Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 353 for 12 Feb 98.2.12

Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 353 for 12 Feb 98.2.12

U N I T E D N A T I O N S Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Integrated Regional Information Network for Central and Eastern Africa

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IRIN Update No. 353 for Central and Eastern Africa (Thursday 12 February 1998)

SUDAN: Vice-President killed in plane crash

Sudanese First Vice-President Al-Zubair Mohammad Saleh was today (Thursday) killed in a plane crash in south Sudan along with other government officials, Sudanese radio reported. The crash occurred in Nasir town. The radio, monitored by the BBC, broadcast a statement by President Omar al-Bashir saying the nation had lost "some of its devoted sons and leaders". A report by AFP, quoting official sources, said Information Minister Ibrahim Mohammad Khair had also been killed.

Bahr el Ghazal situation deteriorates further

A humanitarian source told IRIN today that the situation in Bahr el Ghazal, southern Sudan was "life-threatening for the weakest, the oldest and the youngest." Current estimates indicate that as many as 106,000 people have fled recent conflict. Prior to the recent upsurge in fighting aid agencies estimated 240,000 people of a total population roughly estimated at 1.5 million were already "vulnerable". "People are not in any shape to take more shocks", the aid worker told IRIN. Aweil is today thought to be under the control of the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), while SPLA reinforcements, including tanks and artillery, are said to be attacking Wau again. The UN/NGO umbrella group, Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS), has submitted a request to the Government of Sudan for special flight clearances for seven locations to deliver supplies to displaced people, but no response has yet been forthcoming.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Kabila snubs Jackson, DRC says he broke protocol

President Bill Clinton's envoy Jesse Jackson said yesterday (Wednesday) DRC President Laurent Kabila had declined to meet him during his two-day visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo, media organisations reported. Jackson arrived in Kinshasa on Monday as part of U.S. efforts to encourage Kabila's administration to open up political debate in the country and promote human rights. Jackson said Foreign Minister Bizima Karaha had been unhappy about his earlier talks with a broad section of Congolese society, including Kabila's opponents. Congolese television later reported that the meeting did not take place because in the opinion of the government Jackson did not conform to diplomatic norms. Citing US support for national reconstruction, the television said Jackson had come to cement the "good relations" which exist between the two countries. "Unfortunately, and to our greatest surprise, he did not behave in that sense," the television quoted Karaha as saying. The report did not specify Jackson's alleged misdemeanours.

Jackson sees problems ahead for DRC

AFP reported Jackson as saying he saw a number of clouds gathering on the horizon for DRC and quoted him as being "sad" and "disappointed" he was not received by Kabila. "If we are seeing rays of sunlight, we are also seeing clouds on the horizon," Jackson said.

DRC-CAR troops in weekend border clash - media

Troops of the Central African Republic and DRC clashed last weekend after Congolese troops crossed the Oubangui river marking the border, AFP quoted officials as saying on Wednesday. Trouble broke out after a Congolese soldier drowned in the river following a dispute with a CAR fisherman near the village of Bimbo, the report said. Congolese troops crossed the river and allegedly set alight a dozen houses in the village. Central African gendarmes and members of the presidential guard sent to the scene were met with automatic weapons fire and had to call for reinforcements.

UGANDA: Clinton to visit Uganda, will miss Kenya, DRC

President Bill Clinton will travel to Ghana, Uganda, South Africa, Botswana and Senegal from 22 March to 2 April in the first presidential tour of sub-Saharan Africa since Jimmy Carter went to Nigeria and Liberia in 1978. The White House announcement made no mention of Kenya nor DRC, both countries with which it has a constant on-off relationship. "During the trip, the president will highlight the new U.S. partnership with Africa -- a vibrant continent increasingly open to democracy and free markets -- and efforts to promote human rights and prevent future conflicts," said White House spokesman Mike McCurry.

BURUNDI: At least 24 killed in fresh rebel attack

News organisations reported at least 24 people were killed and 46 wounded when rebels attacked villagers in Minago, Rumonge commune in southern Burundi on Tuesday. Military spokesman Colonel Isaie Nibizi told reporters the rebels first attacked a military position in Minago, then went into the homes of people. He added that rebels were still in the Rumonge area following the Tuesday night attack.

Army moves to "flush out" rebels in northwest

Meanwhile, security forces are flushing out rebels hiding in northwest Cibitoke province, local media says. The operation was launched on Tuesday after the army received information the rebels were hiding along the Kaburantwa river in holes dug out by gold prospectors. Azania news agency said the security forces were being assisted by a militia called the "Guardians of Peace", essentially made up of former rebels.

Court hands down death penalty to mine-layers

A court in Burundi today sentenced seven people to death after finding them guilty of laying anti-tank mines which killed 11 people last March, AFP reported. Two other defendants were sentenced to life in prison. Two others got a year and 20 years in prison, respectively, while two others -- a journalist and a Protestant preacher -- were acquitted.

TANZANIA: OGATA tells Burundi refugees to avoid politics - Reuters

UNHCR head Sadako Ogata warned Burundian refugees on Wednesday to avoid political or military activity while living in camps in Tanzania, Reuters reported. Ogata told mainly-Hutu refugees at Nduta Camp there was no danger they would be repatriated to Burundi, where the Tutsi-dominated army is fighting Hutu rebels. "Here, while you are in the camp you should abide by the laws. You should maintain the camps as civilian. It is on this basis my office assists and protects refugees," Ogata told refugee leaders. "You should be restrained from any political or military activity. Neither the Tanzanian government nor my office will force anybody to go home," Ogata said.

CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: Police shoot at looters

Police in Brazzaville yesterday opened fire on looters in the south of the city, hitting two of them, official radio reported. It said there had been a spate of hold-ups in the Makele-Kele district recently. On Monday disgruntled militiamen, who were loyal to military leader Denis Sassou Nguesso during last year's civil war, went on a looting spree to express their anger over being exluded from the regular armed forces.

"Fruitful talks" with Mandela, Sassou Nguesso says

Meanwhile, Sassou Nguesso who is in South Africa said he had held "very fruitful" discussions with President Nelson Mandela yesterday. AFP said he was seeking recognition for his regime. "We expressed our wish to build cooperation with South Africa," he told journalists, but would not be drawn on whether South Africa had agreed to recognise his government.

Nairobi 12 February 1998 15:30 GMT


[The material contained in this communication comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. UN IRIN Tel: +254 2 622123 Fax: +254 2 622129 e-mail: for more information or subscriptions. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Quotations or extracts should include attribution to the original sources. IRIN reports are archived on the WWW at: or can be retrieved automatically by sending e-mail to Mailing list: irin-cea-updates]

Date: Thu, 12 Feb 1998 17:42:30 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 353 for 12 Feb 98.2.12 Message-ID: <>

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

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