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IRIN Update No. 371 for Central and Eastern Africa (Tuesday 10 March 1998)
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Army crackdown on rebel "accomplices"
Local sources in Goma told IRIN today (Tuesday) many people had been arrested in the past week during an army crackdown on alleged Mayi-Mayi and Interahamwe "accomplices". In a press conference yesterday (Monday), the North Kivu Governor, Leonard Gafunde, called on the local population not to collaborate with rebels. "If you want peace, you must disassociate from peace enemies," he warned.
51 people killed in Butembo clashes - governor
Gafunde said that 51 people died following last month's Mayi-Mayi attack on Butembo. In response to a question on army reprisals in the town, he said that "all troublemakers must be suppressed. If the population is cooperating with the enemy, they have to be treated accordingly." Independent sources claim that more than 300 people were killed following the army's recapture of Butembo. Meanwhile, clashes between the army and rebels have reportedly occurred on the Goma/Rutshuru road and in Mushaki, 30 km west of Goma.
Banyamulenge end mutiny
Several hundred Banyamulenge soldiers have ended a two-week mutiny in eastern DRC after being granted amnesty, Reuters reported local officials as saying on Monday. The soldiers returned to Bukavu at the weekend. But not all the grievances they outlined during a week of "tense" negotiations had been immediately addressed, a senior official said.
The mutiny and clashes with other factions of the army were sparked by attempts to integrate the Banyamulenge with ex-FAZ and to send them out of their region of origin. The deserting Banyamulenge also said they feel inadequately compensated in the current military hierarchy for the key role they played in the war. The officials said there were no new plans to move the Banyamulenge out of their region of origin where anti-Tutsi sentiment threatens their families.
AFP reported that the South Kivu authorities are down playing tensions between Banyamulenge and other ethnic groups. At the weekend, Governor Charles Magabe denounced a "psychosis fed by unfounded reports". He described as an "exaggeration" reports of ethnic tensions.
Kabila meets dos Santos
DRC President Laurent-Desire Kabila yesterday met his Angolan counterpart in Luanda to discuss Angola's domestic political situation and border security concerns. No statement was issued after the two-hour meeting, according to Angolan TV, monitored by the BBC.
300 intelligence officers graduate
More than 300 young graduates of the Academy of the National Intelligence Agency were sworn in as security officers at the weekend, state TV reported. Chairing the ceremony, Kabila called on the graduates "to rebuild a country that has once again been ravaged."
BURUNDI: Vatican reiterates opposition to sanctions
The Vatican on Monday confirmed its opposition to sanctions against Burundi following talks between Pope John Paul II and Burundi President Pierre Buyoya. A Vatican spokesman said the church "will continue to speak out in favour of lifting sanctions which hit the most deprived parts of the population the hardest." Buyoya is on a tour seeking to raise the pressure in Europe for an end to the regionally-imposed embargo, AFP reported. He is expected to meet Italian President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Patasse claims mercenary coup
Mercenaries are being recruited in Belgium and France to overthrow Central African Republic leader Ange-Felix Patasse, he said in an interview published today. He told the French daily 'Liberation' that French elements "nostalgic about the past who want to hang on to their colonial bastion" were planning "low blows" against him, AFP reported. But he said he wanted to work with "official and democratic" France. Patasse also said he was upset about the French military withdrawal from Bangui, calling it a "fait accompli."
CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: WFP says food situation precarious
WFP describes the food situation in Congo-Brazzaville as "precarious", particularly for the former refugees presently accommodated in transit sites. The resumption of agricultural activities is being hampered by lack of seeds, as the existing stocks were consumed during wartime, the agency added. An estimated seven percent of the children are malnourished and WFP will pay special attention to the needs of these groups. Cholera cases continue to be reported, with over 1,000 cases registered at Pointe Noire and in the Kouilou region. A mission from the local health authorities also reported many cases of typhoid fever in the hinterland.
UNICEF project for war-traumatised children underway
A UNICEF project to identify and assist war-traumatised children has begun in Brazzaville. In the Bacongo area, UNICEF teams have mounted house-by-house screening of children, with some 900 children between the ages of 3-17 years seen up to 21 February. A high proportion of the children exhibited signs of trauma, including aggressiveness, muteness and psychosomatic paralysis. Similar house-by-house screening exercises will be organised throughout the city.
In a related project, UNICEF is collaborating with UNFPA, IFRC, the International Rescue Committee, and other organisations to provide support to victims of sexual violence in the Congo.
UGANDA: Reduced crop yields expected due to flooding
The Famine Early Warning System (FEWS) February report for Uganda indicates abnormally-high rainfalls will reduce yields for cereals and pulses in the second harvest season underway in western, central and eastern regions. Low yields are also expected for cash crops such as cotton and coffee, with cotton production for 1997/98 expected to be 40 percent down. Prices for staple food crops remain historically high, reflecting low supply and reduced access. Meteorological authorities in Uganda have warned that anomalous rainfall patterns are expected to continue through 1998, the report says.
RWANDA: Akayesu hearings to end in March
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda will complete hearings on genocide defendant Jean-Paul Akayesu by the end of the month. The prosecution's case against Akayesu, a former mayor, will start winding up on 19 March while defence counsel will have their final say from 25 March, according to Fondation Hirondelle. Meanwhile, a defence lawyer said that the trial of another key defendant, former colonel Theoneste Bagosora, will not open as planned on Thursday, AFP reported. Procedural delays were cited as the reason.
Presbyterian minister released
The Rwandan authorities have released a Presbyterian minister and five companions who were detained on 14 February as suspected rebel sympathisers, church authorities said on Monday. The six, travelling to Kigali from western Kibuye region, were held at a gendarme post after picking up a hitch-hiker who was wanted in connection with alleged rebel activity in Kibuye, AFP reported.
TANZANIA: Rift Valley Fever and "malaria" outbreaks reported
Tanzanian medical and veterinary teams are struggling to control an outbreak of Rift Valley Fever and another disease they class as "malaria" that is ravaging the northern region of Arusha, the state-owned 'Daily News' reported today.
Nairobi, 10 March 1998, 15:00 GMT
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Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998 18:36:02 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 371 for 10 Mar 98.3.10 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.91.980310183527.18446Aemail@example.com>
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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