Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 337 for 21 Jan 98.1.21

Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 337 for 21 Jan 98.1.21

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IRIN Update No. 337 for Central and Eastern Africa (Wednesday 21 January 1998)

RWANDA: Demonstrators in Gisenyi protest rebel attacks

Demonstrators marched in the northwestern town of Gisenyi today (Wednesday) to protest against Hutu rebel attacks and to bury the remaining victims of Monday's bus ambush which killed 35 people. The unreclaimed bodies had been burnt beyond recognition. Humanitarian sources in Gisenyi told IRIN today that the situation in the town was "calm, but the population is still in shock." They however said a woman had been stoned to death by a mob earlier this week after she was heard to say "something insensitive" about the bus killings.

Kagame calls for EU aid

Rwandan Vice President and Defence Minister Paul Kagame yesterday (Tuesday) called for EU aid to Kigali, AFP reported. "We are told we must resolve our problems before we can get aid, but we need this aid to resolve them," he told the European Parliament's development and cooperation committee. "The best way to help us is by refusing to get involved in our problems but getting involved in our solutions," he said. Kagame added that he agreed with the EU on the need to establish democracy and respect for human rights in Rwanda and stressed that "economic aid will contribute" to this.

Pretoria wants international community to help end killings The South African government yesterday called on the international community to help bring the escalating violence in Rwanda to an end. A foreign ministry statement condemned recent rebel attacks. It also urged "national reconciliation and the construction of a functioning democratic system in Rwanda," the South African news agency reported.

WFP introduces food barges for Kibuye

WFP is using food barges to help supply 15,000 refugees in Kibuye in western Rwanda, thereby avoiding dangerous cross-country routes. Since last December, 817 tonnes of food has been moved by road from Uganda into the Democratic Republic of Congo and then floated across Lake Kivu to Kibuye, AFP reported.

TANZANIA: Museveni reiterates call to execute genocide perpetrators

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has again called for those guilty of genocide in Rwanda to be put to death. Addressing the opening session of an international seminar on conflict resolution in Arusha today, he said: "The crime was capital, the punishment must be. Either the international community or the Rwandan government must do it ... or the families (of the victims) will do it." Museveni also called for even-handed and early intervention in potential crises, but said such action had to be "consistent and not ad-hoc". "You cannot do something about one dictator and nothing about another," he said.

Senior regional diplomats attending the meeting told IRIN that while both the Burundi government and rebel representatives were present, direct talks were not expected. "We are expecting the usual lobbying," one diplomat said.

17 Zanzibar opposition leaders on hunger strike

Seventeen members of the opposition Civic United Front (CUF) facing treason charges have gone on hunger strike. According to AFP, the state-owned 'Daily News' said the opposition politicians declared their hunger strike on Monday when they appeared in a magistrate's court on the island of Zanzibar. The magistrate adjourned their case for a fourth time, until 3 February. The 17, charged with having conspired in November to overthrow the government of Zanzibar President Salmin Amour, said their hunger strike was to protest against "delaying tactics" over the handling of their case.

BURUNDI: Mopping-up operations around Bujumbura

A military spokesman said yesterday the security situation in the hills surrounding Bujumbura had improved and the security forces were conducting mopping-up operations there. Colonel Isaie Nibizi told the Agence burundaise de presse (ABP) only "small, scattered groups" of rebels remained there after they launched attacks just north of the city over the weekend. He said the insurgents were now trying to reach the Kibira national park in northeast Burundi. Nibizi added no civilians had died in the recent clashes, and residents who had fled to the Bujumbura suburbs were being protected by the security forces. In further violence, 33 people died in a rebel attack on the southern town of Rumonge on Monday. Military sources said 20 of the victims were rebels, the rest being civilians and one soldier.

KENYA: Flood situation easing in Garissa area

Humanitarian sources told IRIN the flood situation in Garissa town itself was easing. Floodwaters in the area have receded as there has been no rain for about a week. Floodwater is still affecting some of the Daadab refugee camps, particularly Ifo, but UN workers there say there is no problem in delivering food to the refugees. One of the major problems caused by the recent flooding is that displaced people are coming to the camps in search of humanitarian assistance. Aid workers say it is difficult to screen them for genuine refugees. The main Thika to Garissa road is still cut off by floodwater and it is feared the current dry spell is only a lull. More heavy rain means the situation can change overnight.

Warning of more disruption to come

Kenya's National Disaster Coordinating Committee (NDCC), meeting yesterday under the chairmanship of President Daniel arap Moi, warned of more disruption to economic activities in the country, Kenyan television reported. Forecasts estimated the current adverse weather pattern could continue until the middle of the year, and therefore the government set up a 24-hour operational centre within the Office of the President to strengthen the NDCC. The government estimated that some 300,000 Kenyans were in dire need of food, medicine, shelter and repairs to infrastructure.

Poor 'long rains' forecast

According to the Nairobi-based regional Drought Monitoring Centre (DMC), the "long rains" expected in March-May are likely to be poor in eastern Kenya and Somalia. A DMC official told IRIN today that western Kenya and parts of Uganda should, however, receive "near normal" rainfall. He stressed the forecast is based on El Nino conditions, and if warming of the Indian Ocean continues, it will "tend to moderate the El Nino impact." Currently, Kenya has received more rain in January than the entire January-March average.

ANGOLA: UN says peace process advancing

Talks are underway today between the government and a UNITA delegation to decide on operational details of the planned 400-strong security detail for UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi. A spokeswoman for the UN peacekeeping mission in Angola (MONUA) told IRIN that although today's deadline for a decision may not be met, "in general we can say the peace process is advancing on major issues."The final demobilisation of UNITA troops is slated for 28 January, but delays have been encountered over logistical problems like the lack of forms. Some 7,800 UNITA "residual" forces have been registered, awaiting demobilisation. Eighty-eight localities remain to be handed over to government administration by the end of the month, the spokeswoman said.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Opposition activist arrested

Opposition leader Joseph Olenghankoy was arrested in Kinshasa yesterday, according to members of his Forces novatrices pour l'union et la solidarite (FONUS). News reports said he was arrested after soldiers raided the party headquarters. The DRC authorities have made no comment on the incident. CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: Judge examines Lissouba's case against Elf

A French judge began work Tuesday on a civil law suit brought against the French oil group Elf by Congo's ousted president Pascal Lissouba, who accuses the company of engineering his downfall. According to AFP, court sources said the judge will rule on the refusal of prosecutors to pick up Lissouba's original case, lodged 20 December, which accused Elf of "involvement in willful destruction by organised gangs, terrorist acts, involvement in wilful murder, involvement in murder and assassinations, associating with criminals."

Nairobi, 21 January 1998 14:00 gmt


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Date: Wed, 21 Jan 1998 17:19:16 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 337 for 21 Jan 98.1.21 Message-ID: <>

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

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