Great Lakes: IRIN Update 258, 9/27/97

Great Lakes: IRIN Update 258, 9/27/97


Department of Humanitarian Affairs

Integrated Regional Information Network

for the Great Lakes

Tel: +254 2 622147

Fax: +254 2 622129


IRIN Emergency Update No. 258 on the Great Lakes (Saturday-Monday, 27-29 September 97)

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: US warns Kabila over rights team

A US State Department spokesman warned Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President Laurent-Desire Kabila that its relationship with Kinshasa "will be determined to some significant extent by his willingness to allow the UN human rights team to do its job." Spokesman Jamie Rubin issued the warning at a news briefing at the UN on Thursday, the US Information Agency reported. DRC state radio from Bukavu said on Saturday that Minister of the Interior Mwenze Kongolo had reiterated that the UN mission would not be allowed to travel to alleged massacre sights in the north of the country. Reuters reported that Kongolo also threatened to expel foreign NGOs "which don't have any useful function." He added that others would have to "renegotiate their stay."

Ex-FAR surrender to army Over 800 armed ex-FAR and Interahamwe surrendered to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) forces in the east of the country, Information Minister Raphael Ghenda told Kinshasa TV over the weekend. DRC radio reported that 24 soldiers were sentenced to between 10 and 15 years imprisonment with hard labour for "causing panic among the population" in Kinshasa. The soldiers had fired heavy weapons for about two-hours on 20 September to press for the payment of their salaries. Humanitarian sources report that a soldier guarding the health minister's residence opened fire on Friday on a group of students, killing one and wounding two. The soldier was sentenced to death by a military court that was immediately convened.

Interior minister arrested

Former DRC interior minister Celestin Shabani was arrested in Kinshasa over the weekend. His whereabouts however are unknown, the BBC reported on Monday (today). Shabani is a close associate of opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi.

Coup fears

The DRC newspaper 'La Tempete des Tropiques' alleged last week's partial closure of the border with Congo-Brazzaville was due to security concerns. The paper claimed on Thursday that militia of Congolese rebel leader Denis Sassou Nguesso had infiltrated Kinshasa, prompting fears of a potential coup. Members of the former Zairean Special Presidential Division are said to be fighting alongside Sassou Nguesso's 'Cobra' militia.

CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: Conditions not right for peacekeepers

The UN has put off a decision to send an international force to Congo-Brazzaville on the grounds that the conditions for deployment have not been met, AFP reported. "We believe that before there is a commitment of a peacekeeping force, there'll be a political framework and that hasn't happened yet," UN Security Council President Bill Richardson said on Friday. "Extremely heavy gunfire" shook the capital Brazzaville today, leading "experts" to suggest that one of the warring parties had acquired new weapons, the news agency said. The fighting between President Pascal Lissouba and rival Denis Sassou Nguesso which erupted in June has killed at least 4,000 people.

UGANDA: Joint operation planned to clear ADF

Uganda is planning a joint military operation with the DRC to secure the border and wipe out Ugandan rebels operating in the area. Western Uganda operations Commander Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Angina said he was waiting to hold discussions with a representative from the DRC, AFP reported on Saturday. "If Congo does not have the military capacity at present because of its own problems, we will ask for joint operations so we can seal the border and deal with this problem finally," Angina said. The rebel Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) are based in the Rwenzori mountains which straddle the Uganda-DRC border, but also take refuge just inside the DRC. Angina told AFP there were only 63 rebels left in Bundibugyo district, after 250 infiltrated the area in June, and less than 300 operating in neighbouring Kasese district.

ADF - 'alliance of devils'

Ugandan Minister of Health Crispus Kiyonga, described the ADF as "an Alliance of Devils' Forces," the state-owned 'New Vision' reported on Saturday. He denied the rebels were genuine Muslims and said the war "was being sponsored and fanned" by the Sudanese government. He was in Kasese to deliver a condolence message from President Yoweri Museveni over the deaths of 13 people in an ADF attack on Kasese last week. Meanwhile, the Ugandan army claimed to have killed 17 ADF rebels and destroyed one of their hideouts at Mapata in Kasese district on Saturday, the 'New Vision' said today.

Splits in LRA reported

A top official in the exiled political wing of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has been expelled by the rebel group, AFP reported the 'Monitor' newspaper as claiming on Sunday. Alfred Banya, LRA's secretary for political and human rights affairs, said in a letter to the newspaper that his sacking came after he raised concerns about ill-treatment of civilians by the rebels. He had asked for the release of captives including 21 school girls abducted from a Catholic school in Aboke last year. A rebel deserter told AFP last week the Aboke girls are being held in the southern Sudanese capital of Juba, where LRA leader Joseph Kony is alleged to retain his headquarters. Meanwhile, 300 travellers have been stranded for three weeks in Gulu town while the army clears the road leading north to the Sudanese border of LRA-planted mines, the 'Sunday Vision' reported. On 23 September, Kony and his rebel "brigade", known as Control Altar, crossed the road to join other rebel groups in Gulu district's Kilak county, AFP said.

BURUNDI: UNESCO meeting stresses dialogue

Participants at a UNESCO-organised meeting in Paris on 'Building the Future of Burundi' stated the need to end the violence and restore peace in the country through dialogue and negotiations, a UNESCO statement said. The September 26-28 meeting drew some 50 representatives from different sections of Burundian society to begin a dialogue focussing on the themes of the origins and nature of the conflict; education, culture, science and communication at the service of dialogue; and building the future - peace and development, democratic principles and human rights. "Beside the need to end violence and restore peace through dialogue and negotiation, participants stated the need to work together with all social and political partners, to find a comprehensive solution to the problems of injustice and impunity," the statement said. The participants called for the continuation of the dialogue process begun by UNESCO.

RWANDA: Famine threatens - radio

Rwandan radio said on Sunday that famine is looming in the country's southwestern Gikongoro region. According to the radio, the price of food has rocketed and children have been abandoned by families that cannot afford to feed them. The station's correspondent said beggars in the markets outnumber buyers. Meanwhile, a humanitarian agency report last week blamed a lack of agricultural inputs and/or a lack of manpower and water management for a low level of cultivation during the July to August season. Only 60 percent of land usually in production was put under crop.

SUDAN/UGANDA: Beshir/Museveni to meet

Sudanese state-owned radio announced on Sunday that President Omar al-Beshir is to meet his Ugandan counterpart, Yoweri Museveni, in South Africa on 5 October. The talks in Pretoria are part of President Nelson Mandela's peace initiative to mend relations between the two neighbours. Zimbabwean leader and OAU chairman Robert Mugabe is also to attend the summit. Meanwhile, thousands of male school-leavers in Sudan have been sent to combat zones in the south and east of the country, the army said on Saturday, AFP reported. Under a presidential decree issued in June, more than 70,000 young Sudanese unmarried males have to do between 12 and 18 months compulsory military service before they are entitled to apply for a university place.

SPLA warns of "acute" hunger

Sudanese rebel leader John Garang has appealed for international food aid to tackle an "acute food shortage" in the southern region, IPS reported. The Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA) chief said in Nairobi on Thursday that the rains had failed this year due to the "El Nino effect". The SPLA's London spokesman, recently on a fact-finding tour to the area, told IPS that "people survive on edible green leaves" while the more fortunate barter trade with Uganda. The spokesman said Khartoum had refused to give aircraft permission to fly into SPLA-controlled towns of Rumbek, Tonj, Yirol and Yei.

ANGOLA: Sanctions means end of peace accord - UNITA

UNITA Secretary-General Lukamba Paulo Gato warned the movement would withdraw from the peace process if the UN Security Council imposes sanctions after 30 September. He told National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) radio on Friday the party was "working day and night" to fulfill UN Security Council demands. If the effort is not taken into consideration, he said, "we will withdraw from the game on 1 October. The international community should be clear about this." He denied this would mean the resumption of conflict as only the government "is in a position to wage war". Meanwhile, Angola's other opposition parties said in a joint statement that dialogue was the only way to resolve the current crisis, Angolan state-owned TV said.

Nairobi, 29 September 1997 16:00 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: Mon, 29 Sep 1997 19:12:10 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Update 258 for 27-29 Sept 1997 97.9.27 Message-ID: <>

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

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