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IRIN Emergency Update No. 248 on the Great Lakes (Saturday-Monday, 13-15 September 97) DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: UN investigative team gives ultimatum
The UN team investigating the alleged massacre of refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has given the government of President Laurent-Desire Kabila an ultimatum to allow it to begin work on Wednesday, the mission said today (Monday). The team told Kabila's government that it had two days in which to authorise UN human rights investigators to start their enquiry, AFP reported.
French radio RFI today reported the security situation around the eastern DRC town of Goma as confused. According to an interview with a humanitarian agency official, people in military uniforms had been looting in the town and were chased by local security forces. The melange of rival forces in the area made clear identification difficult, he said.
Twenty-two die in plane crash
Twenty passengers and two crew died when a plane chartered by Feed the Hungry International (FHI) crashed as it attempted to land at an airstrip northwest of Fizi in DRC on Friday. The passengers were due to attend a three-day Christian conference. The plane was on its second approach to the runway at Ilundi, near Mulembe town, when it crashed into a hill and burst into flames, an FHI spokesman said. The governor of South Kivu was due to visit the site today.
Official appology for insecurity
The DRC's National Security Council appologised on Saturday for insecurity caused by bogus members of the DRC army, Kinshasa TV reported. The council, meeting in an extraordinary session under the chairmanship of Major Masasu Mindanga, the special security adviser to Kabila, said the security services are not licensed to arrest any citizen without proper legal proceedure.
RWANDA: Official attacks UNHCR
A top Rwandan official on Saturday accused UNHCR of stalling the return of Rwandan refugees from the DRC. "The UNHCR is not interested in solving the (refugee) problem. They still have massive logistics and staff and they need the refugees to maintain them there," Ephraim Kabaija, president of the commission for the repatriation and reintegration of Rwandan refugees, told AFP. Kabaija applauded the forcible repatriation of some 800 Hutu Rwandan and Burundian refugees from a transit camp in Kisangani on 4 September.
Two out of the 460 Rwandans repatriated were reportedly arrested on their return. A further 73 detained for additional screening were eventually released on 9 September by the Rwandan authorities. Of the 218 Burundian refugees flown to Rwanda, 135 volunteered to go home. The remaining Burundians are at Runda, close to Kigali. UNHCR is discussing with the government their transfer to camps in the southern districts of Butare and Gikongoro. "We strongly oppose their forcible repatriation to Burundi," a UNHCR spokesman said.
Death penalty for top politician
Rwanda's appeal court upheld the death penalty on a former top politician, reliable sources told AFP on Saturday. Frodwald Karamira, a Tutsi who became a leading advocate of Hutu extremism, was sentenced to death in January for inciting genocide and of personally organising some of the killings. He is one of the highest-ranking defendants to go on trial in Kigali. He had pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The remains of some 15,000 genocide victims were buried on Sunday in the Rwandan town of Kanzenze, 30 kms south of Kigali. The burial is part of a series of ceremonies aimed at helping Rwandans come to terms with the 1994 killings, AFP reported.
BURUNDI: Museveni urges Buyoya to make peace
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni urged his Burundian counterpart, Pierre Buyoya, to make peace with Hutu rebels and accept the mediation of Tanzanian elder statesman Julius Nyerere, AFP reported on Saturday. Buyoya was in Kampala to be briefed on an East African summit earlier this month in Dar es Salaam. Museveni told Buyoya that the summit was disappointed by the lack of progress in peace talks and that Nyerere had the full confidence of East African countries, AFP said. Buyoya stressed he was keen to open talks with all sides, but insisted on a "neutral" venue other than the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha. The Dar es Salaam summit was convened after the failure of all-party negotiations in Arusha. The Burundi government boycotted the talks accusing Nyerere of bias and Tanzania of not preventing rebel cross-border attacks. Buyoya travelled to the DRC on Sunday to discuss relations between the two countries and the situation in Burundi, Radio Burundi said.
Dismantling of displace/regrouped camps widened
The Burundian government has extended its planned dismantling of displaced and regrouped camps to Muramvya province, northeast of Bujumbura, humanitarian sources report. According to the government's timetable, some 300,000 people are to be resettled from camps in Kayanza and Muramvya provinces by the end of the year.
Three people died and 17 were wounded in a grenade attack today at Gatumba centre in Rural Bujumbura, the Burundian press agency reported. The Gatumba centre is a transit centre for returnees, notably those who have arrived from the DRC.
UGANDA: Kony "fleeing to Kenya"
The state-owned 'New Vision' reported on Monday that Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony and 700 Lords Resistance Army (LRA) followers are attempting to flee to Kenya. Quoting a recent LRA defector, the paper said Kony's escape across northern Uganda is being aided by agents of his cousin Alice Lakwena, leader of the LRA's predecessor, the Holy Spirit Movement. Lakwena is a refugee in Kenya. The commander of the army's northern-based 4th division doubted that Kony would reach Kenya before the army killed him.
Death toll in Nyahuka attack rises
The death toll in last week's rebel attack on a displaced persons camp at Nyahuka, western Uganda, has risen to at least 46. The bodies of some 13 Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels were discovered on Friday near the town, 15 kms from the DRC border, the 'New Vision' reported. One soldier, eight rebels (two of whom were stoned to death by an angry crowd) and 24 civilians were originally believed to have died in the attack on Thursday morning, launched by some 50 ADF. The 'New Vision' said 31 civilians had been injured. The camp houses 20,000 displaced people and was guarded by a small Ugandan army detachment. ADF rebels also on Friday attacked Mahororo in neighbouring Kibale District, about 100 kms east of Bundibugyo, killing two people.
CONGO: Mediation resumes
African mediators in the Congo crisis resumed talks in Libreville, Gabon, today amid reports of heavy weekend fighting. Congo President Pascal Lissouba was due to attend the mini-summit later in the day after boycotting Sunday's round of talks. New Congolese Prime Minister Bernard Kolelas and rebel leader Denis Sassou Nguesso are taking part in the summit along with several African heads of state. Lissouba had accused the participants of siding with France, which he claims supports his rival, Sassou Nguesso, AFP said.
TANZANIA: National food emergency declared
Tanzanian President Benjamin Mpaka on Monday declared a national food emergency, banned food exports and appealed to western donors for 916,000 tonnes of food aid. "The period between now and December 1997 is especially critical," he told western ambassadors at State House. Mkapa said the food crisis, "indeed famine", was due to drought that swept much of East Africa late last year, Reuters reported.
Meanwhile, according to AFP, the government has waived import duty and sales tax on maize to encourage traders to import. Mkapa said he expected donors to supply 10 percent of the food shortfall. "However, the bulk of the deficit, put at about 824,000 tonnes, will have to be commercially imported," he warned.
SUDAN: Political prisoners remain - paper
Despite the Sudanese government's reported release of all political prisoners, an independent newspaper on Saturday claimed that 62 dissidents remain in jail. The allegation by the 'el-Sharee el-Sayasi' paper was denied by the government.
Nairobi, 15 September 1997, 15:10 gmt
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Date: Mon, 15 Sep 1997 18:13:46 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <email@example.com> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Update 248 for 13-15 Sep 1997 97.9.15 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.91.970915181143.10669Afirstname.lastname@example.org>
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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