IRIN Update 373 for 12 Mar 98.3.12

IRIN Update 373 for 12 Mar 98.3.12

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. 373 for Central and Eastern Africa (Thursday 12 March 1998)

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Attacks on Banyamulenge soldiers "routine"

A source close to the South Kivu authorities told IRIN today (Thursday) that three Banyamulenge soldiers were killed by Mayi-Mayi assailants at Buyakiri, northwest of Bukavu, on Tuesday night. The sources said other Congolese soldiers were unharmed, and claimed the soldiers were killed on the basis of their ethnicity. After the attack, the Mayi-Mayi "melted into the local villagers", the source said, adding: "These attacks are becoming routine."

RWANDA: Human rights campaigner dies

Andre Sibomana, one of Rwanda's leading human rights activists, died on Monday after an illness lasting several weeks. Sibomana, a Roman Catholic priest and journalist, was described by Amnesty International as a "staunch and uncompromising defender of human rights and a defender of the truth." He was apostolic administrator of Kabayi diocese, in Gitarama prefecture, director and editor of the catholic magazine, 'Kinyamateka', as well as a senior official of the Association rwandaise pour la defense des droits de la personne et des libertes publiques. He denounced abuses under successive governments.

BURUNDI: Mysterious disease reported in Ruyigi

A mysterious disease has appeared in Ruyigi province. According to the Azania news agency the feet swell up and small pockets of liquid appear under the skin which then quickly turn in to puss. Rashes then develop which make the infected person scratch themselves. The disease was first sighted in Karuzi. Over 100 cases have so far been registered in local hospitals. Medical sources fear the disease is highly contagious and could spread quickly if not combatted. Humanitarian sources say WHO is expected to send an expert to the area on Friday.

Buyoya returns from European trip

Burundi President Pierre Buyoya returned home on Tuesday after a trip to Europe aimed at winning support for an end to the regional embargo on his country. Buyoya told reporters the trip had been a success, saying the French and Italian authorities had decided to restart cooperation "in all its forms".

CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: UN details Congo-B appeal

The UN, detailing how it would spend a revised US $23 million appeal for the Republic of Congo, has said priority attention would be given to emergency rehabilitation of health centres, schools and private houses and child vaccination and preventive health programmes. Special attention will also be given to those traumatised by the civil war, particularly women and children. Support would be provided to the reconciliation efforts, peace education and human rights programmes, the UN said in New York. The appeal, part of this week's wider consolidated appeal for the Great Lakes and Central Africa, also promotes efforts to revitalise the agricultural economy, enhance food security, improve access to clean water and adequate shelter, and ensure reasonable health services for all people in need. The Republic of Congo is recovering from last year's four-month civil war that displaced some 650,000 of the country's three million people.

Children reported dead in capital bomb blast

Media reports from Brazzaville say at least eight children were killed when a shell abandoned during the recent civil war exploded. The BBC said the children were reported to have been playing with the shell in an empty house in the northern suburb of Mikalou. It quoted correspondents saying there had been numerous accidental explosions in Brazzaville since last year's civil war in which forces loyal to Denis Sassou Nguesso overthrew the former president, Pascal Lissouba.

Opposition accuses Angolan army of occupation

An opposition group Espace republicain pour la defense de la democratie et de l'unite nationale au congo-brazzaville (ERDUN) has accused the Angolan army of reinforcing its occupation of key towns in the country. In a press release received by IRIN, it said the Angolan army's "permanent" presence was on the pretext of defending Congo-Brazzaville against external aggression.

CAR: Washington gives blessing to UN peacekeeping force

The United States has given its support for a UN peacekeeping force to take over from an inter-African force in the Central African Republic, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said. "I was grateful to hear that they will support this peacekeeping operation," Annan told reporters after meeting on Wednesday with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The UN Security Council is expected to decide by 16 March whether to create the peacekeeping force proposed by Annan. Most of the council's members are in favour of the idea, but up to now the United States had serious reservations of a financial nature, AFP said. The new peacekeeping operation for Bangui will have an initial mandate of three years. It will take over from the inter-African force charged with enforcing peace agreements signed in January 1997.

TANZANIA: ACT appeal for four million facing food shortage

Nearly four million people are facing an acute food shortage in Tanzania, the NGO consortium Action by Churches Together (ACT) said in an appeal for emergency flood and drought assistance. Some 700,000 people are unable to afford commercial food because of rising prices, ACT warned.

WFP and FAO say roads priority in food relief

A joint report by WFP and FAO says Tanzania's critical food supply situation is "heavily influenced by transport and accessibility". The report concludes that the immediate priority for any appeals for international assistance for Tanzania "should be focused on transport constraints and moving food as soon as possible to areas of need rather than on injecting further quantities of relief food," Reuters reported yesterday (Wednesday). The report was based on a joint assessment mission conducted at the request of Tanzania in January.

KENYA-US: Nairobi not offended by ommission from Clinton itinerary

Kenya does feel snubbed by President Bill Clinton's decision to skip Nairobi during his upcoming visit to Africa. Kenya's Foreign Affairs Minister Bonaya Godana told Reuters that relations between Kenya and Washington are cordial. "If you look at Mr Clinton's itinerary you will see the countries he is visiting are of a particular type," Godana said. "They have either recently emerged or are emerging from changes ... this seems to be the theme." He added that Clinton had personally written to President Daniel arap Moi inviting him to a regional summit in Kampala at the end of the month.

Godana admitted that Kenya's international reputation had "taken a battering" in recent months. "Sometimes, without doubt, we feel we are being held to different standards," he said. "We are not a country of angels, but we feel we are nevertheless far ahead of many neighbours in terms of our progress."

Albright unlikely to accompany Clinton

US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is not expected to accompany Clinton on his African tour. "At this point, it looks like the pros of her staying in Washington or of being available for other activities outweigh the cons of her not going," State Department spokesman James Rubin told reporters on Wednesday.

Nairobi, 12 March 1998, 14:30 GMT


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Date: Thu, 12 Mar 1998 17:59:15 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 373 for 12 Mar 98.3.12 Message-ID: <>

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

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