Great Lakes: IRIN Update 288, 11/10/97

Great Lakes: IRIN Update 288, 11/10/97

U N I T E D N A T I O N S Department of Humanitarian Affairs Integrated Regional Information Network for the Great Lakes

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IRIN Emergency Update No. 288 on the Great Lakes (Saturday-Monday 8-10 November 1997)

CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: Flash Appeal launched

A US $18 million UN Inter-Agency Flash Appeal for Congo-Brazzaville was launched today (Monday) to tackle the humanitarian needs of the country's more than 650,000 displaced. The appeal brings together FAO, WFP, WHO, UNICEF, UNDP, DHA and NGOs in a coordinated three-month long strategy that prioritises the provision of food and shelter, basic health care, water and sanitation as well as limited distributions of seeds and tools. Particular attention will be given to single-parent families, female-headed households, unaccompanied children and those traumatised by the five-month conflict.

Foreigners freed

Twenty foreign nationals were freed over the weekend by the Brazzaville authorities and allowed to return home. Nine Russian pilots left the southern city of Pointe Noire on Sunday for Moscow. Two more Russians chose to stay behind. Diplomatic intervention by Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos allegedly helped secure the release on Saturday of three French nationals detained in Pointe-Noire. Dos Santos had responded to a "mediation" request from French President Jacques Chirac, AFP reported. Four other French nationals who took refuge in the French consulate in the port city were also allowed to leave the country. Two Belgians were also released. Most of the men were accused of helping ousted president Pascal Lissouba.

Civil servants to receive their salaries

Finance Minister Mathias Dzon has pledged that civil service salaries will be paid by the end of the month. "At government level we have decided to do the necessary," he told state radio at the weekend. According to Reuters, even before the civil war started in June, many civil servants had not been paid for more than a year.

BURUNDI: Concern voiced over camp evictions

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Burundi Hussein Khan on Saturday met the Burundian prime minister to "voice the concern" of the humanitarian community over the army's eviction of some 5,000 displaced people from a camp in the north of the country. According to humanitarian sources, the prime minister said he had not been informed about the decision to dismantle the regroupment camp on Thursday at Rwegura, in Kyanza province. MSF said in a statement that "the population of the camp was sent to Cibitoke, accompanied by soldiers, and then the camp was entirely burned down." The displaced had originally fled fighting in the neighbouring provinces of Bubanza and Cibitoke. Aid workers told IRIN that they had been marched to Ndora, an area off-limits to humanitarian agencies. "We are interested in assisting the people to bring them to a safe area where we can continue feeding them," one source said. "Cibitoke is very insecure." The region has been the scene of fighting between the army and Hutu rebels as well as intra-rebel clashes.

In defence of the army's operation, Lieutenant-Colonel Isaie Nibizi, spokesman for the army, told AFP that the displaced had returned home "on their own accord". He accused NGOs of hypocrisy in condemning both regroupment camps and the return home of thedisplaced.

Displaced camp attacked

Hutu rebels killed at least 14 people and wounded two others in an attack on a camp for displaced people in Bururi province south of the capital, Reuters reported army officials as saying. A 100-strong rebel force attacked the camp in Rumonge commune on the shores of Lake Tangyanika on Thursday night.

Meanwhile, a report by the UN Human Rights Field Operation in Burundi said October was marked by rebel attacks and military operations in the provinces of Cibitoke, Bubanza, Rural Bujumbura, Bururi and Makamba "which caused dozens of deaths among civilians." According to the report, "two incidents in Cibitoke and Bubanza on October 12 caused the death of at least 25 people and injured more than 39." It also noted a new strategy of violence by the rebels - burning down schools and farms.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: UN probe team due in Kinshasa on Tuesday

The three leaders of a UN team investigating human rights violations in the DRC will return to Kinshasa on Tuesday, news organisations in Kinshasa reported today. AFP and Reuters quoted the mission's spokesperson Jose Diaz as saying the investigation, stalled for months because of differences between the UN and President Laurent-Desire Kabila's government over the scope and mandate of the probe, would start "very shortly thereafter -- we hope in a matter of days". Team leader Koffi Atsu Amega of Togo and his two deputies, Reed Brody of the US and Andrew Chigovera of Zimbabwe, are expected in the capital of former Zaire on Tuesday evening.

RWANDA: Genocide trial defence witnesses arrive in Arusha

Three Rwandans due to testify in defence of a former mayor accused of genocide have been transferred to the UN-sponsored war crimes court, the tribunal said today. The three men, who have themselves been held in Rwandan jails, were brought from Kigali to the court premises in Arusha, Tanzania, on Friday, AFP reported. The three will be the first defence witnesses to give testimony before the court. They are due to appear from 17 November in the case of Jean-Paul Akayesu, former mayor of Taba in central Rwanda.

Meanwhile, Hutu rebels killed at least 24 people in an attack on a commune in northern Ruhengeri prefecture last week. State radio said the victims were shot on Thursday because they refused to join the rebels.

KENYA: Moi dissolves parliament

Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi dissolved parliament today, setting the stage for elections when he will seek a five-year term. Moi, 73, did not set a date for the polls, but news agencies said that presidential and parliamentary elections are expected to be held by the end of the year. The EU and US have welcomed constitutional ammendments passed by parliament on Friday to make the upcoming elections fairer.

TANZANIA: US provides military aid

The United States has given Tanzania a US $250,000 grant for military training. The aid, announced on Friday, was provided under the US Security Assistance and International Military Exchange Programme (IMEP). It will be used to train Tanzanian officers in human and legal rights and infantry skills, Reuters reported. Tanzania is expected to follow Uganda, Ghana, Senegal and Malawi in joining Washington's African Rapid Deployment Force Initiative (ARDFI).

GREAT LAKES: Displaced and refugee population figures

A DHA survey of refugees, displaced and regrouped populations in the region indicates that over two million people are living away from their homes, many in displaced people's sites or refugee camps. These figures are estimates based on the best available information. The situation is continually changing. These figures only include populations with which aid agencies have had some contact.

The survey indicates the following totals for each country:

Burundi : 569,969 Congo : 518,136 Uganda : 485,768 Tanzania: 311,169 DRC : 165,620 Rwanda : 33,876

Nairobi, 10 November 1997 15:30 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 or subscriptions. 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 . Mailing list: irinlist]

Date: Mon, 10 Nov 1997 19:02:34 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Update 288 for 8-10 November 1997 97.11.10 Message-ID: <>

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

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