Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 334 for 16 Jan 98.1.16

Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 334 for 16 Jan 98.1.16

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. 334 for Central and Eastern Africa (Friday 16 January 1998)

RWANDA: UN says Rwanda on the verge of new wave of killings

The UN has warned that Rwanda may be on the threshold of a new wave of violence after thousands of killings in recent months, particularly in the northwest of the country. The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Rwanda Omar Bakhet, interviewed by the BBC, said "the situation is very precarious." The army chief of staff Colonel Kayumba Nyamwasa, stressed the army has the means and the will to crush the insurgency. "We will kill until they (Hutu militias) lose their appetite for war."

Inter-agency mission to visit northwest

An inter-agency assessment mission departs this weekend for Rwanda's troubled Ruhengeri and Gisenyi prefectures. The mission is expected to last for two weeks, humanitarian sources told IRIN. Participants are DHA, WFP, MSF, Concern and the UN Human Rights Field Office.

Kagame to visit Brussels for talks with EU

Rwandan Vice President and Defence Minister Paul Kagame is due to make an official visit to Brussels next week where he will meet EU officials and Belgian government leaders. The 21 January visit signals growing cooperation between the EU and Kigali, AFP said. The EU is Rwanda's biggest donor.

CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: DHA calls for urgent action to assist recovery

A DHA report on Congo-Brazzaville released this month warns that "the country appears delicately poised between what might be called a post-emergency and a pre-recovery phase. It is feared that unless action is taken to assist in the move towards a state of normality, the country could revert to a state of dire humanitarian need." According to an Oxfam census, close to 70 percent of residents who fled Brazzaville have returned.

Sassou Nguesso rejects promotion

Congo-Brazzaville leader General Denis Sassou Nguesso has declined an offer of promotion to the rank of marshal as a reward "for ending tyranny" in his country, Radio Congo reported yesterday (Thursday). The radio, monitored in Kinshasa by AFP, said the proposal was made during a national reconciliation conference which this week endorsed his political transition plan.

BURUNDI: CNDD calls for political solution to civil war

Burundi's main Hutu rebel group urged the country's Tutsi-led government yesterday to accept a peace plan but said international sanctions should remain to maintain pressure on Bujumbura. "A military victory does not interest us...we want a political solution and that's why we continue to say we're ready to negotiate," Jerome Ndiho, Belgium-based spokesman for the Conseil national pour la defense de la democratie (CNDD) said at a news conference. He described regional sanctions as "necessary". "To say that the embargo hits the most impoverished, that's wrong, the embargo hits...the army, the government. The great majority are not hit by the embargo," he said.

Gunmen kill two in bus ambush

At least two civilians were killed in Burundi when gunmen opened fire on a bus just outside Bujumbura, Reuters reported. Army spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Mamert Sinarinzi said the attack occurred last night at the Gatumba bridge. Meanwhile, US special envoy to the Great Lakes region Howard Wolpe was due in the Burundian capital for talks with political leaders today.

KENYA: FAO calls for urgent response to Rift Valley fever

FAO called yesterday for an urgent response to an epidemic of Rift Valley fever, one of the deadly diseases raging in flood-swept northeast Kenya and south Somalia, AFP reported from Rome. The UN agency said it had sent an expert to Nairobi who is to investigate the situation on the ground and help the local authorities try to eradicate the disease. Kenyan members of parliament from the affected region demanded urgent government action at a press conference on Wednesday.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Government and mining companies sign agreement

Kinshasa has signed a "pre-agreement" with international mining companies creating a consortium to revive production, AFP quoted official sources as saying yesterday. Present at the meeting were representatives from more than 20 mining companies.

Repatriation to Baraka begins

Some 800 DRC refugees were repatriated today (Friday) by boat from Kigoma to Baraka in eastern DRC. The operation marks the first direct refugee return to the town, and was facilitated by the building of a port at Baraka by UNHCR. Approximately 85 percent of the returnee caseload in Tanzania are from the difficult-to-reach Baraka and Fizi areas.

ANGOLA: Ex-Mobutu soldiers arrested

Border guards in northern Angola have rounded up 196 ex-soldiers of the defeated Zairean army, Angolan authorities announced today. The former soldiers had entered Malanje province which borders the DRC and were heading north when they were arrested in Uige province, AFP reported.

Regional security committee warns against doing business with UNITA

The Inter-State Defence and Security Committee of the Southern African Development Community has warned UNITA suppliers they risk "both their lives and property", Zambian radio said today. The ad hoc committee met in Zimbabwe to discuss cross-border criminal activities, a Zambian defence ministry communique said.

SUDAN/EGYPT: Ministers meet to promote economic cooperation

River traffic along the Nile between Egypt and Sudan is to resume from 30 January after a four-year interruption, AFP reported Sudanese External Trade Minister Osman al-Hadi Ibrahim as saying yesterday. The Sudanese minister, who arrived in Cairo Wednesday, held meetings with his Egyptian counterpart Ahmad Goweili on promoting economic cooperation. Goweili announced the formation of two joint committees, one including top officials of the two countries' trade ministries and the other grouping businessmen, to study investment projects.

Kerubino appointed deputy chairman of SSCC

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Thursday appointed Kerubino Kwanyin, the commander of pro-government militias in Bahr al-Ghazal state, as deputy chairman of the South Sudan Coordination Council, state radio said. Kwanyin, who founded the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), recently persuaded thousands of rebels in his state to defect from the SPLA and join government ranks.

Nairobi, 16 January 1998 14:45 gmt


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Date: Fri, 16 Jan 1998 17:47:53 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 334 for 16 Jan 98.1.16 Message-ID: <>

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

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