Great Lakes: IRIN Update 244, 9/9/97

Great Lakes: IRIN Update 244, 9/9/97


Department of Humanitarian Affairs

Integrated Regional Information Network

for the Great Lakes

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IRIN Emergency Update No. 244 on the Great Lakes (Tuesday 9 September 1997)

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: UNHCR to suspend Rwandan refugee operations

* UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Sadako Ogata, will announce in New York today (Tuesday) the suspension of her agency's operations in DRC related to Rwandan refugees. UNHCR says the unprecedented step is being taken in view of DRC's complete disregard for international humanitarian norms. The suspension includes rehabilitation projects in the Kivu region. The operations would only be resumed if the DRC gives suitable guarantees of observance of relevant conventions and safety of humanitarian workers.

DRC: UN probe still beset by problems

* Problems continued to dog the UN human rights investigation in DRC with a new set of conditions imposed by President Laurent-Desire Kabila. In a letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the DRC leader said the probe could begin immediately but should only cover eastern parts of DRC and be limited to the period before Kabila came to power, BBC radio reported today. A UN spokesman yesterday told reporters that the mission should be given a chance to succeed. "Let's not assume conspiracies to obstruct justice," he said, in reply to reporters' questions.

DRC: Mobutu death marks end of an era, UN says

* UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan sent condolences to the family of ex-Zairean leader Mobutu Sese Seko who died in Morocco on Sunday night. A UN spokesman said Mobutu's death marked the passing of an era and the international community must now focus on helping the new DRC government cope with the "staggering challenges that it has inherited". According to the French daily 'Liberation' today, Mobutu had suffered from a massive loss of blood and weighed less than 40 kg at the time of his death. 'Liberation' noted that shortly after arriving in Morocco in May, Mobutu was transferred to a hotel near a village called Kabila.

DRC: Burundian refugees volunteer for repatriation

* UNHCR was today due to fly home 90 Burundian refugees who had volunteered for repatriation from the Shabunda, Lilungu, Katshungu area. They will be flown to Bujumbura.

RWANDA: Kabila calls for crushing "harmful forces"

* DRC President Kabila continued his visit to Rwanda today during which he thanked the Rwandan people for their support during his bid to oust Mobutu. His Rwandan counterpart Pasteur Bizimungu in turn expressed gratitude to Kabila for helping Rwanda "get rid of the evil forces that were poised to return . . . to finish off the genocide." According to the Rwanda News Agency, Kabila stressed the need to crush pockets of "harmful forces" which were regrouping in the region.

RWANDA: DRC refugees return to Mudende camp

* Thousands of refugees who fled the Mudende camp in Gisenyi prefecture last month are reported to be returning, AFP said. It quoted a UNHCR spokesman as saying as of today some 7,350 people were in the camp, which houses mostly DRC refugees. Thousands fled after 148 refugees were massacred by suspected Interahamwe militia on August 22. Tension, however, was still reported to be high.

BURUNDI: Peace process reported still on track

* Burundian Defence Minister Colonel Firmin Sinzoyiheba yesterday stressed his country would carry on with the peace process despite the "unsatisfactory" outcome of the Dar es Salaam regional summit last Thursday. He told BBC Kirundi radio that the peace process was not dead, but blamed mediator Julius Nyerere for not visiting conflict areas. The minister reiterated that problems existed both with the mediator and regarding relations with Tanzania. Complaints lodged with the UN and OAU over Tanzania's attitude towards Burundi had gone unheeded, he claimed, adding that the peace process would be more credible if the mediator was given an assistant.

BURUNDI: Attackers kill 12 in separate incidents

* Three Tutsi civilians were killed in an attack on military positions at a displaced people's camp, north of Bujumbura, the Agence Burundaise de Presse (ABP) reported. It accused rebels of carrying out the attack on the camp in Gasenyi Sunday night, and said one attacker was killed by security forces. In another incident, Burundi radio today said rebels battered nine people to death and injured 10 others in an attack near the northwest town of Bubanza.

CONGO (BRAZZAVILLE): Brazzaville mayor appointed premier

* Brazzaville mayor Bernard Kolelas was yesterday (Monday) named prime minister in a new national unity government aimed at ending the three-month civil war in Congo. President Pascal Lissouba, whose forces are locked in battle with militia loyal to ex-president Denis Sassou Nguesso, made the announcement in a radio broadcast. Kolelas, who has been attempting to mediate between the two sides, is widely regarded as one of the few people who may restore peace to the shattered country.

SUDAN: Armed forces deny rebels advancing on Rokon town

* The Sudanese armed forces have denied that rebels of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) are advancing on the town of Rokon, near Juba, stressing that it is under government control. According to Sudanese radio, the army described Rokon as calm and peaceful. A Sudanese newspaper on Sunday claimed Ugandan troops and SPLA rebels were closing in on the town.

UGANDA: Local Red Cross shuts northwest camps

* The Ugandan Red Cross is reported to have closed several refugee camps in northwest Uganda after an estimated 26,000 Sudanese occupants returned home. AFP quoted an official as saying the infrastructure of the camps in Koboko and Arua districts would be handed over to local communities. The refugees are said to have returned to areas of southern Sudan "liberated" by the SPLA. AFP noted that other camps situated deeper inside Uganda still house an estimated 200,000 Sudanese refugees.

Nairobi, 9 September 1997, 15:00 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: Tue, 9 Sep 1997 18:09:28 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Update 244 for 9 Sep 1997 97.9.9 Message-ID: <>

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

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