Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 338 for 22 Jan 98.1.22

Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 338 for 22 Jan 98.1.22

Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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IRIN Update No. 338 for Central and Eastern Africa (Thursday 22 January 1998)

BURUNDI: 32 killed in northwest

More clashes have been reported in Burundi as rebels killed 32 civilians in the northwest on Monday night. According to army spokesman Colonel Isaie Nibizi, quoted by AFP, the attack occurred at the village of Gitukura, some 100 km northwest of Bujumbura. He said the rebels emerged from the Kibira forest and "massacred the innocent civilians" after accusing them of collaborating with the security forces. Nibizi blamed the attack on the rebel Parti pour la liberation du peuple hutu (PALIPEHUTU) and Rwandan Interahamwe militia.

Government still committed to negotiations

President Pierre Buyoya said yesterday (Wednesday), the rebels were too weak to take Bujumbura but his government was still committed to negotiations with them, Reuters reported. He told journalists there was "strong collaboration" between rebels from Burundi and Rwanda in the recent fighting around Bujumbura. Buyoya claimed Hutu rebels were killing Hutu civilians because the latter refused to cooperate with the insurgency. Innocent Nimpagaritse, Nairobi representative of the rebel Conseil national pour la defense de la democratie (CNDD), told a news conference on Tuesday there was no other solution but to continue fighting the Burundi authorities. "Our forces are still around the town (Bujumbura) and we will stay there because the CNDD has asked the putschist government to come to the negotiating table, but they have refused," he said. RWANDA: Tens of thousands demonstrate against "genocide" in Gisenyi

Some 10,000 people took to the streets of Gisenyi yesterday (Wednesday) to protest against ongoing violence in the region, the Rwanda News Agency reported. It said they had come from all over the country to bury the victims of Monday's rebel attack on a Rwandan Brewery bus in which at least 35 people were killed. "We condemn the ongoing genocide," read one of the banners. "Collaborators of terrorists should be arrested and punished," said another. RNA said the demonstrators were preceded by a convoy of 15 coffins carrying some of the victims. Life in Gisenyi came to a complete standstill with schools, public offices and businesses closed for the day.

Rwanda's application to East African Cooperation accepted

Rwanda has been cleared to join the East African Cooperation, Uganda's 'New Vision' reported yesterday. Following the go-ahead by a joint ministerial committee, Rwanda's application only awaits approval of the three heads of state, Uganda's Foreign Affairs Minister Eriya Kategaya said.

State carrier renamed, partially privately-owned

The national state carrier, Air Rwanda, has been renamed and will be owned by public and private shareholders both in Rwanda and abroad, according to Radio Rwanda. Alliance Air Rwanda will be 51 percent owned by the Rwandan state, with the rest controlled by South African Airways and Alliance Air, a company jointly owned by Uganda and Tanzania. An official of the new company said the aim was to improve regional cooperation and create a "strong and stable institution that would permit long-term planning". Last week a private airline, Rwanda Airlines, was launched. Its owner, businessman Charles Ngarambe, said it signified an "unprecedented step" in breaking the country's isolation.

SUDAN: More rebel defections reported

Some 1,600 Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) rebels have defected to government ranks in East Equatoria province, the southern state's governor claimed yesterday. Abdallah Kafelo said the defections are "as a result of the peace agreement (of last April) which has met all demands of the southerners," AFP quoted the official SUNA news agency as reporting. The government has issued a string of reports in recent months of the surrender of large numbers of SPLA rebels. An SPLA source in Nairobi told IRIN today (Thursday) that "defections in war time are a normal phenomenon." He however disputed the "proportions the government claims" and said Khartoum was "trying to make propaganda". He reiterated the SPLA's rejection of the April agreement - accepted last year by six southern rebel groups - as "a surrender".

Nairobi, 22 January 1998, 14:45 gmt


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Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 17:53:24 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 338 for 22 Jan 98.1.22 Message-ID: <>

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

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