IRIN Update 378 for 19 Mar 98.3.19 : 1.0

IRIN Update 378 for 19 Mar 98.3.19 : 1.0

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. 378 for Central and Eastern Africa (Thursday 19 March 1998)

UGANDA-UNITED STATES: Museveni says Sudanese "terrorism" on agenda

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said alleged Sudanese "terrorism" will be addressed by US leader Bill Clinton' during his Kampala visit. "I think terrorism is mentioned in the proposed draft joint communique," Museveni said. "So if Sudan has been engaged in terrorism, I think we shall address that problem too." Museveni, in Gulu to boost army efforts to counter a 12-year-insurgency by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), told AFP yesterday (Wednesday) that Sudan was "not a big problem" to regional security. He declared: "They have done all the destabilisation they can do. But we have defeated them, and we shall defeat them even more if they continue with their schemes." He added: "If we work with America, it will be because of our own interests. Our interests may coincide with theirs, but they will not be using us."

Sudan opposition hopes Clinton tour will bolster democracy movements

Clinton's African tour could strengthen the peace and democracy movements in Sudan, a leading opposition member told IPS today (Thursday). The member of the banned Sudanese opposition Democratic Union Party (DUP), who asked not to be named, said that he hoped that Clinton will deliver a strong message for Sudan and other African governments to adopt democratic reforms and improve their human rights records. ''We need nothing more from Clinton. He (Clinton) must put pressure on the military leaders in Africa to allow democracy to breathe...,'' the DUP member said.

Museveni offers swap: school girls for POWs

Museveni said yesterday that Khartoum must arrange the release of 21 schoolgirls abducted by Sudanese-backed rebels before Uganda frees 114 Sudanese prisoners of war. "They (the Sudanese) will stay in prison in Uganda until we get our schoolgirls. We are holding the Sudanese soldiers versus the schoolgirls," Museveni told AFP. Demanding that Sudan must also release two Ugandan soldiers currently being held by the government in Khartoum, Museveni dismissed the significance of a riot by the Sudanese troops last week. "They can riot a thousand times, but they will stay in jail," he declared. "Rioting is not a problem... They will stay there until we get our schoolgirls."

Moi to exchange views with Clinton

Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi will be among the African leaders attending the 25 March summit in Uganda with Clinton, the White House announced on Wednesday. The meeting with Moi will give Clinton "an opportunity to talk to him and ask quite directly about his vision for the future - including constitutional reforms in Kenya," said Joseph Wilson, the US president's adviser on African affairs. "We would like to see that the constitutional reforms and political reforms that have been enunciated by the regime actually take effect," Wilson said. According to AFP, a complete list of leaders expected to attend the summit has not yet been determined. In addition to Moi however, Wilson said US leaders "fully expect" that Democratic Republic of Congo President Laurent-Desire Kabila will attend.

Museveni awaits verdict of constitutional court over accused minister

The Ugandan leader said he would await the ruling of a constitutional court before deciding what action to take against a cabinet minister accused by parliament of corruption. Parliament earlier this month passed a motion censuring Primary Education Minister Jim Muhwezi for abuse of office, influence-peddling and graft. The minister has petitioned the constitutional court to seek the reversal of the parliamentary censure. "Muhwezi has gone to a constitutional court. I am still waiting for what happens in that court," Museveni told AFP. Museveni said the parliamentary censure method was new in his administration. "Our movement [ruling party] usually disciplines people through more thoroughgoing fora, where we discuss the issue in detail and not in a formal forum," he said, but added: "I'm going give a chance to all these different groups to play their role - parliament, constitutional court. There are so many new players."

ANGOLA: Hurdles still remain in peace process

UNITA is due to demobilise its last 193 military officers today in their central stronghold at Bailundo, completing the demilitarisation of the movement. On Wednesday the UN representative in Angola, Alioune Blondin Beye, went to the central city of Andulo for talks with UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi, who affirmed his commitment to completing implementation of the protocols by 1 April. For its part, the government of Unity and National Reconciliation has begun disarming civilians in Luanda with the aim of assuring security as UNITA sets up headquarters in Luanda. Several other tasks remain to be completed by 1 April, a deadline observers say will be difficult to meet despite widespread optimism that final implementation is in the offing.

Cabinda rebels claim victory

Rebels fighting for independence in Angola's oil-rich Cabinda province say they have captured Mbata-Mbengi, a suburb of the northern town of Neuto, after heavy fighting with government troops. A communique delivered to Reuters in Kinshasa on Wednesday by Emmanuel Nzita, the FLEC/FAC movement's secretary for external relations, said 27 Angolan government soldiers had been killed in the fighting. There was no immediate confirmation from Luanda or independent sources of any fighting in the area. Neuto, 75 km from Cabinda's capital Tchiowa, was taken by Angolan government forces in 1991. FLEC/FAC is one of several rebel movements fighting for the independence of the oil-rich Cabinda enclave.

CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: Government wants EU investigation over accusations

Congo-Brazzaville's government has asked the European Parliament to send an investigative mission to Brazzaville to assess the new regime's democratic progress. According to AFP, the move came in response to a resolution passed last week by the European assembly asking the European Commission to halt humanitarian aid to Congo, which it said had ceased being a "state of due legal process." The resolution will block an EU aid package of 11.5 million ecus (US $12.6 million) for the victims of last year's four-month civil war. The text declared that Congo had become a dictatorship since Denis Sassou Nguesso's return to power last October, AFP said. In a letter addressed Monday to the European Parliament, Congolese Foreign Minister Rodolphe Adada asked for an investigation to verify the allegations. On Tuesday, the transitional parliament said in a statement over government radio that the "democratic process has in no way been put into question" after Sassou Nguesso's military victory.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: US companies say Kabila "positive"

Leaders of a group of US companies with investments in Africa told DRC President Kabila yesterday that they had made a "great start" at doing business in the country. A 40-strong delegation from the Corporate Council for Africa met Kabila for over two hours in the southern city of Lubumbashi, their spokesman, David Miller, told Reuters. "He fielded questions and was very upfront. It was a surprise because he was not the man the US media makes him out to be. He was very engaging and prepared to listen," Miller said. "It was a can-do positive message."

Mobutu generals win stay of extradition

Three former Zairean generals who have been fighting extradition to DRC have been granted the right to stay in South Africa until their application for political refugee status is heard on 21 April, Kenya's 'Daily Nation' said today. The three men - Kpama Baramoto, Ngbane Nzimbi and Mavua Madima - have been living in South Africa since May last year. Media reports claim they are linked to a gun smuggling network in the Great Lakes and a plot to overthrow Kabila's government.

OAU: Delegation to mediate in Comoros

OAU foreign ministers prepared to meet secessionists in the Comoros on Thursday after starting a three-day mission to the Indian Ocean archipelago by calling for a restoration of national unity there. The OAU two months ago condemned the Comoran separatist movement as a threat to peace, and the ministerial delegation hopes to persuade the islands of Anjouan and Moheli to give up their quest for independence. "We have come to reaffirm the OAU commitment to Comoran unity and territorial integrity," Tanzanian Foreign Minister Jakaya Kikwete said on Wednesday night after talks with Comoran central government leaders on the island of Grand Comore. "We call on all the protagonists in this crisis to show restraint," Kikwete told Reuters. Anjouan and Moheli, which along with Grand Comore won independence from France as the Federal Islamic Republic of the Comoros in 1975, broke away a year ago complaining they had been impoverished by government corruption and neglect. An "independent" government was appointed on Anjouan this month.

Nairobi, 19 March 1998, 15:10 GMT


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Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 18:40:18 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 378 for 19 Mar 98.3.19 Message-ID: <>

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

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