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) are accused of killing between 80 and 110 people in Kanama, near Gisenyi, after Hutu guerrillas killed an RPA officer. Nairobi, 3 September 1997, 15:30 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: Wed, 3 Sep 1997 18:42:06 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Update 240 for 3 Sep 1997 97.9.3 Message-ID: <>

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

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