Great Lakes: IRIN Update 253, 9/22/97

Great Lakes: IRIN Update 253, 9/22/97


Department of Humanitarian Affairs

Integrated Regional Information Network

for the Great Lakes

Tel: +254 2 622147

Fax: +254 2 622129


IRIN Emergency Update No. 253 on the Great Lakes (Saturday-Monday, 20-22 September 97)

[IRIN encourages readers to fill in the Questionnaire sent on 12 September. Replies can be sent by e-mail or fax until the end of September.]

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Rwandan reinforcements for Bukavu - radio

Rwandan troops are bolstering the defence of the town of Bukavu in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Radio France Internationale (RFI) claimed on Saturday. The troops are allegedly crossing Lake Kivu at night to reinforce government soldiers threatened by the advance of Mai-Mai militia. According to the radio report, Rwandan forces are stationed on a hill overlooking the town and at the airport. In the past few months, the Mai-Mai have allied themselves with Rwandan and Burundian Hutu rebels and are demanding the departure of Tutsis from the DRC.

Refugees ordered to register

The Kinshasa authorities have partially closed the border with Congo-Brazzaville, RFI reported today (Monday). Only three entry points along the river remain open for refugees, who have been ordered to register with the police. Those found un-registered will be considered "infiltrators", RFI said. Last week WFP airlifted 87 MTs of beans and oil from Luanda to Kinshasa for 28,000 refugees in the Kinshasa area, most of whom are in Kinkole camp. The supplies will also be used for relief deliveries from Kinshasa to Loukolela for some 8,000 Rwandan refugees still there.

CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: At least 450,000 displaced

WFP was due to begin distributing food today (Monday) to 60,000 "extremely vulnerable" displaced people in Congo's second largest city of Pointe Noire. Most of the displaced have fled from the three-month-long conflict in the capital Brazzaville. More than 19,000 of them are living in abandoned buildings and empty shelters in the port city. WFP believes there are at least 300,000 displaced in the southern provinces which include Pointe Noire. A further 150,000 people are estimated to have escaped to the north but are cut off from humanitarian assistance because of on-going fighting. WFP began an airlift of beans and oil to Pointe Noire from Luanda, Angola on Friday. The supplies supplement cereal stocks already in the city. The one-month's food ration for the displaced is to be distributed by WFP and the national Federation of the Red Cross.

Meanwhile, helicopter gunships attacked the positions of President Pascal Lissouba's rival Denis Sassou Nguesso in Brazzaville on Sunday. Three helicopters were involved in the attack - the sixth airborne raid since August - which provoked an artillery duel between the two sides, AFP reported. Prime Minister Bernard Kolelas said on Saturday the continued fighting, which began in early June, "could lead to the disappearance of Congo".

UGANDA: No to peace talks - government

The Ugandan government has rejected appeals by church leaders to negotiate with rebel chieftain Joseph Kony, the state-owned 'Sunday Vision' reported. "If we are to talk peace, then we don't need to talk to Kony but his masters in Sudan," minister of state for security in the president's office, Muruli Mukasa, said. He accused Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) of killing government emissaries, and stressed the war in the north would be brought to a halt by diplomatic and military means. The multi-denominational church leaders made their peace call after a three-day workshop on national reconciliation last week.

Meanwhile, the 'New Vision' reported on Monday that LRA forces had infiltrated north-western Gulu district from neighbouring Kitgum. However, the paper said, Kony remains trapped in the Aswa River valley which borders both districts. According to the region's military commander quoted by the daily, 70 rebels have been killed since Kony led 300 of his followers into Uganda from Sudan last month.

TANZANIA: Army moves on refugee "bandits"

In a bid to stamp out banditry, more than 3,000 "vagrant refugees" were arrested in a weekend swoop by the Tanzanian army in the northwestern town of Kigoma, radio Tanzania reported. Humanitarian sources said the figure was around 4,600. The radio said the army picked up Burundian, Rwandan and DRC refugees living outside their camps. According to the broadcast, the commander of the army's western brigade said the operation would continue indefinitely and refugees found "guilty of loitering" in Kigoma town "would either be repatriated or taken to refugee camps". Humanitarian sources noted that DRC refugees have been entering the town to board barges to expedite their repatriation.

BURUNDI: Fresh massacre

Some 20 people were killed and at least 30 wounded by armed attackers over the weekend at Gitaza, about 20 kms south of Bujumbura, Radio Burundi reported. The raiders used guns, axes and machetes to kill and loot indiscriminately, the radio said. Six other civilians were killed at Rushubi, also in Bujumbura Rural province. Five people died in an attack on the displaced camp at Gitaza earlier this month in a raid the army blamed on Hutu rebels.

SUDAN: Juba garrison "starving" - SPLA

Uganda's 'Sunday Vision' claimed that Khartoum has amassed 60,000 soldiers for the defence of besieged Juba, southern Sudan's largest town. The paper quoted a Nairobi-based spokesman of the rebel Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA) who alleged the government soldiers being flown into the city were "starving" because the SPLA has closed all land routes into Juba. A Nairobi-based Sudanese embassy official contacted by the paper, denied a report this month by the Paris-based 'Indian Ocean Newsletter' that the government is constructing a chemical weapons factory near Abu Dawm, south of Khartoum. The SPLA spokesman claimed to have photographs of rebel wounded taken after a battle at Yirol in June "which show that chemical bombs were used against us." The government envoy also described as "a lie" a claim by the newsletter that the Sudanese airforce had taken delivery of four Russian-made Sukhoi fighter-bombers from Syria.

Anti-SPLA alliance grows

The Khartoum government reached a peace agreement on Saturday with the rebel SPLA-United faction of Lam Akol, state-owned radio Omdurman reported. The accord was brokered by the government-allied chairman of the Southern States Coordination Council, Riak Machar in Fashoda, Upper Nile. Akol is expected to arrive in Khartoum to seal the agreement. A government minister said Akol's forces would work in coordination with the army "to support the peace process in the south", the radio said. In April, six southern rebel factions led by former SPLA commanders signed peace agreements with the government.

ANGOLA: Savimbi threatens to abandon peace

The UN Secretary-General's Special Representative to Angola, Alioune Blondin Beye has warned that a resumption of civil war can longer be ruled out, AFP reported today. "You can never say that a return to war is impossible," he said in a recent interview with foreign journalists, blaming former rebels of the Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), for the near breakdown of pacts signed in the Zambian capital Lusaka in November 1994.

Meanwhile, UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi said his movement will abandon the peace process if the UN imposes sanctions, according to an interview with a Portuguese newspaper published at the weekend. UN Security Council restrictions on travel and flight links are scheduled to go into force on 30 September, AFP reported. They were imposed following UNITA's failure to abide by UN demands for demilitarisation, the hand-over of territory to state administration and the transformation of its radio into a non-partisan facility.

GREAT LAKES: Funding "generous but narrow"

Donor expenditure on the humanitarian crisis in the Great Lakes (excluding Rwanda) averages US$ 1.2 million per day, according to DHA figures which track donations to UN agencies and NGOs. DHA's Financial Tracking Unit, which maintains records on the basis of information supplied by donors, reports donations of US$ 260 million for UN activities and US$ 199 million to non-UN humanitarian programmes (including the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and international NGOs) in the region so far this year.

Almost 80 percent of the UN's 1997 Great Lakes Appeal has been funded or pledged by donors. The UN's reviewed Inter-Agency Consolidated Appeal (not including Rwanda), issued in July 1997, sought funding of US$ 313 million and as of 15 September, a shortfall of US$ 63.7 million remains. The EC, the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) and the US Government together account for nearly half of all contributions to humanitarian relief in the Great Lakes.

WFP and UNHCR have 90 percent or more of their requirements met, but smaller agencies have fared less well: UNICEF (30 percent), UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (22 percent), WHO (14 percent) and FAO (11 percent). UNESCO and UNV have received no contributions at all. DHA's requirements against an original appeal of US$ 4.2 million are US$ 1.8 million. The UN's July appeal had expressed concern at a pattern of "generous but narrow" funding and urged "a far more inclusive approach". Donors who have contributed to IRIN so far in 1997 are: South Africa, ECHO, the Netherlands, Australia, Denmark, Sweden and Belgium.

Nairobi, 22 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: Mon, 22 Sep 1997 18:28:40 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Update 253 for 20-22 Sep 1997 97.9.22 Message-ID: <>

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

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