Great Lakes: IRIN Update 289, 11/11/97

Great Lakes: IRIN Update 289, 11/11/97

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. 289 on the Great Lakes (Tuesday, 11 November 1997)

TANZANIA: Humanitarian community concerned over refugee expulsions

Senior humanitarian sources have expressed concern at continuing expulsions of Rwandans from Tanzania. At least 1,450 have arrived in Rwanda so far, and the latest information is that Congolese are also now being targetted in the Tanzanian government's roundup of long-term foreign residents and old-caseload refugees. The expulsions by the Tanzanian army began on 4 October. The Rwandan embassy in Dar es Salaam has protested over the deportations, Reuters reported. Tanzania has said the expulsions are part of a security sweep to get rid of illegal aliens along the Burundian and Rwandan borders, because of increasing law and order problems.

Drought slows agricultural growth

Drought slowed agricultural growth in Tanzania in the second half of 1996, according to the central bank's annual report. In the 1996/97 fiscal year, the agricultural sector grew at a rate of 3.9 percent, compared to 5.8 percent in the previous year. The Bank of Tanzania noted that due to a poor farming season, seasonally-adjusted food inflation increased from 15.6 percent in June last year to 24.2 percent for the year ending June 1997, Reuters reported. Real Gross Domestic Product grew by 4.2 percent during the reporting period, below the target of five percent.

BURUNDI: Regional trading bloc calls for lifting of sanctions

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) yesterday (Monday) called for sanctions to be lifted against Burundi. Reuters reported that the 19-member trading bloc meeting in Lusaka said sanctions, imposed after the civilian government was overthrown in July 1996, were futile. "The business community expressed concern at the adverse effects that the economic sanctions imposed against Burundi as a result of recent political changes are having on the country... and her COMESA trading partners," a COMESA statement said. "The meeting noted that imports from countries outside (the) COMESA region are still reaching Burundi. The meeting, therefore, strongly recommends that the sanctions be lifted at the earliest possible opportunity," it added. The COMESA grouping includes Angola, Burundi, Comoros, Eritrea, Lesotho, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Rwanda, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zaire, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

SUDAN: Peace talks adjourned until April 1998

Peace talks between the Sudanese government and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) ended today after 10 days. They are due to resume in April next year, "to give time for the two sides to consult with their respective headquarters," a joint communique said. The discussions foundered on the key issues of religion, self-determination and the constitutional character of the state, an SPLA spokesman told IRIN.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: UN probe to begin with "scouting" mission

The three team leaders of the UN probe investigating human rights violations in the DRC are expected to meet with the government in the next two days in preparation for the mission's initial deployment. Mission spokesperson Jose Diaz told IRIN today a "technical deployment" will begin "as soon as possible." A scouting visit, comprising human rights and security officers, is expected to travel to Mbandaka in the north and a site in the east of the country which is yet to be agreed upon. In theory, the mission will then be able to fan out throughout the country without the prior notification of the government. "We are hopeful we will finally be able to start our mission after nearly two months in Kinshasa," Diaz said. The breakthrough followed a visit to Kinshasa by US envoy Bill Richardson. The agreement reached confirmed the mandate of the team as set out by the UN Secretary-General in a 15 July letter to the government.

CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: France pledges reconstruction aid

The French ambassador to Congo-Brazzaville said on Monday that Paris would provide aid for the reconstruction of the country. Raymond Cesaire said the immediate priority is humanitarian assistance and the restoration of living conditions in the capital. According to Reuters, France is the biggest aid donor to its former colony and Congo-Brazzaville's principal trading partner. Over the weekend the Brazzaville authorities freed seven French nationals accused of backing the government of ousted president Pascal Lissouba.

ANGOLA: Government says it will remove obstacles to peace

The Angolan government has expressed its "firm" intention to remove "all the obstacles that remain in the way" of the peace process. The official statement, released to the media yesterday ahead of independence celebrations today, said the country had reached a "decisive moment" for its political future. In a separate statement on Monday, the former ruling MPLA party called for an "urgent demilitarisation" of ex-rebel UNITA forces, AFP said.

Meanwhile, a senior UNITA official has confirmed that the movement's leader Jonas Savimbi is willing to meet with Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos at a venue to be agreed upon by the two sides. In an interview broadcast by the BBC yesterday, Isais Samakuva said the meeting would help revive the peace process. Samakuva added that UNITA's Foreign Relations Secretary Alcides Sakala has been sent to Luanda to discuss the issue with the government. Luanda has repeatedly called for Savimbi to take his place in a government of national unity. UNITA has however stressed that security concerns have prevented Savimbi from travelling to the capital.

UGANDA: Rebels strike in west, army hits in the north

Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels killed at least four civilians on Sunday in Uganda's western Kabarole District. The privately-owned 'Monitor' reported today that the attack displaced some 2,300 people. Kabarole borders the rebel-hit districts of Bundibugyo and Kasese. Meanwhile, the state-owned 'New Vision' said at least eight Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels were killed in heavy clashes with the army in the Aswa area of northern Gulu district on Friday.

Nairobi, 11 November 1997, 14:00 gmt


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Date: Tue, 11 Nov 1997 17:43:04 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Update 289 for 11 November 1997 97.11.11 Message-ID: <>

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

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