Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 358 for 19 Feb 98.2.19

Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 358 for 19 Feb 98.2.19

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. 358 for Central and Eastern Africa (Thursday 19 February 1998)

SUDAN: UN launches US $109 million appeal for emergency assistance

The UN launched a US $109.4 million appeal yesterday (Thursday) for emergency assistance to more than four million victims of war and drought in Sudan. In a press release, the Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs said a combination of intensified fighting and widespread drought was threatening to displace hundreds of thousands of Sudanese from their homes and put entire communities at risk of severe hunger and life-threatening diseases.

The money would also be used for projects aimed at protecting livelihoods and, in the medium term, reestablishing communities and social networks, the statement added. The bulk of emergency assistance to Sudan is chanelled through Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS), a consortium of UN agencies and non-governmental organisations launched in 1988.

Malnutrition stalks displaced in Bahr el Ghazal

Increasing signs of disease and malnutrition are emerging among the 100,000 displaced in southern Sudan's Bahr el Ghazal state, a humanitarian agency report has warned. The local population in the area is also facing food and water shortages, the report said. It stressed that seeds and tools are urgently required to prepare for cultivation in March. Unless these items are received within the coming weeks, the food deficit situation will persist.

Polio immunisation campaign launched

Meanwhile, OLS announced yesterday (Wednesday) in Nairobi that the first round of a polio immunisation programme for southern Sudan is underway. The campaign will target some 750,000 children in government and rebel held areas. The second round, essential for completing the vaccination course, is to start on 16 March. However, Bahr el Ghazal, home to some 40 percent of targeted children in southern Sudan, may not be covered due to current flight suspensions, the agency warned. Sudan remains one of only three countries in the world where WHO-recommended eradication strategies have yet to be introduced.

Turabi elected secretary-general of National Congress

Sudanese Islamic leader Hassan Abdallah al-Turabi was elected secretary-general of the ruling National Congress, Sudan's only political organisation on Wednesday. The National Congress re-elected President Omar al-Beshir as its chairman and chose Sherif Zein al-Abdin al-Hindi, the former secretary-general of the outlawed Democratic Unionist Party, to be its deputy chairman, AFP said. The three were elected unanimously. There were no other candidates.

The National Congress on Tuesday also endorsed guidelines for a draft constitution. Most speakers opposed a return to multiparty politics, although the draft reportedly provides for freedom of association. Turabi said the new constitution would take effect on 30 June.

Meanwhile, southern faction fighters backing the government who live in the Khartoum area have been ordered to surrender their weapons in a bid to stamp out insecurity, press reports said.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Garreton condemns Kinshasa's human rights record

The UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the DRC has expressed "deep concern" over the "continuing deterioration of human rights" in the country. In a statement released in Geneva yesterday, Roberto Garreton said he had received "numerous allegations of grave violations" since the start of 1998, and urged President Laurent-Desire Kabila to take all necessary measures to rectify the situation. Garreton said the "disturbing situation raised serious doubts about the process of democratisation".

Meanwhile, humanitarian sources report the army launched cordon-and-search operations today in Bukavu and Uvira hunting for weapons. NGOs have been restricted to their homes and some radios and mobile telephones were confiscated.

KENYA: Air force to airlift medical supplies

Kenya announced plans on Wednesday to use its air force to airlift mobile medical teams and drugs to the areas hardest hit by a malaria epidemic. A spokesman at the National Disaster Operational Centre in Nairobi said the mobile teams would be sent to Northeastern, Eastern, Nyanza and the Coast districts of Wajir, Garissa, Mandera, Marsabit, Samburu, Lamu and Tana River. The PANA news agency quoted medical officials in Kericho District, western Kenya, as confirming 118 malaria-related deaths in the area since January.

Rwanda: Trial of Interahamwe leader adjourned

The hearing of a senior member of Rwanda's Interahamwe militia, held responsible for most of the atrocities during the 1994 genocide, was adjourned on Wednesday due to the defendant's health, news agencies reported. Georges Rutaganda, a deputy leader of the militia, was too ill to attend the hearing, his lawyer told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Priests accused of genocide appear in court

Two Rwandan Roman Catholic priests accused of genocide and other crimes against humanity appeared in court on Monday in the western prefecture of Kibuye. The two clergymen are alleged to have committed crimes of genocide in 1994 in Gisenyi in the northwest and Kibuye, state radio monitored by the BBC said. The trial was adjourned to 24 February.

CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: Commercial flights resume to Brazzaville

International civilian air traffic resumed at Brazzaville airport on Wednesday with the arrival of an Air Afrique flight from Cotonou, official radio monitored by AFP reported.

GREAT LAKES: Ogata says refugee outflow slowing

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata met Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Wednesday for talks which a UNHCR spokesman described as "very frank." The spokesman said Museveni is considered as a "model" in his attitude to refugees, AFP reported. Ogata said the refugee outflow in the Great Lakes region had slowed, but that many problems remained to be solved, he added. Ogata is on a three-week tour of nine African countries.

EAST AFRICA: Police chiefs agree regional anti-crime strategy

Police chiefs of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda have agreed on collective action to combat cross border crime and improve interstate communication between their forces, the PANA news agency reported. The deal was reached on Tuesday at the end of a two-day conference in the Ugandan capital, Kampala. The agreement includes cooperation on the establishment of data banks on motor vehicle thefts, illicit arms and drug trafficking as well as cattle rustling in the region.

Nairobi, 19 February 1998 14:00 GMT


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-- Date: Thu, 19 Feb 1998 17:21:09 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 358 for 19 Feb 98.2.19 Message-ID: <>

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

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