Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 316, 12/18/97

Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 316, 12/18/97

U N I T E D N A T I O N S Department of Humanitarian Affairs Integrated Regional Information Network for Central and Eastern Africa

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IRIN Update No. 316 for Central and Eastern Africa (Wednesday 18 December 1997)

BURUNDI: Eight soldiers killed in mine blast

Eight soldiers were killed yesterday (Wednesday) in an anti-tank mine blast near Mubimbi, about 20 km from Bujumbura, AFP reported. To counter the threat of mines laid by Hutu rebels, local people have been asked to remain vigilant "because we cannot have troops available to do that 24 hours a day," Bujumbura province governor Stanislas Ntahobari said. According to a DHA report, there were 48 confirmed mine incidents between October 1996 and November 1997. The majority of the attacks have occurred around Bujumbura.

Supreme Court asked to overturn Minani's election as FRODEBU leader

Burundi's interior ministry has asked the Supreme Court to overturn the nomination of the exiled opposition leader Jean Minani as the head of the mainly Hutu Front pour la democratie au Burundi (FRODEBU), the ministry said Wednesday. Tanzania-based Minani, who the government accuses of supporting Hutu rebels, was elected leader at a party congress on 6 December. FRODEBU Secretary-General Augustin Nzojibwami said the party would win the legal battle "absolutely."

125 Congolese repatriated

Fifty-five Congolese families mistakenly expelled from South Kivu were repatriated with the help of UNHCR on 5 December, humanitarian sources report. The 125 Congolese, caught up in last month's deportations of mainly Burundian and Rwandan Hutus from eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), were living in desperate conditions in the northern province of Cibitoke. Five of the group died from illness and malnutrition.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Cholera outbreak kills 38 near Kisangani

Humanitarian sources report that 38 people have died in a cholera outbreak in Kapalata, 5 km from Kisangani. The epidemic is currently killing an estimated seven people per day, with some 800 cases observed since 18 November. Humanitarian agencies are attempting to improve the sanitary conditions at Kisingani hospital and provide equipment and medicine. Access to the military camp in Kaplata has, however, been denied.

ANGOLA: Security improves in "sensitive" areas

The UN peacekeeping mission in Angola, MONUA, on Wednesday said the security situation has improved in the most "sensitive" areas of the country, notably the northeastern diamond fields where a three-year-old peace deal has yet to be implemented, AFP reported. According to the United Nations, the government now has complete control of five out of Angola's 15 provinces - the northern provinces of Bengo, Zaire and Kwanza-Norte, and the southern provinces of Benguela and Huila. A MONUA spokesman told AFP that UNITA retains fighters and military and political structures in the other 10 provinces.

3,000 flee Cabinda clashes

At least 3,000 people have fled clashes between separatists and the army in the north of the oil-rich enclave of Cabinda, AFP quoted "reliable sources" in Luanda as saying. The displaced have been arriving in Cabinda city since the start of the month. The sources said military activity by various factions of the Cabinda Enclave Liberation Front (FLEC) has increased in recent weeks. The Luanda government has refused negotiations with the rebels until a complete ceasefire is achieved.

Elf makes major new find

French oil company Elf Aquitaine said today (Thursday) it had discovered a major oilfield in the Dalia field off the Angolan coast. The new field, at a depth of 1,250 metres, is some 200 km northwest of Luanda, AFP reported.

SUDAN: Machar claims victory in battle with SPLA near Torit

Pro-government forces claimed victory in a clash with the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) in southern Sudan's East Equatoria province. Riek Machar, the chairman of the South Sudan Coordination Council, said in a statement that the South Sudan Defence Force (SSDF) on Tuesday captured the Solora mountain area near Torit and inflicted heavy losses on the SPLA, AFP reported. Machar said heavy equipment was captured in the fighting close to the Ugandan border. The SSDF groups the militiamen of six south Sudanese factions allied to the government.

State governors claim Eritrea, Uganda offensive planned

Meanwhile, Kassala state governor Ibrahim Mahmoud told the 'Al-Rai al-Aam' daily that Eritrean troops "backed by Israeli experts" and SPLA rebels were amassed along the border. He said Eritrea was planning an "offensive on Sudan ... masterminded by the United States and Israel which has a military presence in the region." In the south, East Equatoria Governor Abdallah Kafelo said on Thursday in the Khartoum daily 'Alwan' that there were "hostile activities" by Ugandan troops on the south Sudan border in addition to those of the SPLA in and around Torit.

Russian oil pipeline deal signed

The Sudanese government and a Russian company Lukoil on Tuesday signed a US $30 million oil pipeline construction agreement to link the Hajlij oil field with Ubaid refinery, the Sudanese news agency reported. Energy and Mining Minister Dr Awad Ahmad al-Jaz said investment in oil production was a vital strategic goal for Khartoum.

CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: Paris appoints new envoy

France has named Herve Bolot as its new ambassador to Brazzaville. He will replace Raymond Cesaire, who remained in the city throughout the five month civil war, Gabonese Africa No 1 radio said.

Nairobi, 18 December 1997 14:30 gmt


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Date: Thu, 18 Dec 1997 17:45:05 -0300 (GMT+3) From: UN IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 316 18 Dec 97.12.18 Message-ID: <>

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

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