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[The weekly roundup is based on IRIN daily updates and other relevant information from UN agencies, NGOs, governments, donors and the media. IRIN issues these reports for the benefit of the humanitarian community, but accepts no responsibility as to the accuracy of the original sources.]
Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Weekly Round-up 11-98 covering the period 6-12 Mar 1998
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Banyamulenge end mutiny
Several hundred Banyamulenge soldiers have ended their mutiny in eastern DRC after being granted amnesty. The soldiers returned to Bukavu at the weekend. But not all the grievances they outlined during a week of "tense" negotiations had been immediately addressed, a senior official told Reuters.
The mutiny and clashes with other factions of the army were sparked by attempts to integrate the Banyamulenge with ex-FAZ and to send them out of their region of origin. The deserting Banyamulenge also said they feel inadequately compensated in the current military hierarchy for the key role they played in the war. The officials said there were no new plans to move the Banyamulenge out of the region where anti-Tutsi sentiment threatens their families.
Authorities say ethnic tension exaggerated
AFP reported that the South Kivu authorities are playing down tensions between Banyamulenge and other ethnic groups. At the weekend, Governor Charles Magabe described as an "exaggeration" reports of communal tensions. However, a source close to the South Kivu authorities told IRIN that Mayi-Mayi attacks on Banyamulenge soldiers, on the basis of their ethnicity, "are becoming routine".
Governor says 51 people died in Butembo attack
More details have come to light about the alleged killing of 300 people by DRC soldiers in Butembo last month. The DRC human rights group AZADHO said the army retaliated against the local population after the temporary occupation of the town by rebel Mayi-Mayi fighters. Local sources told IRIN civilian victims had been buried in mass graves by the military. However, according to North Kivu Governor, Leonard Gafunde, 51 people - rather than 300 - died in the Butembo operation. Responding on Monday to the controversy over the alleged reprisals by the army, he said: "all troublemakers must be suppressed. If the population is cooperating with the enemy, they have to be treated accordingly."
UN team complains of witness harassment
The UN human rights investigation team in DRC has complained that two witnesses it interviewed in the northwest Mbandaka region have been arrested, Radio France Internationale reported. The mission also said its members were being tailed by the authorities. However, spokesman Jose Diaz told IRIN on Monday the team's activities were continuing in Mbandaka. He added that the security situation in eastern DRC did not permit investigations there at the moment. Team members had left for Angola where they will interview Rwandan refugees, he said. Refugees in the Central African Republic and Congo-Brazzaville had already been interviewed.
ANGOLA: Luanda legalises UNITA as part of peace process
The Angolan government on Wednesday legalised the former rebel UNITA movement and gave it full party political status as part of moves to advance a stalled peace process. An official statement announced the government had lifted "all obstacles" banning UNITA activities and said the movement "may exercise its activities across the whole of the territory".
Reuters quoted government officials saying the move followed UNITA's formal declaration on Friday of military demobilisation - a key requirement for officially ending Africa's longest running civil war. The UNITA action allowed the adoption of a new timescale for implementation of the Lusaka accords which must now be completed by 1 April.
Both sides remain deeply suspicious of each other and continue to trade accusations of peace accord violations. On Tuesday, Angolan state television said UNITA had attacked army positions in Huila while UNITA's 'Black Cockerel' radio said government forces were poised to attack their Jamba stronghold from Namibia.
Angolan ambassador says UNITA supplied through Zambia
The Angolan ambassador to Lusaka, Augusto Emanuelle, last Thursday charged that weapons destined for UNITA were transiting through Zambian territory. According to AFP, he warned that "it is in the interests of the Zambian government to address the situation."
US-AFRICA: Museveni organises regional summit for Clinton
Uganda plans to host 10 regional leaders at a meeting with US President Bill Clinton in Kampala later this month, PANA reported. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said on Tuesday that Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and Eritrean President Isayas Afewerki have confirmed their participation. He did not name the other heads of state who will attend. According to Kenya's 'Daily Nation', the presidents of Kenya and Tanzania have been invited.
Clinton plans Kigali stopover
Clinton will stop briefly in Kigali during his African tour, but security concerns will restrict him to the airport. The 25 March stopover will include a public event to "address and acknowledge the genocide and the humanitarian crisis that ensued," a senior official said.
Kenya not snubbed by Washington
Kenya's Foreign Minister Bonaya Godana told Reuters that Kenya does not feel snubbed by Clinton's decision to skip Nairobi. "If you look at Mr Clinton's itinerary you will see the countries he is visiting are of a particular type," Godana said. "They have either recently emerged or are emerging from changes."
UGANDA: Museveni says western aid encourages dependency
President Yoweri Museveni, addressing a meeting of international investors in Addis Ababa on Sunday, accused the West of encouraging dependency in Africa by continuing to provide aid to "dead economies", Reuters reported. "Aid causes dependency and dependency is slavery," he said. Despite three decades of western aid, there was no country in Africa where citizens led very comfortable lives. "That is proof that the aid policy is wrong for Africa," Museveni said.
Police allegedly abducting refugees
The Ugandan human rights commission said on Friday it was investigating allegations that police were abducting Rwandan and DRC refugees. AFP quoted a member of the commission as saying the motive of the abductions had not yet been established. The chief of external security organisation Philip Idri denied the police were behind the abductions of four named people. "People accuse us of this because they think we support Rwanda, but our first concern is law and order," he said.
Reduced crop yields expected due to flooding
The Famine Early Warning System (FEWS) February report for Uganda indicates abnormally-high rainfalls will reduce yields for cereals and pulses in the second harvest season underway in western, central and eastern regions. Low yields are also expected for cash crops such as cotton and coffee, with cotton production for 1997/98 expected to be 40 percent down. Prices for staple food crops remain historically high, reflecting low supply and reduced access.
RWANDA: Over 5,000 genocide suspects to stand trial this year
Supreme Court Prosecutor Simeon Rwagasore has announced that over 5,000 genocide suspects will be tried this year, compared to 300 last year, the Rwanda News Agency reported. The move is aimed at resolving the problem of Rwanda's overcrowded prisons. Rwagasore urged the government to help the judiciary in its work.
Gitarama reported calm after rebel infiltration
Fighting in central Gitarama prefecture was reported under control, after rebels infiltrated the area last week. Deputy Commander of the Gitarama-Kibuye brigade, Colonel Karenzi Karake told RNA on Saturday life had now returned to normal, although mopping-up operations were still continuing in some communes to crush the remaining Interahamwe militiamen scattered in forests, swamps and hills of the Ndiza region. The rebels had been cut off from returning to their hideouts in Gisenyi and Ruhengeri prefectures.
Genocide suspect rearrested in US
A Hutu cleric and genocide suspect has been rearrested in the US, after an American court set him free last year saying his detention was unconstitutional, the 'EastAfrican' weekly reported this week. The Reverend Elizaphan Ntakirutimana has been called to stand trial by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). A State Department official, explaining the re-arrest, said: "We believe that the law and the facts support surrender for trial."
BURUNDI: Buyoya returns from European trip
Burundi President Pierre Buyoya returned home on Tuesday after a trip to Europe aimed at winning support for an end to the regional embargo on his country. Buyoya told reporters the trip had been a success, saying the French and Italian authorities had decided to restart cooperation "in all its forms".
Vatican reiterates opposition to sanctions
The Vatican on Monday confirmed its opposition to sanctions against Burundi following talks between Pope John Paul II and Buyoya. A Vatican spokesman said the church "will continue to speak out in favour of lifting sanctions which hit the most deprived parts of the population the hardest."
Nutritional survey confirms high child malnutrition rates
A nutritional survey by the British NGO Children's Aid Direct (CAD) in Bubanza province has recorded an overall malnutrition rate of 17.2 percent among children aged 6-59 months. Severe malnutrition was 4.5 percent. The results of the survey, conducted among 900 children last month, compares with the 19.5 percent and 9.2 percent respectively from CAD's last baseline survey undertaken in August last year.
TANZANIA: Health minister tours disease outbreak region
An outbreak of a mysterious disease, which reportedly claims 20 to 30 lives a day in northwestern Tanzania, has prompted a visit by Health Minister Aaron Chiduo. The minister and a four-man team of experts are collecting blood samples from affected people for laboratory tests, the English-language daily 'The African' reported.
ACT appeal for four million facing food shortage
Nearly four million people are facing an acute food shortage in Tanzania, the NGO consortium Action by Churches Together (ACT) said in an appeal for emergency flood and drought assistance. Some 700,000 people are unable to afford commercial food because of rising prices, ACT warned.
WFP and FAO say roads priority in food relief
A joint report by WFP and FAO said Tanzania's critical food supply situation is "heavily influenced by transport and accessibility". The report concludes that the immediate priority for any appeals for international assistance for Tanzania "should be focused on transport constraints and moving food as soon as possible to areas of need rather than on injecting further quantities of relief food," Reuters reported on Wednesday.
CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: UN details Congo-B appeal
The UN, detailing how it would spend a revised US $23 million appeal for the Republic of Congo, has said priority attention would be given to emergency rehabilitation of health centres, schools and private houses and child vaccination and preventive health programmes. Special attention will also be given to those traumatised by the civil war, particularly women and children. Support would be provided to the reconciliation efforts, peace education and human rights programmes, the UN said in New York. The appeal, part of this week's wider consolidated appeal for the Great Lakes and Central Africa, also promotes efforts to revitalise the agricultural economy, enhance food security, improve access to clean water and adequate shelter.
WFP says food situation precarious
WFP describes the food situation in Congo-Brazzaville as "precarious", particularly for the former refugees presently accommodated in transit sites. The resumption of agricultural activities is being hampered by lack of seeds, as the existing stocks were consumed during wartime, the agency added. An estimated seven percent of the children are malnourished, WFP said.
Central African Republic: Washington gives blessing to UN peacekeeping force
The United States has given its support for a UN peacekeeping
force to take over from an inter-African force in the
Central African Republic, UN Secretary-General Kofi
Annan said. "I was grateful to hear that they
will support this peacekeeping operation," Annan
told reporters after meeting on Wednesday with US Secretary
of State Madeleine Albright. The UN Security Council
is expected to decide by 16 March whether to create
the peacekeeping force proposed by Annan.
Patasse claims mercenary coup plot
CAR President Ange-Felix Patasse has alleged that mercenaries are being recruited in Belgium and France to overthrow him. He told the French daily 'Liberation' that French elements "nostalgic about the past who want to hang on to their colonial bastion" were planning "low blows". But he said he wanted to work with "official and democratic" France.
GREAT LAKES: UN consolidated appeal presented to donor meeting
UN agencies presented the 1998 UN's consolidated appeal for the Great Lakes and Central Africa at a donor briefing in Geneva on Wednesday. The appeal includes Burundi, DRC, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and a revised US $23 million for Congo-Brazzaville. The total requirements are for US $573 million. This year's appeal includes various rehabilitation and reconstruction proposals, a new approach which received endorsement from a number of donor nations.
Nairobi, 13 March 1998, 9.00 GMT
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Date: Fri, 13 Mar 1998 12:45:48 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Weekly Round-up 11-98 6-12 Mar 98.3.13 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.91.980313124435.13464Aemail@example.com>
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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