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IRIN Update No. 344 for Central and Eastern Africa (Friday 30 January 1998)
SUDAN: Army denies rebels control Wau
The Sudanese army has denied rebel claims that they have taken Wau, the second largest town in southern Sudan. An army statement yesterday (Thursday) said troops had repelled a "desperate attack" by the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) on Wau, "teaching the traitors and agents a lesson they will not forget". However SPLA leader John Garang, in an interview with the BBC said fighting was still continuing 24 hours after his forces launched yesterday's dawn attack. According to Garang, a former ally Kerubino Kwanyan Bol, who earlier defected to the government, had now rejoined the SPLA and was commanding the attack on Wau.
UGANDA: Rebel raids reported in north
Rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) have carried out a series of raids in northern Uganda, according to local press reports. The independent 'Monitor' paper said on Tuesday a group of rebels overran an army unit in Lira district, burned a school hospital and looted drugs. Earlier, they had attacked Agweng parish on the Lira-Kitgum road and abducted 30 people. Security sources, quoted by AFP, denied the situation in the region was serious, saying the attacks were due to a small groups of roving bandits.
Rebels surrender to army
The state-owned 'New Vision' said yesterday 68 rebels of the little-known Uganda National Rescue Front-2 had surrendered to the army over the last two weeks in the northwest Arua district. The group has bases in southern Sudan, occasionally striking the West Nile region of northwest Uganda. It is a splinter from the West Nile Bank Front rebel group.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Kakudji warns Burundi, Rwanda rebels
Minister of State for Internal Affairs Gaetan Kakudji has accused rebels from Burundi and Rwanda of establishing rear bases in eastern DRC. Speaking on return to Kinshasa from a visit to Bukavu earlier this week, he said he had been on a "pacification mission". "We have decided to ensure there is no more war as in the past," Kakudji told reporters. "It is intolerable that these elements should export their war to our country". President Laurent-Desire Kabila, who was in Bukavu yesterday (Thursday), accused France and two aid agencies of aiding Mai-Mai rebels in eastern DRC.
Traditional chiefs arrested
The authorities in South Kivu on Tuesday arrested two traditional chiefs, Mwami Desire Kabare Rugemaninzi of Kabare and Mwami Pierre Ndatabaye Weza III of Ngweshe, accusing them of involvement with Mai-Mai rebels. Meanwhile, the brother of Kabila's former military adviser Masasu Nindaga has been sentenced to 20 years' hard labour by a military court. Justin Nindaga was found guilty of inciting mutiny last year among troops in Bukavu, AFP said, citing state radio. Masasu was himself arrested last November and charged with drug trafficking, although regional observers commented the arrest was due to rivalry within the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (ADFL).
Kapalata camp to be closed
The DRC authorities yesterday announced the Kapalata military camp in Kisangani would be closed after some 300 deaths from cholera. Health Minister Jean-Baptiste Sondji told Reuters, after visiting the camp, he personally took the decision to close it. The camp houses young Mai-Mai fighters who have been living there in cramped and unsanitary conditions. They will be transferred to an unfinished hospital building in Kisangani.
Remaining refugees to be repatriated from Kinkole
UNHCR is repatriating several hundred Congo-Brazzaville refugees remaining at the Kinkole camp outside Kinshasa. When the last refugees are moved to Brazzaville by mid-February, UNHCR plans to close down the Kinkole camp. The camp hosted some 10,000 refugees during last year's civil war in Congo-Brazzaville.
CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: Sporadic shooting heard
Sporadic shooting was heard overnight Wednesday and Thursday in Brazzaville, Reuters said in a report from Kinshasa. It said residents the gunfire on disgruntled former militia fighters seeking to be incorporated into the army.
BURUNDI: Bagaza trial postponed
The trial of former president Jean-Baptiste Bagaza, due to open yesterday, has been postponed, AFP reported. Bagaza, leader of the pro-Tutsi Parti pour le redressement national (PARENA), is accused of plotting to kill President Pierre Buyoya. PARENA opposes any attempts to negotiate with Hutu rebel groups.
KENYA: Rift Valley violence contained, police say
Police commissioner Duncan Wachira yesterday said the violence in Njoro in Rift Valley province had been contained, with some 64 suspects under arrest. The 'Daily Nation' today (Friday) quoted the commissioner as saying the death toll in ethnic clashes had increased to 37. The newspaper reported that the violence was spreading to the Mau-Narok area of the province, with the latest discovery of two bodies there.Rift Valley Provincial Commissioner Nicholas Mberia described the scene as "devastating". "I am now fully aware there is a big problem in Mau Narok and I assure you the government will do everything possible to stamp out the violence," he said, according to the "Daily Nation'. Meanwhile, Kenya's reform lobby the National Convention Executive Council (NCEC) yesterday urged Kenyans to "arm and form village self-defence groups against aggression".
US plane sends aid to northeast
A military cargo plane, provided by the US, began an airlift of emergency relief supplies to northeast Kenya yesterday, according to a US embassy statement. The plane and a US military Humanitarian Assistance Survey Team were sent to Kenya following meetings last week between US and Kenyan officials. The C-130 plane will continue delivering emergency supplies to flood victims until next week.
Nairobi, 30 January 1998, 13:35 gmt
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Date: Fri, 30 Jan 1998 16:30:52 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <email@example.com> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 344 for 30 Jan 98.1.30 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.91.980130163003.13865Hfirstname.lastname@example.org>
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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