Great Lakes: IRIN Update 257, 9/26/97

Great Lakes: IRIN Update 257, 9/26/97


Department of Humanitarian Affairs

Integrated Regional Information Network

for the Great Lakes

Tel: +254 2 622147

Fax: +254 2 622129


IRIN Emergency Update No. 257 on the Great Lakes (Friday 26 September 97)

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: People move back to Masisi

Humanitarian sources say local populations who fled recent fighting between anti-Tutsi Mai-Mai warriors and Rwandan and DRC troops have started returning to Masisi from Walikale. Aid workers who recently travelled along the main Sake-Masisi road reported the area was quiet although it remained tense. They said there was clear evidence of recent fighting with most houses destroyed or looted and said the basic public infrastructure no longer existed. Aid organisations estimate the latest unrest led to some 90 percent of the local populations fleeing their homes since July. Those who have returned are reportedly living in makeshift shelters of bamboo and banana tree leaves which will not be able to provide sufficient protection during the imminent start of the rainy season. Other aid workers reported that, although a large number of malaria and bloody diarrhoea cases had been noted, there were no signs of severe malnutrition and food was not an issue for the moment. Further south around Bukavu, aid workers said the region was still dangerous and travel risky.

Two Europeans - a Frenchman and a Belgian - arrested

The Belgian and French authorities reported today (Friday) that DRC police had arrested and were holding for questioning Jean-Marie Bergeziot, a French national, and Antoine Declerc, a Belgian, who were resident in Kisangani. News organisations reported no charges had been brought against either man. Sources close to the French embassy and Reuters reported Bergeziot and his work colleague Declerc were in possession of videotapes of alleged massacres by DRC soldiers in the Kisangani area earlier this year.

BURUNDI: FAO distribute seeds to more than 400,000 needy

The FAO coordinated distribution of agricultural inputs for the 1998-A season is currently taking place in Bubanza, Cankuzo, Cibitoke, Karuzi, Kayanza, Muramvya, Rutana and Ruyigi. The organisation reports that 413,070 of 685,915 beneficiaries, or approximately 60 percent of the beneficiary population, have now received 962 MTs of bean seeds, 877 kg of vegetable seeds and 95,145 hoes. Each family receives a standard ration of 10 kg of bean seeds, 10 gramme of vegetable seeds and one hoe.

UNHCR repatriates more refugees

UNHCR reports that from 9 to 16 September a total of 506 persons were repatriated to Burundi by air from Shabunda, Lulingu, Bukavu and Kindu in DRC. From 25 August to 15 September a further 2,217 people were repatriated from Rwanda, mainly from Gikongoro, Kigali and Butare.

More aid for Rwegura site

DHA reports that the site of Rwegura in the northeastern province of Kayanza, which currently holds about 3,000 persons, is to receive more support. A second site may also be set up if more people continue to arrive to join the others who emerged in very poor condition from the Kibira forest after fleeing fighting in neighbouring Cibitoke. DHA reported that WFP would provide emergency rations during the upcoming week while UNHCR will assist the roughly 600 families through a distribution of non-food items including mats, plastic sheeting, jerry cans and a two-month soap ration.

UNESCO-backed meeting gets underway

A UNESCO-sponsored meeting, attended by some 60 delegates from a cross-section of Burundian politics, opened in Paris today, Reuters reported. The three-day gathering on 'Building the Future of Burundi' is intended to try and find common ground which could help end the country's suffering. "Out of the complexity and the fog of the present, the Burundian people must identify the paths that lead to peace," UNESCO Director-General Frederico Mayer told the opening session.

RWANDA: UNHCR to evaluate fate of repatriated refugees

UNHCR plans a mission to evaluate the fate of repatriated refugees in Rwanda, after Amnesty International reported that 6,000 civilians had been killed in the country this year. AFP reported the refugee agency as saying in Geneva yesterday (Thursday), the mission, which would arrive in Kigali today, was the personal initiative of UN High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata. Amnesty said in a report issued on Thursday that 6,000 mostly unarmed civilians had been killed in Rwanda between January and August this year. The rights group said that refugees returning to Rwanda "are suffering in silence, their fate largely ignored by the outside world."

Arusha Tribunal opens second courtroom

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) said today it had opened a second courtroom to speed up the trial of suspects accused of key roles in the country's 1994 genocide. Until now, the tribunal, based in Arusha in northern Tanzania, had only one courtroom and so far no cases have reached their term due to a large number of delays and postponements. An official ICTR statement said the new courtroom would come into operation on 29 September and was in line with "the expectations of the Tribunal's authorities to see Justice done quickly and fairly." The statement added the Tribunal was currently holding 21 people in custody at the United Nations Detention Facility in Arusha.

ANGOLA: UN head urges UNITA to stop stalling

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has urged Angola's former UNITA rebels to stop stalling on the peace process in order to avert additional sanctions. Annan said that the demilitarization of UNITA forces, which was "an element critical to the success of the entire peace process, is not yet complete even though almost three years have passed" since the signing of the 1994 Lusaka peace accords. The Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) will face a travel ban from midnight next Monday unless it fulfils its commitments under peace accords. AFP reported Russian and African diplomats as saying there were discussions among Security Council members on extending the deadline by three weeks to give UNITA a little more time to comply. Annan was quoted as saying the slow pace of the disarmament process continues to raise doubts about the intentions of UNITA.

Savimbi says he is confident problems will be overcome

Meanwhile, UNITA radio quoted the organisation's leader Jonas Savimbi as saying that although the process was facing a few difficulties he was confident that his party was capable of handling the situation. On the possibility of a summit meeting with President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, Savimbi said it would be necessary to ensure that the meeting bears fruit now and in the future. Savimbi, who was speaking to Radio Eclesia, again said his party was willing to operate politically from Luanda soon, but declined to be more precise. One of Savimbi's top aides, Horacio Junjuvili, said a decision by the US government to extend a 1993 fuel embargo against UNITA was a "human rights violation" because it deprived millions of civilians living in UNITA-administered areas of the commodity. UGANDA: US report proposes aid for northern Uganda

The New Vision newspaper reported today a US-sponsored report, entitled "The Anguish of Northern Uganda", had proposed the American government should fund a three-year five-billion-dollar programme for the war-ravaged Gulu and Kitgum districts. The 106-page report, prepared by independent consultant Robert Gersony, was commissioned by USAID and the US embassy in Kampala. It said the funds should be targetted at infrastructure projects and called on the government to reconsider "direct peace negotiations" with rebel leader Joseph Kony of the Lord's Resistance Army. In a separate statement the US Information Service said the government was taking the report and its recommendations seriously.

Nairobi, 26 September 1997, 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: Fri, 26 Sep 1997 18:18:50 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Update 257 for 26 Sept 1997 97.9.26 Message-ID: <>

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

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