Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 360 for 21-23 Feb 98.2.23

Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 360 for 21-23 Feb 98.2.23

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. 360 for Central and Eastern Africa (Saturday-Monday 21-23 February 1998)

BURUNDI: Sanctions to stay

Regional leaders decided to keep economic sanctions against Burundi at the end of a meeting in Kampala on Saturday. Burundi radio, monitored by the BBC, said however there appeared to be some division among the participants. It also pointed out that for the first time, Burundi had attended a regional summit to discuss the embargo. However, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, quoted by AFP, said there was "complete unanimity" on maintaining sanctions. A summit statement claimed "no significant progress" had been made in the peace process. Museveni had earlier opened the meeting with a call to "banish the ideology of genocide and sectarianism forever". The statement said all-party peace talks should continue under the mediation of former Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere, whom Burundi's rulers accuse of bias.

Burundi's Foreign Minister Luc Rukingama described the decision as "a very bad step in the wrong direction", according to AFP. President Pierre Buyoya, speaking on his return to Bujumbura, said the decision would not put a stop to the peace process. "I think that the lifting of sanctions will depend on us," he said on Burundi radio. "We are going to endeavour to see to it that in the coming months, no-one will have any pretext to call for sanctions against Burundi or call for their maintenance." The meeting was attended by Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi. Nyerere was also present, as was OAU Secretary-General Dr Salim Ahmed Salim.

RWANDA: 11 killed in attack on tea factory

Eleven people were killed following a rebel attack on a tea factory near the northwestern town of Gisenyi last week, the Rwanda News Agency reported. Rebels armed with rifles and traditional weapons attacked the Pfunda tea factory on Thursday afternoon, and ensuing clashes with the army reportedly lasted some 50 minutes.

Dallaire testimony postponed

General Romeo Dallaire, who headed the UN Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) at the time of the 1994 genocide, was due to testify before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha today (Monday), but the hearing was postponed after one of the judges was injured in a riding accident. Dallaire has been called by the defence in the case of Jean-Paul Akayesu, the former mayor of Taba in Gitarama prefecture. BBC radio commented that his appearance will put the spotlight on the UN's activities at the time of the genocide. The hearing is expected to resume tomorrow or Wednesday, to give Judge Lennart Aspegren time to recover.

In addition, two senior French army officers are expected to testify as defence witnesses in the Akayesu case. AFP said they were believed to have been involved in French military operations in Rwanda: one in the early 1990s known as Operation Noroit when France sent troops to help the government of ex-president Juvenal Habyarimana against the then-rebel RPF. The second, Operation Turquoise, was launched towards the end of the genocide in July 1994 to set up a "safe zone" in southwest Rwanda.

Convicted war criminal called by Rutaganda defence

The lawyer defending Georges Rutaganda, a high-ranking official in the Interahamwe militia, has called for convicted war criminal Froduald Karamira to appear before the ICTR. According to the organisation Fondation Hirondelle, which is covering ICTR proceedings, the lawyer Tifaine Dickson, said Karamira would be a "key witness" in the trial. He could testify that the Interahamwe "had received orders from outside", she alleged. Karamira - a deputy leader of the Mouvement Democratique Republicain (MDR) and a member of the extremist "Hutu-Power" faction - was sentenced to death over a year ago in Kigali for his role in the genocide. Of Tutsi origin, he was particularly noted for encouraging the massacre of Tutsis and Hutu opponents over the extremist Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM).

UNDP boss arrives

The administrator of UNDP, James Gustave Speth, arrived in Kigali on Saturday night in preparation for a possible visit to the Great Lakes region by Secretary-General Kofi Annan. In an interview with Rwandan radio yesterday (Sunday), Speth said the purpose of his mission was to listen to senior government officials on ways of improving UN performance in the region.

Dire food situation in Gikongoro

A report in the Rwandan 'New Times' weekly said the food situation in Gikongoro prefecture was again under threat due to recent severe storms that swept through several communes. Particularly affected are the Gasaka, Gikongoro and Remera communes where crops and homes have been flattened by the storms. Local sources told IRIN people are starving in Gikongoro due to the general infertility of the soil.


A cabinet meeting on Friday discussed the role of NGOs in DRC and noted that "most of them indulge in activities other than what they profess to do", DRC television reported. "Some NGOs indulged in furnishing arms to small groups that try to destabilise the eastern part of our country," a report from the meeting said. The report said the NGOs had no contract with the country. However, "in recognition of the importance of these international NGOs", the cabinet decided to ask them to re-register with the interior, foreign and justice ministries. The television added that a legal framework would be drawn up to outline relations between the authorities and NGOs.

Ogata discusses refugee problems

Meanwhile UNHCR chief, Sadako Ogata, held talks in Kinshasa on Friday with Minister of State for the Interior Gaetan Kakudji. According to DRC television, Kakudji said he hoped the problems between UNHCR and his country could be resolved. Ogata also met Foreign Minister Bizima Karaha who said UNHCR had promised to improve living conditions in relevant countries, rather than encourage the setting up of refugee camps. According to a Reuters report, Ogata wrapped up her trip to DRC on Sunday apparently without receiving firm guarantees her agency would have full access to Rwandan refugees in the country. Radio France Internationale said she asked permission from the Kinshasa authorities to reopen the UNHCR office in Goma.

Tshisekedi health said waning

The opposition Union pour la democratie et le progres social (UDPS) claims the health of its leader, Etienne Tshisekedi, has seriously deteriorated. Tshisekedi was moved to his home village of Kabeya Kamwanga in Kasai province last week on the orders of President Laurent-Desire Kabila. According to a UDPS statement issued in Brussels, reported by AFP, Tshisekedi was being deprived of healthcare.

UGANDA: Ugandan schools reopen after sanitary facilities improved

Many of the 800 Ugandan schools ordered closed earlier this month to stem an outbreak of cholera reopened today, health officials said, quoted by AFP. The government had ordered the closure of schools without adequate toilets after the disease broke out following torrential rains and floods. Any school unable to provide adequate sanitary facilities was being assisted by the government. Most of the affected schools are in the Kampala and Mbale areas, AFP said.

ADF rebels launch attacks in west

Rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) kidnapped 30 schoolgirls after attacking a school in the western Kabarole district on Thursday. The state-owned 'New Vision' newspaper later said the girls managed to escape their abducters. Two students and two rebels were reported killed in fighting that ensued after government troops arrived on the scene. In an incident over the weekend, ADF insurgents killed six people in Kyabandara village, Bundibugyo district, press reports said.

Nairobi, 23 February 1998, 14:15 gmt


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-- Date: Mon, 23 Feb 1998 17:39:58 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 360 for 21-23 Feb 98.2.23 Message-ID: <>

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

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