Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 339 for 23 Jan 98.1.23

Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 339 for 23 Jan 98.1.23


Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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for Central and Eastern Africa

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IRIN Update No. 339 for Central and Eastern Africa (Friday 23 January 1998)

ANGOLA: Pretoria condemns UNITA sanctions busting

Pretoria yesterday condemned South African "opportunists" violating UN sanctions against UNITA, news agencies reported. A foreign ministry statement said those flouting the embargo "will have to face the consequence of their actions". The warning follows the forcing down by the Angolan Air Force on Tuesday of a private South African cargo plane flying materials to UNITA. According to the Angolan military, the DC-4 with eight people on board, was carrying supplies as well as diamond mining equipment to UNITA's Bailundo headquarters. The military command warned that aircraft breaking UN sanctions would face "drastic" interception measures.

A source at the Johannesburg-based Institute for Security Studies told IRIN today (Friday) that "it has been known for some time" that South African business people were supplying UNITA. Among the goods ferried are ration packs and small arms, "flown out from smaller airfields in South Africa and Zambia." A spokeswoman for the UN Angolan peacekeeping mission (MONUA) told IRIN that it forwards all its reports of breaches of the embargo to the New York-based sanctions committee. She could not immediately comment on how many cases MONUA had recorded.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Troops riot over no pay in Matadi, Boma

Soldiers rioted in two DRC port towns yesterday (Thursday) after senior officers allegedly embezzled their pay, Reuters quoted security sources as saying. Military police reinforcements were flown to the main Atlantic port of Matadi and Boma further west and brought the situation under control. Soldiers began shooting in the air on Wednesday evening in Matadi, 350 km west of Kinshasa, and looted businesses. The protests spread to Boma. Several officers are believed to have been arrested.

Diamond prospectors flee Angola

Meningitis has broken out among DRC diamond miners returning home from Angola. Health Minister Jean-Baptiste Sondji told Reuters yesterday that at least 15 of the returnees had died. He said a medical team would be sent to vaccinate 70,000 people in the area around the diamond trading centre of Tembo, 400 km from Kinshasa, to contain the epidemic.

He said several thousand miners had returned to the DRC after UNITA transferred control of the mines in Cuando Valley earlier this month to the government. Sondji said the miners were fleeing a government offensive to capture the diamond-rich Lunda province from UNITA. Aid workers however said the refugees had been expelled by UNITA. They made no mention of fighting, Reuters said. A MONUA spokeswoman also told IRIN there had been no clashes. She said the miners were economic migrants and had lost their jobs when the government took control of the mines. DRC state television said the returnees "lost everything on their way back home - money, diamonds and other belongings have been taken away. UNITA rebels are extorting money from them."

BURUNDI: Kenya says sanctions may be reconsidered

Kenya's Foreign Affairs Minister Bonaya Godana said yesterday that Nairobi may reconsider sanctions against Burundi, state radio monitored by the BBC reported. Godana said sanctions were hurting Burundian citizens and were being abused. A delegation of the chambers of commerce of Comesa, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa countries, recently called for an end to the regional embargo after visiting Bujumbura.

Foreign Minister urges end to sanctions

Burundi Foreign Affairs Minister Luc Rukingama also called yesterday for an end to sanctions, which he described as "counter-productive." Speaking in Arusha at a three-day international workshop on resolving conflicts in Africa, Rukingama called for the lifting of the sanctions imposed after the military coup of 1996, AFP reported. However, Jean Minani, the exiled leader of the opposition Front pour la democratie au Burundi (FRODEBU) which was ousted from power by the coup, used the conference to call for strengthening the sanctions against Buyoya's "putschist regime." The Tanzania-based Minani said the situation in Burundi was "explosive" and called for the deployment of a peacekeeping force in the country.

CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: Militia open fire in capital, soldiers intervene

Militia fighters seeking integration into the army opened fire today outside a military base in Brazzaville, state-run radio said. It did not identify the militia force. Troops loyal to President Denis Sassou Nguesso rushed to the base in the Bacongo district of the capital, the radio said.

Nairobi, 23 January 1998, 13:45 gmt


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Date: Fri, 23 Jan 1998 16:44:12 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 339 for 23 Jan 98.1.23 Message-ID: <

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

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