Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 322, 12/30/97

Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 322, 12/30/97

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. 322 for Central and Eastern Africa (Tuesday 30 December 1997)

KENYA: "Logistical problems" mar general elections

Administrative hitches continued to plague Kenya's general elections today (Tuesday) after voting was extended for those unable to vote yesterday (Monday). The election commission admitted that ballot papers and boxes had still not arrived in some of the polling stations where voting had been extended by an extra day because of Monday's chaos, news agencies reported. The commission estimated that around one quarter of the more than 12,000 polling stations across the country had opened hours late or not at all yesterday. The elections commission said vote counting in constituencies where there had been no problems had begun this morning. Opposition leaders have alleged that the ruling Kenya African National Union (KANU) was manipulating the voting, and said they had no confidence in the commission. KANU has also protested over the organisation's handling of the elections. The commission blamed the delays on "logistical problems".

Over 200 die from malaria

In northeast Kenya, malaria has killed at least 217 people over the last two weeks, 48 of them in the space of a day, according to press reports. AFP quoted a medical officer in North Eastern province as saying hundreds of people were suffering from the disease along the Uaso Nyiro river. He claimed the situation had deteriorated due to an ongoing nurses' strike in the country.

BURUNDI: Bujumbura hospitals overstretched by malaria outbreak

An outbreak of malaria has caused overcrowding in Bujumbura's hospitals and medical services are stretched, Burundi radio reported yesterday. It quoted the director of the Prince Louis Rwagasore clinic, Dr Tharcisse Nzeyimana, as saying the disease coincided with the rainy season which began in October. Meanwhile, the director of Burundi's pharmaceutical company ONAPHA denied spreading rumours on a shortage of anti-malarial drugs. Nestor Ntibateganya said the company had adequate quantities of chloroquine and quinine, but admitted fansidar was in short supply. The current outbreak of malaria had increased consumption three-fold, he added.

UGANDA: Religious leaders asked to join anti-cholera fight

The Ugandan government has appealed to religious leaders to incorporate an anti-cholera message in their sermons in a campaign against the epidemic which has so far killed more than 142 people out of over 1,500 cases reported. According to a statement by the ministry of health, cholera cases continue to rise and so far in Kampala and Mpigi alone, over 1,000 patients had been treated in a period of two weeks, the 'New Vision' reported on Monday.

TANZANIA: Death tolls rise from flooding and cholera

Flooding claimed at least 20 lives in Tanzania on Wednesday, the Kiswahili newspaper 'Mzalendo' reported on Sunday. The latest casualties brought to over 200 the number of people said to have died as a result of the torrential rains across the country, AFP said. Flooding has also caused extensive damage to trunk roads, cutting off Dar es Salaam from the northern Lake Victoria town of Mwanza, the western Lake Tangyanika town of Kigoma and the southern Indian Ocean port of Mtwara. The Tanzania Railways Corporation has also suspended train services along the central railway line to Mwanza, Tabora and Kigoma, leaving over 20,000 passengers stranded, the news agency reported.

In a separate development, Tanzanian state radio reported on Monday that 21 cholera patients have died in Zanzibar hospitals and health centres over the past week.

RWANDA: Mudende survivors relocated to new camp

Congolese Tutsi survivors of the Mudende refugee camp massacre earlier this month are being transferred to a new site in northeastern Rwanda, close to the Ugandan border, agencies report. So far, some 12,000 refugees out of an estimated total of 15,000 have been relocated to Kibali camp in the Byumba region, "and we only need a couple of days to complete the operation," a UNHCR spokeswoman in Kigali said on Monday. The army has stressed it has the capacity to protect the camp, situated on a hill less than 30 km from the Ugandan border, against attack by hardline Hutu rebels. "The Rwandese government has expressed its willingness to shelter and assist the refugees for as long as necessary because of the ongoing conflict in DRC," the UNHCR spokeswoman said. The refugees fled the Masisi area to Rwanda in 1995.

Meanwhile, the private Rwandan News Agency quoted Ugandan media reports saying that 220 Rwandan Tutsis have crossed into southwestern Uganda to escape Hutu militia raids in the north of the country.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Offices of private newspaper wrecked

Soldiers ransacked the offices of the private 'Elima' daily in Kinshasa last week after occupying its premises for over two months, the newspaper's owners said on Saturday, according to AFP. Chief Executive Thy Rene Essolomwa said the soldiers "illegally sold the newspaper's cars, furniture and all the printing equipment". They then began tearing down the doors and windows. The human rights organisation, Reporters sans frontieres (RSF), said the military had given no reason for their action.

National reconstruction conference slated for next month

The DRC government is to hold a national reconstruction conference beginning 24 January, PANA news agency reported. It quoted National Reconstruction Minister Etienne-Richard Mbaya as saying on Friday that Congolese nationals employed abroad by the UN, as well as UNDP experts, had been invited to attend. Cabinet ministers would take it in turns to discuss their respective sectors.

Soldiers court martialled in Bukavu

A military court in Bukavu has found several soldiers guilty of "inciting acts in violation of military duties and discipline", DRC radio reported on Sunday. It said two soldiers were sentenced to death for "breaking the law and attempted murder". Two others received 20 years hard labour.

CAR President visits

The president of Central African Republic, Ange-Felix Patasse, arrived in Kinshasa yesterday on a one-day visit to DRC. Congolese officials said discussions with President Laurent-Desire Kabila centred on cooperation between the two neighbouring countries.

CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: 5,000 guns confiscated in disarmament drive

A disarmament operation has netted 5,000 weapons across the country, Congo-Brazzaville's official radio reported yesterday. Radio Liberte, monitored by AFP in Kinshasa, said the sweep was conducted "through cooperation or by force" with the arms recovered from "civilians or gangs of fantasising politicians." The station did not specify how many, if any, casualties resulted from the disarmament drive, which began in mid-December and was undertaken by the army and police. "The forces of public order must take any measures necessary to put an end to the few pockets of resistance," the radio added.

SUDAN: Pledge to normalise ties with Egypt

A high-ranking Egyptian delegation ended a visit to Khartoum yesterday with both sides pledging to remove obstacles to the normalisation of bilateral relations. Sudanese radio said Egyptian Presidency Minister Omar Sulayman held talks with President Omar al-Bashir on Sunday during which he delivered a message from Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. According to AFP, ties between the two countries have improved of late. It quoted the magazine 'Al-Wassat' last week as saying Sudan had extradited 12 wanted Egyptian militants to Cairo.

Nairobi, 30 December 1997, 11:00 gmt


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Date: Tue, 30 Dec 1997 14:02:17 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 322 for 30 Dec 97.12.30 Message-ID: <>

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

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