Great Lakes: IRIN Update 267, 10/10/97

Great Lakes: IRIN Update 267, 10/10/97


Department of Humanitarian Affairs

Integrated Regional Information Network

for the Great Lakes

Tel: +254 2 622147

Fax: +254 2 622129


IRIN Emergency Update No. 267 on the Great Lakes (Friday, 10 October 1997)

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Lissouba admits fall of Brazzaville airport

Congolese President Pascal Lissouba is in Kinshasa for talks with President Laurent-Desire Kabila, although no further details of his visit have been released. Speaking to reporters today (Friday), he admitted his forces had lost control of Brazzaville airport to supporters of his rival, ex-president Denis Sassou Nguesso. AFP quoted him as saying: "We lost a battle, but that does not mean we lost the war." Meanwhile, Sassou Nguesso is reported to have signed a ceasefire accord, in a move welcomed by the UN Security Council yesterday (Thursday), AFP reported. Spokesman Fred Eckhard said the UN hoped a cessation of hostilities would now follow. Lissouba signed the truce deal last month.

US denies knowledge of massacres

The US State Department yesterday denied claims in a human rights report that Washington was aware of massacres in eastern DRC, allegedly carried out by the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (ADFL) and Rwandan soldiers. A State Department spokesman described the allegations by Human Rights Watch and the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues as "absolutely false".UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said the report underlined the need for a UN investigation into the massacres. A UN investigative team in Kinshasa and the DRC government have so far failed to reach agreement on modalities for conducting the probe. Four members of the mission were recalled to New York last week, and the USA has said it plans to send an envoy to the region to try and break the deadlock.

UGANDA: Museveni backs Kabila over UN probe

President Yoweri Museveni yesterday backed DRC leader Laurent-Desire Kabila's objections to the UN probe and said Secretary-General Kofi Annan should "broaden the scope of his investigations". "If he (Annan) wants to give the world a comprehensive picture, he must start from the beginning," Museveni told a rally in Kampala to mark Uganda's 35th independence anniversary. "I think the government of Congo is right in objecting to his approach." According to Reuters, Museveni added it would be "good if he (Annan) liaises closely with us."

Museveni slams Sudan for supporting Ugandan rebels

Elsewhere in his speech, Museveni also lashed out at the Sudanese government accusing it of sponsoring attacks by Ugandan rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army. "When (LRA leader) Kony came from Sudan, he had orders to capture Ugandan soldiers and take them to Sudan, so Sudan can have these soldiers to parade around," he said. He claimed Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and spiritual leader Hassan Turabi were "sending the rebels and giving them means", AFP reported. Museveni affirmed that troops fighting the rebels in northern Uganda were in a strong position because there were many "fresh soldiers" there.

Uganda Africa's top coffee producer

Turning to Uganda's economic performance, Museveni announced the country had become Africa's biggest producer of coffee. "This year we exported more coffee than we have ever done in our history - a record 2.4 million bags - and became the leading producer in Africa, overtaking the Ivory Coast," he said. He stated that Uganda should begin manufacturing its own goods and forge closer ties with other coffee producing countries in southeast Asia and South America to have better bargaining power with western buyers.

ICRC ends distribution in Nyahuka

The International Committee of the Red Cross has just finished distributing blankets, plastic sheeting and soap to over 14,000 internally displaced people in Nyahuka, southwestern Uganda. The town's original population of 3,000 increase sixfold after thousands of people arrived there in June, fleeing clashes between the army and rebels. Most of the displaced are living in makeshift huts in the bush around the town, although some have found shelter in crowded churches and schools, ICRC said.

RWANDA: Reinforcements sent to Gisenyi

The Rwandan army sent reinforcements to the embattled northwestern town of Gisenyi today, Reuters reported. It quoted defence ministry spokesman Richard Sezibera as saying the situation in the town was calm and mopping up operations were continuing. Soldiers were searching for Hutu rebels, who launched an attack on the town on Wednesday. "Some came from the Congo and went back there after we engaged them," Sezibera said. "Others came from local communities and we think some of them melted back into civilian life there." He added that the attack had appeared well-coordinated, taking place on three fronts around Gisenyi. According to Reuters, aid workers reported seeing troop reinforcements on both sides of a wide frontier between Rwanda and DRC.

British minister visiting

British Secretary of State for International Development Clare Short arrived in Kigali yesterday on a two-day visit to Rwanda, Rwandan radio reported. She is due to meet top government officials to discuss relations between Rwanda and Britain. During her visit, she will also visit a site of genocide victims and Kigali prison.

KENYA: Riot police stop opposition rally

Riot police in Nairobi fired bullets and tear gas to stop an opposition rally going ahead today, AFP reported. It said some 1,000 people were prevented from holding the gathering at the Kamukunji grounds at the same time as President Daniel arap Moi addressed a rally in the city's Uhuru Park to mark Moi Day. In his speech, Moi condemned the continuing violence in Kenya and warned that the ruling KANU party would not allow people associated with violence to contest the forthcoming elections.

Nairobi, 10 October 1997, 12:50 gmt


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Date: Fri, 10 Oct 1997 15:47:09 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Update 267 for 10 Oct 1997 97.10.10 Message-ID: <>

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

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