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IRIN Update No. 359 for Central and Eastern Africa (Friday 20 February 1998)
BURUNDI: Buyoya invited to Kampala meeting for "consultations"
Regional heads of state, due to meet in Uganda on Saturday to review their sanctions policy against Burundi, sent a last-minute invitation to the country's leader Pierre Buyoya "to be available in Kampala for consultations." According to AFP, the invitation, which addressed Buyoya as "president," was sent yesterday (Thursday) by Uganda's foreign ministry. The summit comes amid growing calls for the blockade to be abandoned. The summit, the sixth on Burundi, is expected to group heads of state or their representatives from Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Mediator Julius Nyerere and OAU Secretary-General Salim Ahmed Salim are also due to attend.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Mobutu supporters provisionally released
Twenty-six leading supporters of late-president Mobutu Sese Seko were provisionally released yesterday after nearly eight months in jail on corruption charges, AFP reported. The justice ministry in Kinshasa said the 26 were freed on condition they do not leave the country. They were among more than 30 Mobutu allies who were detained after President Laurent-Desire Kabila came to power last May.
Army chief condemns foreign media misinformation campaign
DRC interim army chief of staff Commandant James Kabare on Thursday accused foreign radio broadcasters of a campaign of misinformation. In a statement read on state television, Kabere denied reports by the BBC's French service and Radio France Internationale that DRC troops had crossed into neighboring Central African Republic. "Such information does not concord with the truth and is designed to disturb the peace and spread doubt among the population of the Democratic Republic of the Congo," Reuters reported the communique as saying.
Weapons seized in Bukavu after army search operation
Twenty-four people were detained and 27 weapons seized in Bukavu yesterday after the army launched house-to-house searches for illegal guns, state SUDAN-EGYPT: Opposition leader meets Egyptian foreign minister radio monitored by the BBC reported. The authorities said the operation was launched following an increase in armed robberies in the town.
ANGOLA: UNITA alleges Dos Santos's poor health delays
UNITA radio claimed on Wednesday that the alleged ill health of Angolan President Eduardo Dos Santos has stalled a planned meeting with UNITA party leader Jonas Savimbi. UNITA Secretary-General Lukamba Paulo Gato told the radio that UNITA was opposed to Luanda as a venue for the meeting on security grounds, but Dos Santos's health prevented him from travelling to the provinces.
Meanwhile, Savimbi met on Wednesday with the deputy US representative at the UN, Nancy Sonderberg, at his Bailundo headquarters. The four-hour meeting dealt with the implementation of the Lusaka peace accord, UNITA radio said.
RWANDA: UNDP chief to visit Kigali
UNDP Administrator James Speth is due to visit Rwanda from 21-23 February as part of the preparation for a possible tour of the Great Lakes Region by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in April/May this year. Speth, chairman of the UN Task Force on the Great Lakes, will also travel to Burundi, DRC and Congo-Brazzaville. According to a UNDP press release, he will establish personal contacts with the political leaders of the region and discuss issues of rehabilitation and reconstruction.
54,000 children reunited with their families
More than 54,000 Rwandan children have been reunited with their families since the 1994 civil war, ICRC said on Thursday. Spokesman Bernard Barrett told AFP that the ICRC helped more than 13,000 of the children find their homes.
SUDAN-EGYPT: Opposition leader meets Egyptian foreign minister
Egypt's foreign minister Amr Musa met yesterday with the chairman of the opposition Sudanese National Democratic Alliance (NDA), Muhammad Uthman al-Mirghani, Egyptian radio monitored by the BBC reported. Speaking after the meeting Mirghani, who also heads the Sudanese Democratic Unionist Party, said achieving peace in Sudan would come only through dialogue between the government and all the Sudanese factions.
TANZANIA: Storage charges for Ugandan imports waived
Tanzanian Harbours Authority (THA) is to waive storage charges for Ugandan cargo imports passing through the port of Dar es Salaam, a THA official said on Thursday. The spokesman told AFP that the concession followed a pile up of Ugandan imports at the port due to the collapse of Tanzanian road and rail transport systems as a result of four months of torrential rains and flooding caused by the El-Nino weather phenomenon.
Nairobi, 20 February 13:30 GMT
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Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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