Great Lakes: IRIN Update 247, 9/12/97

Great Lakes: IRIN Update 247, 9/12/97


Department of Humanitarian Affairs

Integrated Regional Information Network

for the Great Lakes

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IRIN Emergency Update No. 247 on the Great Lakes (Friday 12 September 97)

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Annan denies UN "soft" on Kabila

Secretary-General Kofi Annan denied yesterday (Thursday) the UN had been "soft" with DRC President Laurent-Desire Kabila, but admitted attempts to investigate alleged human rights abuses in the country had not been "smooth sailing". He told a New York press conference the government's seriousness was being tested, adding that the UN was "determined to get to the facts". Annan said he had warned Kabila that without personal guarantees from the DRC leader that the team could begin work, it would be withdrawn and the Security Council and the world would decide what had to be done. However, Kabila had written to him telling him the mission could proceed, Annan said. "If it gets to a situation where it is impossible for us to do our work, then, of course, we have to draw the right conclusions," he added. After a series of delays and setbacks, the UN mission had hoped to leave for the field tomorrow (Saturday), only to announce last night that the departure had again been put back. AFP quoted a spokesman for the mission, Jose Diaz, as saying the government had reiterated its conditions at a meeting held in Kinshasa yesterday.

Annan also urged a strategy for regional peace in Central Africa, rather than approaching the problem on a country-by-country basis. "We are dealing with new regimes which are to some extent fragile and not that well-established," he said, acknowledging that the "record and pattern" in the region was "disturbing". On DRC in particular, he called for "patience with a regime that is trying to take over in a country that has more or less collapsed". Asked about the future of UN peacekeeping operations, particularly with regard to Rwanda, Annan replied that lessons had been learnt. He conceded that "in some of the situations", peacekeepers had not performed adequately.

DRC, Rwanda reportedly pledge cooperation with UNHCR

Meanwhile, Radio France Internationale reported the DRC and Rwandan ambassadors to the UN said their countries had agreed to cooperate with UNHCR over the issue of Rwandan refugees. It quoted Security Council president Bill Richardson as saying he had been given personal guarantees to this effect by the two men. However, the situation remains unclear as Kabila yesterday welcomed UNHCR's decision to suspend operations in his country.

Repatriations continue from eastern DRC

UNHCR's decision, although not yet implemented, has provoked concern among local residents in Bukavu. They fear the pull-out will entail loss of jobs and damage the local economy. Rehabilitation projects will also be put on hold. Humanitarian sources report that after the forced expulsion of refugees from Kisangani, Rwandan and Burundian refugees in the Shabunda, Lilungu and Katshungu areas are now volunteering for repatriation. Today (Friday), 253 Burundians will be repatriated from Lilungu and a further 53 from Bukavu. It is hoped all repatriations will be completed before the rainy season this month which renders airstrips unusable.

Masisi main topic of discussion between DRC, Rwanda, paper says

'Le Potentiel' daily said the main goal of Kabila's visit to Rwanda earlier this week was to discuss the volatile situation in Masisi. According to the newspaper, Kigali felt threatened by ex-FAR and Interahamwe elements who are regrouping in Masisi and launching cross-border attacks on Rwanda. The article added that Mai-Mai militia activities were internal aimed, not at destabilising Rwanda, but at protecting their lands from "Tutsi occupation".

Kabila rules out national funeral for Mobutu

Kabila stated there would be no national funeral for ex-Zairean leader Mobutu Sese Seko who died at the weekend, 'Le Palmares' reported. Another daily, 'La Tempete des Tropiques' wrote that Mobutu would be "temporarily buried" in Rabat, Morocco, before being transferred to his home in Gbadolite. His wife planned to settle in the USA. The newspaper said it was now up to the Kinshasa authorities to organise the burial in DRC and guarantee the Mobutu family's security.

CONGO (BRAZZAVILLE): Many casualties feared in further raids

Several heads of state are due to meet in Libreville, Gabon, over the weekend in a further bid to try and resolve the civil war in Congo (Brazzaville) between supporters of President Pascal Lissouba and his rival Denis Sassou Nguesso. Pro-Sassou Nguesso news reports said helicopter bombardments by government forces just north of Brazzaville yesterday resulted in many casualties, especially among thousands of displaced people who had sought refuge in the area.

BURUNDI: 29 killed in Bubanza province

Armed gangs carried out an attack in Bubanza province on Wednesday night, killing 29 people and injuring 25 others, Burundi radio reported. The injured were suffering from hoe, club and bullet wounds. The incident forced people to flee to Bubanza town, already crowded with some 20,000 displaced people escaping attacks which the radio said were carried out by the rebel PALIPEHUTU (Parti pour la liberation du peuple hutu) group.

IDP camps closed near Bujumbura

Two displaced people's camps near Bujumbura have been closed down for security reasons, the armed forces announced, according to AFP. The camps, sheltering thousands of displaced Hutus, were believed to hide hardline elements suspected of carrying out murders and armed robberies around Bujumbura in recent months. The camps were set up in 1994 after army soldiers combed Bujumbura's predominantly Hutu Kamenge district to flush out rebels.

Buyoya due in Kampala

President Pierre Buyoya is due in Kampala today at the invitation of his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni, Burundi radio reported. The Ugandan 'New Vision' recalled that Museveni had been tasked by last week's Dar es Salaam summit to convey the meeting's decisions to Buyoya.

TANZANIA: Premier appeals for food aid

Prime Minister Frederick Sumaye officially anounced his country was suffering from famine and appealed to the international community for food aid. Tanzanian radio quoted him as saying yesterday that 900,000 MTs of food were required to overcome the famine due to the effects of drought and environmental degradation. The premier said crisis committees had been set up throughout the country to oversee food rationing and prevent misuses.

UGANDA: 21 killed in rebel attack

A dawn attack launched by Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels on a displaced people's camp yesterday left 21 civilians dead, the state-owned 'New Vision' reported today. The incident occurred in Nyahuka, 15km from the western town of Bundibugyo. The article said heavy fighting ensued as the army "responded quickly, repulsing the rebels". Eight rebels were killed, according to the armed forces, who added that the ADF attack was launched from neighbouring DRC.

Many feared dead in army shelling

The privately-owned 'Monitor' today wrote many people were feared dead or injured in army shelling of rebel positions in the northern Aswa and Omoro areas three days ago. Local residents said shells landed "indiscriminately" during all-night shelling on Tuesday.

KENYA: Renewed clashes in Mombasa

Renewed clashes broke out in the Mombasa area yesterday, in which two people were killed and several injured. Kenyan radio said security officers tried to repel raiders who overran Diani police station, south of the city. The raiders then reportedly went on to torch several houses in neighbouring villages. According to the radio, the two who died were part of the gang which was armed. Two guns were reportedly recovered. Kenya News Agency said the attackers are believed to be hiding out in nearby caves. The Kenyan opposition and government have traded accusations of responsibility for the violence, which so far has claimed over 50 lives since it erupted last month.

Nairobi, 12 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: Fri, 12 Sep 1997 18:04:09 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Update 247 for 12 Sep 1997 97.9.12 Message-ID: <>

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

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