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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. 330 for Central and Eastern Africa (Saturday-Monday 10-12 January 1998)
BURUNDI: Government says rebels creating confusion
The Burundi government on Friday rejected charges by the rebel Conseil national pour la defense de la democratie (CNDD) that it was responsible for the New Year's massacre at Rukaramu. Speaking on Burundi radio, Foreign Minister Luc Rukingama accused the rebels of "attempting to create confusion". He said the rebels attacked innocent people with hoes, machetes and other traditional weapons and appealed to the international community "not to be abused by those killers who are trying to conceal the genocide they started in 1993". According to the Burundi Netpress news agency, the situation in Bujumbura was now calm and the rebels were moving away towards Bubanza province.
US envoy due to visit country
US envoy Howard Wolpe is due to arrive in Bujumbura this Friday, where he will spend the weekend trying to move the peace process along. State Department spokesman James Foley, quoted by AFP, said Washington believed only a political settlement would bring about lasting peace in Burundi. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's ambassador to the OAU, who led a recent delegation to Burundi, was quoted by Burundi radio as saying "noteworthy progress" had been made towards peace talks. The radio added that he also called for the lifting of sanctions.
South Africa to investigate alleged arms sales to Burundi rebels
The South African government is to launch an investigation into the alleged supply of arms to rebels in Burundi, PANA news agency reported. It said the human rights organisation, Human Rights Watch, claimed individuals in South Africa had been supplying arms and military assistance to the CNDD. According to the report, South Africa's railway organisation Spoornet admitted that arms were frequently transported in their trains to Tanzania for use by the rebels in Burundi.
UGANDA: Burundi envoy refused accreditation
Uganda has refused to accredit Burundi's prospective ambassador to the country in line with regional sanctions against Bujumbura, the 'EastAfrican' weekly reported today (Monday). It cited Ugandan Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Rebecca Kadaga as saying: "We agreed to make life difficult for the Burundi government, so how can we allow their ambassador to present his credentials?" The envoy, Edouard Kadigiri, has been in Uganda since August.
RWANDA: Fresh military reshuffle announced
In Rwanda's second military reshuffle in a month, Colonel Kayumba Nyamwasa has been appointed army chief of staff. Nyamwasa was army commander in the troubled northwest and replaces Colonel Samuel Kanyemera, state radio reported on Saturday. Brigade 221 which Nyamwasa headed has been divided, with separate commands based in Gisenyi and Ruhengeri prefectures. Colonel Emmanuel Habyarimana, an officer in the former Hutu-dominated government army was appointed minister of state in the ministry of defence, a newly-created post. He was serving as secretary-general in the ministry. The radio gave no explanation for the reshuffle.
Detention without charge for genocide suspects until 1999
Rwanda's transitional parliament has voted to allow genocide suspects to be detained without charge until the end of 1999. Parliament speaker Joseph Sebaranzi told AFP the recently passed bill applies to anyone arrested before 31 December, 1997. Under the previous law, those detainees for whom a case was not made by the end of last year would have been released. Some 130,000 genocide suspects are held in overcrowded detention facilities across the country.
Museveni calls for justice before reconciliation
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni told university students in the southern Rwandan town of Butare yesterday that convicted leaders of the genocide "should be hanged" and "the sooner the better". Museveni, ending a two-day visit to Rwanda, urged justice before reconciliation. During his visit to the country, he met Rwandan leaders and discussed security issues in the region, including the political situation in Burundi, news agencies reported.
CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: Forum expected to recommend genocide charges against Lissouba
A national reconciliation forum underway in Brazzaville is expected to recommend "genocide charges" against former president Pascal Lissouba, AFP quoted Congolese officials as saying. The forum, which has been extended until Wednesday, will also advise on the length of a proposed transition period before the government of President Denis Sassou Nguesso hands over to an elected civilian authority. Meanwhile, Gabonese radio reported that Sassou Nguesso had expressed concern over insecurity in Pointe-Noire due, he said, to the fact that the former regime had been distributing arms there over a long period. Former premier Bernard Kolelas denied accusations by Sassou Nguesso that he was buying arms in South Africa and planning to take power by force.
Mystery disease kills 74
A mystery disease which causes diarrhoea has killed 74 people in Pointe-Noire, where 243 cases have been reported since November, Congolese radio said on Saturday. Health ministry officials and local medical authorities were trying to determine the cause of the disease. Meanwhile, a UNICEF-sponsored emergency vaccination campaign began today in Brazzaville and its surroundings to minimise the threat of a measles epidemic. The six-week campaign aims to immunise some 250,000 children.
EAST AFRICA: EU bans fish imports
The European Union has banned fish imports from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Mozambique because of an outbreak of cholera in the region. News reports said the measure was expected to send fish prices plummeting, affecting local communities and national revenues. Fish Exporters' Association sources expressed surprise over the move, saying none of the 2,000 fish samples tested randomly in Belgium last month contained the cholera virus, the 'EastAfrican' reported.
KENYA: 'Rift Valley fever' death toll reaches 350
A haemorrhagic disease, suspected to be Rift Valley fever, claimed 21 more lives over the weekend in the northeast districts of Garissa and Wajir. According to the 'Daily Nation', more than 350 people have died in the outbreak since December.
ANGOLA: Deadline agreed for end of peace process
A new timetable has been agreed for the completion of the Angolan peace process by the end of February. The agreement followed a telephone conversation on Friday between President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi. The two men also discussed the conditions for their next face-to-face meeting, news agencies reported. Deputy Minister Without Portfolio Higino Carneiro told Angolan TV "there are good prospects" that outstanding items in the peace process will be implemented by the 28 February deadline.
According to UNITA radio, Savimbi and dos Santos also discussed the need to expand the mandate of the UN's Angola mission "until the process of national reconciliation had become irreversible and peace had been consolidated."
Employees of security firm expelled
The Angolan government has ordered the expulsion of 72 employees of a subsidiary of the British security firm DSL, accusing them of unspecified "illegal activities," the country's interior ministry said on Friday. The firm had won a short-term contract from 1990 to 1992 to set up a local subsidiary to protect the offices and diamond fields of the Angolan state diamond company ENDIAMA. The nationality of those being expelled was not given, AFP reported.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: UN mission makes no progress
The UN human rights investigation team to the DRC has made no progress in restarting their mission. Spokesman Jose Diaz told IRIN the team "is hoping to have consultations with the government soon" to discuss conditions for the resumption of field work. The mission was withdrawn from Mbandaka on 15 December on security grounds, "and more importantly threats to the independence of the investigation", Diaz said today.
SUDAN: Sudanese Islamic leader to visit Egypt - newspaper
AFP quoted a pro-government and pro-Islamic newspaper as saying Sudanese Islamic leader Hassan Abdallah al-Turabi would visit Egypt this Wednesday in another sign of improving ties between the two Arab-African neighbours. The 'Alwan' newspaper said the visit by Turabi, who is also speaker of Sudan's parliament, would coincide with a meeting of the Arab Parliamentary Union in the southern resort of Luxor. AFP said there was no official confirmation of the report. The meeting has been called to denounce terrorism after the 17 November massacre in Luxor of 58 holiday makers and four Egyptians by Islamic militants. The report came one day after Egypt said high-level ministerial talks would open in Cairo today on normalising relations between the two countries.
Government says its forces repelled Eritrean attack
Sudanese army troops and popular defence forces have repelled a surprise attack by Eritrean soldiers on a Sudanese border post, national media organisations reported on Friday. They quoted a local official as saying that the Sudanese forces "stood up courageously to a surprise assault by Eritrean troops" who suffered "heavy casualties". Khartoum, which accuses Eritrean forces of assisting the Sudanese opposition, has charged repeatedly in recent weeks that Eritrea was amassing troops along the border.
Meanwhile, last week AFP quoted an official statement as saying six factions in south Sudan which made peace with the government last year had agreed to unify all troops under the South Sudan Defence Force (SSDF). The statement from former rebel leader Riak Machar, now chairman of the South Sudan Coordination Council, came as press reports spoke of defections from the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) to government ranks. Unification of the former factions' troops would leave two armed organisations - the army and the SSDF - in the south and would make it easier for officials "to bring lawbreakers to accountability," Machar said.
Nairobi, 12 January 1998, 14:15 gmt
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Date: Mon, 12 Jan 1998 17:39:46 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <email@example.com> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 330 for 10-12 Jan 98.1.12 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.91.980112172638.7104Afirstname.lastname@example.org>
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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