IRIN Update 379 for 20 Mar 98.3.20

IRIN Update 379 for 20 Mar 98.3.20

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. 379 for Central and Eastern Africa (Friday 20 March 1998)

RWANDA: French probe asks UN head to testify

A parliamentary committee investigating any possible French role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide said yesterday (Thursday) it had invited UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, then in charge of UN peacekeeping, to testify before it. Committee President Paul Quiles, a former defence minister, "sent a message to Kofi Annan to invite him to express himself from a personal point of view before the committee," Reuters reported from Paris. Annan said this week that a lack of international will was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in Rwanda. He told the French newspaper 'Liberation' the UN had unsuccessfully tried to mobilise international action to prevent the killings. "My predecessor, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, tried to embarrass the international community into action...(but) the political will to send a force did not exist," Annan said.

Lawyers of ex-mayor fail to appear at Rwandan genocide trial

The UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) yesterday adjourned summing-up proceedings in the case of former mayor Jean-Paul Akayesu after his lawyers turned up late in protest over a dispute with the court clerk, news organisations reported. Defence Counsel Nicolas Tiangaye and co-counsel Patrice Monthe had failed to appear before the tribunal for the start of summing-up proceedings in the morning. When they turned up some 90 minutes after the start of the afternoon session, they set conditions for continuing to represent Akayesu, who faces charges of genocide and crimes against humanity during the 1994 bloodbath in Rwanda as the former mayor of the central city of Taba. "We are disposed to resume this trial in the interests of Mr. Akayesu, but we won't do it at any price," Tiangaye said, according to Fondation Hirondelle. Tiangaye demanded time to prepare the defence's final arguments, set for next Wednesday and Thursday, as well as a "definitive solution" to chronic problems involving the clerk of the court, said the independent news agency. Earlier, Judge Laity Kama launched a "call to order," a disciplinary measure for behaviour considered "offensive or injurious, which undermines the proceedings or otherwise contravene the interests of justice."

Rwandan genocide defendant sentenced to 15-year jail term

Meanwhile, a Rwandan court yesterday sentenced a former police officer, one of 51 defendants in the largest group trial since the 1994 genocide, to 15 years in prison. Anastase Hategikimana, accused along with Celestin Basesayose by eyewitnesses of killing several people including two children, had entered a guilty plea on Wednesday. Basesayose also pleaded guilty, but the presiding judge did not accept his confession, which was limited to voluntarily causing injury in 1992. Of the 51, three have died in detention and two did not appear in court because they are minors. They are jointly accused of criminal association, looting and genocide in the days following 7 April 1994, the day the massacres began after then-Hutu president Juvenal Habyarimana was killed when his plane was shot down.

Kagame says rebel insurrection virtually over

The armed insurgency in northwestern Rwanda is in its last days, the Rwanda News Agency quoted the country's Vice-President and Minister of Defense Paul Kagame as saying. ''The problems of insecurity have continually given us a headache since 1994,'' Kagame said. ''But the government, in collaboration with security forces, and the population have stood up and restored security in most prefectures of the country,'' he added. Earlier this week, RNA said the Rwandan army has killed more than 280 Hutu insurgents in battles in Gitarama province over the past three weeks. Quoting military sources, it said security had been restored in almost all the communes attacked by infiltrators and operations were continuing to "track down the remnants of these criminals."

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: UN rights probe starts work in Goma

A UN mission probing gross violations of human rights in former Zaire, including alleged massacres, said it had started field work in the eastern town of Goma following improved relations with the government of President Laurent-Desire Kabila, Reuters reported. It quoted the Togolese head of the mission, Atsu-Kofi Amega, saying the investigation was also now going smoothly in and around the northwestern town of Mbandaka. He added some team members were due to arrive next week in the northeastern town of Kisangani, one of the places where aid workers and other independent witnesses said hundreds of Hutu refugees were killed by Kabila's army during last year's advance on Kinshasa. "We are on the ground. Four team members went to Goma this morning," Amega was quoted as saying.

Albright warns Kabila over lack of progress on democratisation

US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright warned Kabila on Thursday to take urgent steps to democratise his regime or risk losing the support of Washington. "Unfortunately, President Kabila has not done a great deal to unite his people" AFP quoted Albright as saying. Kabila overthrew former dictator Mobutu Sese Seko some 10 months ago with tacit US support. Albright, who met Kabila in Kinshasa last December, said she wanted him to lift a ban on the activities of political parties, protect civil liberties and respect human rights.

ANGOLA: Team sent to verify allegations of Zambian support for UNITA

An Angolan delegation arrived in Zambia this week to meet with government officials following Luanda's allegations that Zambian territory was being used to supply arms to UNITA. The six man Angolan delegation will carry out on the spot inspections in western and northwestern Zambia, the independent 'Post' newspaper reported. At a meeting in the western town of Mongu on Wednesday, Western Province deputy minister Michael Mabenga told the Angolan delegation: "The Angolan government should avoid any suspicions that people from Zambia are trafficking in firearms." Earlier this month, Angola's envoy to Zambia warned of severe consequences if Lusaka did not end alleged UNITA activity.

UGANDA: Kampala plans to relocate prisoners during Clinton visit

Ugandan security officials are searching for a place to relocate Sudanese prisoners of war, who rioted last week, in an apparent bid to avoid incidents during President Bill Clinton's visit next week, local and international media reported. More than 100 Sudanese prisoners of war tried to seize weapons from their guards in a foiled attempt to escape from Makindaye military police barracks, the International Committee of the Red Cross reported. Several prisoners were hospitalised with injuries. News agencies quoted Claudio Barazani, ICRC chief delegate, as saying on Wednesday the authorities were looking for a place away from Kampala to relocate the prisoners. Other aid officials, who declined to be identified, said the decision was linked to Clinton's visit to Kampala scheduled for 24-25 March. Security has been heightened in the capital, where Clinton and his entourage will spend the night. Meanwhile, the Ugandan foreign ministry confirmed on Thursday that at least 10 heads of state and government had been invited to meet Clinton at a summit in Kampala during his two-day visit. A ministry statement said the presidents from DRC, Djibouti, Eritrea, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe and the prime minister of Ethiopia had all been invited. All, but Zimbabwe, have so far confirmed their participation at the summit. Clinton starts his six-nation Africa tour early on 23 March and arrives in Uganda in the early hours of 24 March.

TANZANIA: Gold mining companies to invest US $360 million In Tanzania

Four international mining companies are expected to invest US $360 million in gold mining in Tanzania over the next two years, the state-owned 'Daily News' reported here yesterday. Quoting Deputy Energy and Minerals Minister Manju Msambya, the paper said that the companies, whose gold mining projects are at an advanced stage, began operations between 1992 and 1994. Msambya named the companies as Ashanti Goldfields of Ghana, Anglo-American of South Africa, Samax Resources of Britain and Sutton Resources of Canada. They plan to operate at Geita in the northern Lake Victoria region of Mwanza, Kahama in the Shinyanga region and Nzega in the Tabora region, Msambya said.

UNITED NATIONS: UNICEF says 12 million children still die each year from preventable diseases

UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said on Wednesday 12 million young children in developing countries still die of preventable diseases every year. In a statement to a meeting of the World Bank in Washington, Bellamy said that most of the children were "struck down by such perennial child killers as pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria, measles and malnutrition".

Nairobi, 20 March 1998, 14:30 GMT


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Date: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 18:01:46 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 379 for 20 Mar 98.3.20 Message-ID: <>

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

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