Great Lakes: IRIN Update 255, 9/24/97

Great Lakes: IRIN Update 255, 9/24/97


Department of Humanitarian Affairs

Integrated Regional Information Network

for the Great Lakes

Tel: +254 2 622147

Fax: +254 2 622129


IRIN Emergency Update No. 255 on the Great Lakes (Wednesday 24 September 97)

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: EU tells Kabila aid could be lost

The European Union has again reminded the authorities in Kinshasa that they risk losing aid if they do not cooperate with a UN probe into alleged massacres in former Zaire, Reuters reported diplomats as saying on Tuesday. They said an official letter reiterating European policy towards the DRC (former Zaire) was handed to President Laurent-Desire Kabila earlier that day. International concern has mounted over the blocking of the UN investigative mission, which has been unable to leave the capital Kinshasa since it arrived more than three weeks ago. Human rights monitors say Kabila's forces carried out the massacres during the military campaign which ousted former dictator Mobutu Sese Seko from power last May.

Eastern DRC quieter, but tense

Humanitarian sources report eastern DRC - where Mai-Mai militia, allied with ex-FAR and Interahamwe fighters and some local anti-Tutsi tribes, have been battling DRC and Rwandan army units - as being quieter than for several days, but describe the area as extremely tense. The sources say the calm followed a recent "peace conference" between the Bembe and Banyamulenge peoples in south Kivu. One source added that in the Uvira region, where the government has been bolstering the armed forces, Bembe fighters were now being collectively described as "Mai-Mai".

"Le Phare" journalist still detained

The Paris-based organisation, Reporters sans frontieres (RSF), has renewed an appeal for the immediate release of Polydor Muboyayi Mubanga, the editor-in-chief of the Kinshasa daily "Le Phare" who was arrested on 8 September. His arrest triggered widespread criticism of the government. On 12 September, the Congolese human rights organization Association congolaise de defense des droits de l'homme (AZADHO) called for the "immediate" release of the journalist and asked "authorities to abandon their intimidation tactics." Boston Globe accuses army of Hutu killings

The US newspaper the 'Boston Globe' has alleged the Tutsi-dominated Rwandan army has been engaged in a "ruthless counterinsurgency campaign" against rebel Hutus which has led to the death of at least several hundred civilians in recent months. The article says there is no evidence that US military trainers based in Rwanda have participated in the military operation, but says the government campaign has created a problem for the Clinton administration. Mounting concerns about the Rwandan army's human rights record has sparked a bitter dispute in the US government on whether Washington should maintain its close military ties with the Central African nation. Congressional critics, including Representative Christopher Smith, Republican of New Jersey, have called on President Clinton to determine whether US troops are complicit in the killings.

CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: Fresh shellfire reported

Fresh shelling rocked the Congolese capital Brazzaville on Wednesday after a particularly intense overnight barrage, Reuters reported witnesses as saying. The outbreak preceded an anticipated policy statement on Thursday from Prime Minister Bernard Kolelas, who formed a unity government in a bid to end the three-month-old conflict between President Pascal Lissouba and his predecessor Denis Sassou Nguesso. AFP reported there were growing fears, following the virtual collapse of international mediation efforts, that the country was headed towards partition.

KENYA: WHO reports cholera epidemic on border with Tanzania

WHO representatives have announced a cholera epidemic in western Kenya on the border with Tanzania. They say mortality rates are in the region of five percent of those admitted to local hospitals compared with usual mortality rates of around 0.5 percent or lower.

AFRICA: African nations urge debt relief

African nations said on Wednesday they were being marginalised in the world economy, with a dearth of capital flows and trade opportunities hampering their efforts to improve their plight. "Africa's economic performance remains below potential, and inadequate to reverse the trend in poverty," Reuters reported Ethiopian Finance Minister Sufian Ahmed as telling the World Bank/International Monetary Fund annual meetings in Hong Kong. "We are aware of the marginalisation of our continent in the current globalisation of the economy."

Nairobi, 24 September, 15:00 GMT


[The material contained in this communication comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. UN IRIN Tel: +254 2 622123 Fax: +254 2 622129 e-mail: for more information. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this report, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Quotations or extracts should include attribution to the original sources. IRIN reports are archived on the WWW at: or can be retrieved automatically by sending e-mail to]

Date: Wed, 24 Sep 1997 18:34:50 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Update 255 for 24 Sept 1997 97.9.24 Message-ID: <>

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

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