Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 326, 1/6/98

Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 326, 1/6/98

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. 326 for Central and Eastern Africa (Tuesday 6 January 1998)

BURUNDI: Rebels strike again

Rebels launched a second attack on a military position near Bujumbura airport early today (Tuesday). According to humanitarian sources, the attack took place in the village of Maramvya, just north of the airport, to where some 3,000 survivors of last week's massacre in Rukaramu had fled. A Burundi army spokesman said 13 rebels were killed and two soldiers injured. There was no loss of civilian life, he added. Upon hearing gunshots, hundreds of people fled to neighbouring villages, news reports said.

Malaria reported among massacre survivors

Survivors of the Rukaramu massacre have also been arriving at various points in Bujumbura, such as the Holiday Club, where they are said to be camping out under a scorching sun. Burundi radio reported that malaria was spreading among the displaced people and they were badly in need of medical equipment and drugs. Medecins sans Frontieres had started preparing shelters, it said.

CNDD denies involvement in attack

The rebel Conseil national pour la defense de la democratie (CNDD) denied it was responsible for the massacre, Reuters said. It quoted CNDD's Brussels-based spokesman Jerome Ndiho as blaming the army for the killings. Ndiho also claimed 280 soldiers had perished. CNDD said its armed wing led a surprise attack on a military garrison at Gakumba near Bujumbura airport on New Year's Eve, while simultaneously attacking a military position at the airport itself. The attack was strictly limited to military targets and aimed at preventing the arrival of a consignment of weapons for the army, it added. It warned airlines of the "great risk" they ran if they broke a regional embargo by transporting arms to Burundi.

UN humanitarian adviser arrives in Bujumbura

The UN's Great Lakes regional humanitarian adviser, Berhanu Dinka, arrived in Bujumbura yesterday, Burundi radio reported. He will meet top officials to discuss the situation in the country. Meanwhile, the OAU has sent a three-man mission to Burundi, Uganda and Tanzania to help find a solution to Burundi's political crisis, PANA news agency reported.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Ministers given deadline to return stolen property

President Laurent-Desire Kabila has moved to end corruption in the country. According to state-run radio yesterday (Monday), he told ministers who illegally took private property, to return it or face dismissal. The ministers have until tomorrow (Wednesday) to heed his demands. The newly reshuffled cabinet is due to be sworn in tomorrow "so the ministers have been given 48 hours", the radio said. News reports point out that members of his administration have been accused of confiscating other people's belongings, including houses and cars.

UGANDA: Museveni reshuffles armed forces

As part of an ongoing reshuffle in the armed forces, the government is planning to retire some 800 officers, the state-owned 'New Vision' reported yesterday. President Yoweri Museveni had changed the top army leadership, replacing army chief Major General Mugisha Muntu with Major General Jeje Odongo and chief-of-staff Brigadier Chefe Ali with Brigadier James Kazini who becomes acting COS. Sources said Chefe Ali was likely to go to DRC as Uganda's ambassador to strengthen ties between the two countries, the newspaper reported. More changes were expected, according to top military officials. AFP said the move was intended to modernise the armed forces, cut military spending and focus operations on fighting rebel insurgencies in the north and west of the country.

New defence minister appointed

Museveni also appointed his brother, Major Salim Saleh, as the country's defence minister, military sources said today, quoted by AFP. Saleh was previously Museveni's adviser on military affairs in the north. He replaces Amama Mbabazi who was moved to the president's office as minister of state for political affairs.

RWANDA: ICTR expected to deliver verdicts early this year

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) is expected to deliver its first verdicts within the next three months, the 'EastAfrican' weekly reported yesterday. Sentences will be delivered on the trials of former mayor of Taba Jean-Paul Akayesu, former Interahamwe chief Georges Rutaganda, former prefect of Kibuye Clement Kayishema and Kigali businessman Obed Ruzindana. Under the ICTR's rules, prison terms will be served either in Rwanda or another country which has agreed to accept convicts, according to UN rules.

CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: National reconciliation meeting opens

Congolese leader Denis Sassou-Nguesso opened a national reconciliation forum in Brazzaville yesterday, saying it was time for unity and reconstruction. However, he added that this would have no value without "the condemnation of acts of genocide and crimes against humanity committed by the ousted regime". The forum, comprising about 1,000 representatives of political parties and civilian society, is intended to discuss a new constitution and reconstruction programme for the country devastated by five months of civil war. Ousted premier Bernard Kolelas told Radio France Internationale the meeting was a "farce". The aim, he said, was "to gather together faithful henchmen, people who will applaud enthusiastically the reinstatement of the one-party system".

SUDAN: Bashir to visit Egypt

Preparations are underway to fix a date for a forthcoming visit to Egypt by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. Sudanese radio quoted Egyptian diplomatic sources as saying the visit was a move towards the normalisation of relations between the two countries. Meanwhile, Sudanese opposition parties have warned Cairo against improving ties with Sudan. "It would be dangerous to trust the promises of the Sudanese regime concerning cooperation with Egypt on security matters," a member of the Ummah party told AFP yesterday.

Nairobi, 6 January 1998, 14:00 gmt


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Date: Tue, 6 Jan 1998 16:56:29 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 326 for 6 Jan 98.1.6 Message-ID: <>

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

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