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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. 331 for Central and Eastern Africa (Tuesday 13 January 1998)
RWANDA: France denies authorising arms exports during genocide
France yesterday (Monday) denied it had authorised arms exports to Rwanda which continued until end May 1994, over a month after the start of the genocide. A spokesman for the foreign ministry, Yves Doutriaux, said France stopped authorising arms exports before the UN imposed a weapons ban on 17 May 1994. He was reacting to a report in the daily 'Le Figaro' alleging the continuation of French arms sales to Rwanda after the start of the genocide. The paper quoted then-president Francois Mitterrand as telling close aides that "in such countries, genocide is not too important". It claimed that on 30 May 1994 "an aircraft transporting arms for the Rwandan armed forces worth US $942,680 landed in Zaire". In July, another plane carrying arms for the former Rwandan regime reportedly landed in Goma.
At least 18 rebels killed by army
Military sources said the Rwandan army killed 18 rebels in northwest Gisenyi prefecture over the weekend, the Rwanda News Agency (RNA) reported. Spokesman Major Emmanuel Ndahiro said the rebels attacked Nyamyumba commune on Saturday and tried to torch the local administrative offices. The rebels were killed after the army intervened and extinguished the fire. Army operations were still continuing in the area, RNA reported. Rwandan radio said the attack involved "thousands" of rebels, 40 of whom were killed by the security forces. AFP quoted Rwandan officials as saying 35 civilians and at least 18 rebels had been killed since the beginning of the year.
Nine nuns reportedly killed by rebels
RNA also said 18 people were killed in Gisenyi's Rwerere commune last Thursday at Busasamana on the Congolese border. The dead included nine nuns, six Rwandans and three Congolese who were attacked by militiamen armed with machetes and guns, according to local officials.
Kagame spokesman says Gitarama violence not local
Commenting on recent attacks in the central Gitarama prefecture, a spokesman for Vice-President Paul Kagame told IRIN these were not generated locally. Jean-Paul Kimonyo said the incidents were a spillover from the situation in Gisenyi. "There is support from some elements of the civilian population, but this is not always voluntary, it is often by force," he said. "What's important is to get the people of Rwanda to understand that the plans of the genocidal forces won't work." Kimonyo added it was too simplistic to see events purely as a Hutu-Tutsi conflict. "Most of the country is peaceful and this is the basis on which the situation should be assessed," he said.
BURUNDI: Army kills 53 rebels
The defence ministry said 53 rebels were killed during an "intensive military campaign" over the weekend in the hills surrounding Bujumbura. According to Burundi radio, two soldiers also lost their lives in the military operation conducted in Nyambuye commune. The rebels were said to have gathered there after launching a New Year's attack on Bujumbura airport, and subsequent raids in Rukaramu and Maramvya villages. The main Bujumbura to Bugarama road, closed for security reasons on Sunday, was reopened yesterday.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Ex-Zaire minister commits suicide
An information minister and spokesman in the government of former Zairean president Mobutu Sese Seko has committed suicide in Kinshasa, according to BBC radio. Relatives of Boguo Makeli said he had suffered financial problems over the past few months. Makeli continued to live in Kinshasa after the rebel forces of Laurent-Desire Kabila overthrew the Mobutu government last May.
CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: Transition period to take three years
The national reconciliation forum underway in Brazzaville yesterday set a three-year transition period to restore democracy. However, participants agreed the timescale could be "flexible" depending on conditions at the time. The session also decided to recommend legal steps against "people implicated in genocide and other crimes against humanity", AFP reported. A resolution, issued by participants, however did not explicitly name ousted president Pascal Lissouba. The current leader Denis Sassou Nguesso has also called on militiamen loyal to Lissouba, who are hiding out in the southwest Niari region, to hand over their weapons. He guaranteed nothing would happen to them if they surrendered.
ANGOLA: Separatists accuse army of massacre
Separatists in the Angolan enclave of Cabinda have accused the army of massacring 21 people in a church last Thursday, AFP reported. In a statement, the FAC faction of the Frente de Libertacao do Enclava de Cabinda (FLEC), said the incident occurred in the village of Cai-Kutene near the DRC border and was aimed at terrorising civilians in areas under separatist control.
Government ministers meet Savimbi
Territorial Administration Manager Faustino Muteka and his deputy General Higino Carneiro met UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi in Bailundo yesterday for talks on the peace process. They also discussed a proposed face-to-face meeting between Savimbi and President Eduardo dos Santos. Carneiro told Angolan television a UNITA delegation was due to arrive in Luanda on Friday, adding there had been some progress during the talks.
KENYA: Floods continue to cause havoc
Floods in Kenya, caused by incessant heavy rain, continue to create havoc in many parts of the country. The situation is further complicated by the outbreak of a disease, thought to be Rift Valley Fever, which has killed 350 people and tens of thousands of livestock in recent weeks. A major relief operation, based in the northeastern Kenyan town of Garissa, is underway for northern Kenya and Somalia. Some of the medical and food needs are being met by UN agencies and NGOs as well as the Kenyan government. WFP is operating about 35 flights a day in and out of Garissa, aiming to supply about 200 mt of food to 500,000 people per day in both countries. While the Kenya operation has had a good response from donors, WFP said funds were still required for the Somalia operation.
TANZANIA: Political tension intensifies in Zanzibar
Zanzibari President Salmin Amour claimed yesterday there was an external plot to destabilise the islands and resolving Zanzibar's problems would depend on the people's cooperation. Sixteen members of the opposition Civic United Front (CUF) party were arrested last month, accused of trying to overthrow the government. Commonwealth Secretary-General Chief Emeka Anyaoku, who visited Zanzibar recently, has warned that political tension there could plunge it into civil conflict. CUF disputes the outcome of 1995 elections - in which it campaigned for greater autonomy - saying the polls were rigged. Zanzibar united with mainland Tanganyika in 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanzania.
Nairobi, 13 January 1998, 14:00 gmt
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Date: Tue, 13 Jan 1998 17:01:41 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 331 for 13 Jan 98.1.13 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.91.980113170035.20132Aemail@example.com>
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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