Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 341 for 27 Jan 98.1.27

Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 341 for 27 Jan 98.1.27

Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Integrated Regional Information Network
for Central and Eastern Africa

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IRIN Update No. 341 for Central and Eastern Africa (Tuesday 27 January 1998)

RWANDA: Refugees must come home, official says

The government has reiterated its desire that all Rwandan refugees should return home, the Rwanda News Agency reported. The chairman of the repatriation commission, Mr Kabayija, said the government would leave "no stone unturned" to ensure all refugees "whether innocent or not" returned to the country. RNA said he was reacting to reports that some 12,000 Rwandans in Congo-Brazzaville who refused to be repatriated. "The problem with these refugees is that the majority want to return, but there are ex-FAR groups intimidating them," he said. Blaming some aid agencies for "perpetuating" the refugee problem, he called on countries sheltering Rwandan refugees to "emulate the Gabonese authorities who used their country's resources to repatriate our nationals".

Issue of Burundi, DRC refugees to be discussed

AFP quoted Minister of Family and Women's Affairs Aloysia Inyumba as saying her government would soon hold round-table talks with UNHCR to discuss the situation of refugees from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. She said the refugees should be handled in a "more sustainable" way. "We have to be systematic in our decisions. One of the questions is how can refugees look after themselves."

BURUNDI: PALIPEHUTU warns of imminent attack on Bujumbura

The rebel group Parti pour la liberation du peuple hutu (PALIPEHUTU) has warned foreigners to leave Bujumbura "before it's too late", saying its objective is to take the city. In a press release, the organisation claimed its armed wing, the Forces nationales de liberation (FNL), was responsible for the New Year attack on Bujumbura airport. It said claims of responsibility by the other main rebel group, Conseil national pour la defense de la democratie (CNDD), were false. In its statement, PALIPEHUTU said it had moved its headquarters from Cibitoke to Bujumbura.

KENYA: Rift Valley killings continue

The killings in Kenya's Rift Valley continued as a further three deaths were reported yesterday (Monday) and the sphere of violence extended into Molo constituency. Kenyan television said the clashes, in Njoro division of Molo, also resulted in the torching of 60 homes. The television described the attackers as "unidentified people", but reports in today's (Tuesday) 'Daily Nation' said the victims recognised some of their assailants. At least 50 people have been killed in violence in nearby Laikipia district. A police spokesman said 11 people been arrested in connection with the incidents.

UGANDA: LRA rebels cross into Gulu

The state-owned 'New Vision' yesterday reported a group of Lord's Resistance Army rebels had crossed into Gulu from bases in Sudan. According to the newspaper, the incursion follows reports that LRA leader Joseph Kony had ordered the fresh abduction of youths from the Acholi and Lang'o areas of the district.

Museveni defends non-party system

President Yoweri Museveni, speaking at a ceremony to mark his 12 years in power yesterday, defended his non-party system of government. In a speech broadcast over Ugandan radio, he recalled the "haemorrhage" suffered by his country under previous regimes. His government's first priority had been to ensure the security of citizens. He pointed out the danger of multipartyism being "hijacked by tribalism".


A three percent tax on the price of bread has been scrapped after warnings that it could lead to trouble in the country, AFP reported. The Federation of Enterprises of Congo said Finance Minister Ferdinand Tala-Ngai had decided to withdraw the tax, imposed by his predecessor Mawapanga Mwana Nanga. The Federation had contested the levy on the grounds it would have a punishing effect on a socially volatile sector.

Mining deals cancelled

The DRC government has cancelled mining research deals signed five months ago with 12 foreign companies, accusing them of "dragging their feet", Reuters reported yesterday. In a statement, the mines ministry announced that "exclusive research zones" granted to the companies "are retaken by the state". The statement also threatened to scrap preliminary agreements signed with other firms, giving them a 10 February deadline to start their field research work.

Health Minister visits Kapalata camp

DRC Health Minister, Jean-Baptiste Sondji, today visited Kapalata camp in Kisangani, where cholera has killed 255 people to date. The outbreak was first reported in mid-December after the most severe cases were transferred to Kisangani general hospital. The camp is a reeducation and instruction camp for Mai-Mai and ex-FAZ, and was housing some 7,000 people, most of them teenagers. Humanitarian sources told IRIN the minister listened to aid organisations involved in caring for the cholera victims. Some 30 percent of inmates are also said to be suffering from severe malnutrition and there is a risk the cholera epidemic may spread to Kisangani itself, the sources pointed out.

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Annan proposes new peacekeeping force

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan yesterday called for a UN peacekeeping force in CAR to take over from French-backed forces due to pull out soon. The current Inter-African Mission to Monitor the Implementation of the Bangui Agreements (MISAB) was put in place in February 1997 to ensure adherence to the peace deal aimed at ending a series of army mutinies. "The only viable option for the maintenance of stability in the Central African Republic appears to be the establishment and deployment of another peacekeeping operation by the international community," Annan said, according to Reuters.

GREAT LAKES: "Unprecedented" logistics steps taken

Damage to roads and railway lines from excessive rains and floods in Tanzania and Kenya have led to "alarmingly low" food aid stock levels in Rwanda and Burundi, WFP said today. Planned distributions have had to be drastically reduced as deliveries have dwindled to about half of the targets. A key stretch of railway from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma is cut, while the Mombasa to Uganda railway line, also used by WFP, is cut in eastern Uganda. WFP is establishing a variety of alternative routes, including moving food for Burundi via Zambia and Lake Tanganyika, and from Kenya to Uganda, Tanzania and beyond via Lake Victoria. A WFP spokesperson told IRIN today the use of such "unprecedented" supply routes is "a sign of the critical point which the operation has reached."

KENYA-SOMALIA: WFP appeals for US $12 million

Meanwhile, WFP today announced that its operations for 1.1 million flood victims in Kenya and Somalia were threatened by a lack of funding. WFP has already spent most of the US $5.8 million received from donors so far in the operations which began in response to heavy rains battering the region since last October. A further US $12 million is needed to keep operations running until the end of March. WFP is operating a fleet of aircraft and boats which has so far delivered 4,500 mt of food, medicines, shelter and other supplies.

Note to Subscribers: DHA becomes OCHA

The United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs (DHA), as part of its reform, has officially become the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Mr Sergio Vieira de Mello, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, assumed his functions in New York as head of OCHA in January 1998. He will be assisted by Mr Martin Griffiths, Deputy to the Under-Secretary-General and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator.

Nairobi, 27 January 1998, 14:25 gmt


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Date: Tue, 27 Jan 1998 17:30:01 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 341 for 27 Jan 98.1.27 Message-ID: <>

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

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