Great Lakes: IRIN Update 252, 9/19/97

Great Lakes: IRIN Update 252, 9/19/97


Department of Humanitarian Affairs

Integrated Regional Information Network

for the Great Lakes

Tel: +254 2 622147

Fax: +254 2 622129


IRIN Emergency Update No. 252 on the Great Lakes (Friday, 19 September 97)

BURUNDI: UPRONA leader arrested

Burundi President Pierre Buyoya told Reuters today (Friday) that he was ready to negotiate with Hutu rebel leader Leonard Nyangoma's Conseil National pour la Defence de la democratie (CNDD). "Our wish is to talk to everybody, every group including Nyangoma's," he said. His comments follow the arrest yesterday of the head of the mainly Tutsi party Union pour le Progress National (UPRONA), Charles Mukasi, as he held a press conference condemning the negotiations policy. The government said Mukasi was detained because he flouted a ban on the briefing, news agencies reported. Mukasi was released later on Thursday.

A serious split has opened in UPRONA, formerly Burundi's sole party. One wing is in Buyoya's government and favours negotiations with the rebels in principle, while Mukasi's faction is hostile to any talks with those seen as "genocidal killers" opposed to any power-sharing with Tutsis, AFP said. The government has agreed to participate in all-party peace negotiations to be held in Arusha, Tanzania, under the mediation of Tanzanian elder statesman Julius Nyerere. A date has not yet been fixed. On Monday, Mukasi said he had begun legal action to block dialogue with CNDD.

Buyoya had boycotted talks in Arusha last month in protest over Nyerere's alleged bias and Tanzania's alleged support for Hutu rebels. A local source said Buyoya, under intense regional pressure to resume the peace process, would use the talks as a forum to present the government's case against Nyerere and Tanzania, "and to buy time". According to AFP, Tanzanian President Benjamin Mpaka said yesterday that Buyoya is "not confident of his position. That is why he has been making unsubstantiated accusations."

Displaced flee to Bubanza

Insecurity continues to plague Burundi's northern Bubanza province, humanitarian sources report. The widespread use of land mines has made "access to many areas impossible." Nevertheless, people from northwestern Cibitoke, displaced by fighting between rival Hutu rebel groups Phalipehutu and CNDD continue to spill into the province. More than 30,000 displaced have gathered in and around the town of Bubanza. Kayanza province to the east is also receiving a stream of people escaping the violence.

Meanwhile, although the governor of Kayanza has suspended the return of regrouped people because of security concerns, the process is still going ahead in Maramvya province, northeast of Bujumbura.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: "Slight progress" over UN probe

UN Security Council President Bill Richards said on Thursday there was "slight progress" over starting up the UN mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) but there was "no satisfactory outcome yet." Reuters reported that Richards had talked to President Laurent-Desire Kabila over the government's stalling of the probe into alleged massacres in the DRC. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan also talked to Kabila on Thursday, Reuters said. "There was agreement to end inflammatory statements on the issue," Richardson noted. In Brussels, AFP reported DRC Foreign Minister Bizima Karaha as once again saying the probe team would have free access to all the country's territory, but only if it "respected certain conditions". No details of the conditions were given.

Mai-Mai plan Bukavu strike

Mai-Mai rebels are threatening Bukavu airport in the DRC's South Kivu province, 'La Tempete des Tropiques' reported on Wednesday. After capturing the town of Bunyakiri to the northwest, the rebels intend to strike through the Kahuzi Biega national park, the paper said. Their progress south has continued despite the arrival of national army reinforcements backed by Rwandan troops, sources who recently flew out of Bukavu told IRIN. Meanwhile, Rwandan army helicopter gunships are in operation in Masisi, according to refugee sources. On Thursday, the DRC government admitted a large battle took place last month between Mai-Mai fighters, supported by Interahamwe Hutus, in Masisi, but denied earlier reports that several hundred people were killed. AFP reported North Kivu Governor Leonard Gafundi as saying the government was in control of the situation.

Kinshasa newspapers responded to a "day without newspapers" appeal by a press freedom NGO and did not publish on Thursday. The NGO 'Medias Libre; Medias pour Tous' called the protest over the arrest of 'Le Phare' editor, Polydor Muboyayi Mubanga. The paper had published an article alleging that President Laurent-Desire Kabila was organising a Mobutu-style presidential guard.

UGANDA: Rebel raid on Kasese

Ugandan rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) abducted nine people and looted shops in a raid on a suburb of the western town of Kasese on Wednesday, the private 'Crusader' reported. The 30-strong ADF group did not fire their weapons so as not to alert security forces. According to the army's operations commander for the western region, the rebels had come from Fort Portal to the north in Kibale district. Meanwhile, the army said it had killed 16 ADF rebels in the western district of Bundibugyo.

Kony starving

Rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) leader Joseph Kony is starving in his hideout in northern Uganda, the state-owned 'New Vision' claimed on Friday. "His former fighters told us that Kony and his 40 escorts are in acute shortage of food. They are starving, but fear to come out into the open to confront the army," the paper quoted the overall army commander in the north as having said. According to the commander, Kony is looking for a guide to take him through Kitgum district to Kidepo National Park in the far northeast, en-route to Kenya.

SUDAN: IGAD talks on

The rebel Sudanese People's Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) on Thursday said they plan to attend a regional ministerial meeting on Sudan's civil war in Kenya next week, AFP reported. The talks are due to begin on Monday under the aegis of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

TANZANIA: Cholera epidemic

More than 760 people have died in Tanzania from cholera and meningitis in the last eight months, the ministry of health said in a statement on Thursday. AFP reported the statement as saying 748 of the deaths out of 14,661 reported cases in Tanzania's eight regions, were caused by cholera. According to the ministry, the situation was no longer alarming due to containment measures.

Nairobi, 19 September, 1997. 15:00 gmt. [ENDS]

[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, 19 Sep 1997 18:11:53 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Update 252 for 19 Sep 1997 97.9.19 Message-ID: <>

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

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