IRIN Update 380 for 21-23 Mar 98.3.23

IRIN Update 380 for 21-23 Mar 98.3.23

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. 380 for Central and Eastern Africa (Saturday-Monday 21-23 March 1998)

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Investigators pull out of Mbandaka

UN investigators looking into alleged human rights violations in DRC were surrounded by armed villagers last week during an inspection of a gravesite at Wenge, near Mbandaka, in the northwest, Reuters reported on Saturday. It quoted UN and Congolese sources as saying the villagers, armed with machetes, surrounded the investigators' car on Thursday, accusing them of "disturbing the spirits of the dead". According to the BBC, the investigators said they had been forced to pull out of the Mbandaka area due to hostility from the local population.

Uvira reported calm after earlier tension

Humanitarian sources in Uvira told IRIN the town has remained calm and stable since heightened tension last month after reports of Banyamulenge soldiers deserting the army. The planned rotation of troops appears to be taking place and, in what the sources described as a significant move, Commandant Kakunzi - the most senior Banyamulenge officer in the region - was reported to be leaving Uvira. Small groups of soldiers from Rwanda and Burundi are still present in eastern DRC, the sources added.

Chevron to invest in DRC

The Chevron oil company has announced it will invest US $2 billion in DRC over the next two years, the Agence congolaise de presse reported on Saturday. Chevron's managing director made the announcement at a meeting in Kinshasa. DRC Commerce Minister Paul Bandoma, told the meeting his government would introduce various measures to attract business investments. These include relaxing trade formalities and simplifying regulations for investment.

Looted Rwandan property to be returned

The DRC authorities agreed to return to Rwanda property looted by the former Rwandan regime, the Rwanda News Agency said on Saturday. The decision was reached at a meeting in southwest Rwanda on Friday between the South Kivu governor Jean-Charles Magabe and the prefet of Cyangugu Faustin Munyakabera. Looted goods, which were taken to DRC, include military and office equipment, government archives and an estimated US$ 600 million of public treasury funds. The two sides also agreed to promote border security and the free movement of people and goods.

TANZANIA-RWANDA: Dar es Salaam denies Rwandan rebel bases

Tanzania on Saturday denied allegations by Rwanda that Hutu extremists had launched cross-border raids from Tanzanian territory. Tanzania's Deputy Minister for Home Affairs, Sigela Nswima, dismissed claims by a Rwandan government spokesman earlier this week as "baseless and unfounded", AFP reported. "No refugees have crossed the border to Rwanda for attacks. Actually, the attacks are in the western part of Rwanda where we do not share a border," Nswima said. Referring to similar Burundian allegations, he added: "These two countries have made our task of caring for the refugees very taxing and tough because of suspicions and mistrust."

RWANDA: Genocide monument to be unveiled in time for Clinton

Rwandan officials overseeing President Bill Clinton's stopover in Kigali this week said on Friday they planned to complete a monument to victims of the 1994 genocide. The monument, to stand in front of the old airport building, is intended to depict the genocide committed by Hutu extremists in all its dimensions, but a decision on what it will show has yet to be taken. "It will be a fitting memorial," said Emmanuel Gasana, head of a Rwandan committee coordinating the Clinton stopover. Rwandan authorities denied accusations that the airport was chosen for the monument solely for Clinton's sake, trivialising the 1994 slaughter. "This is a national monument depicting what happened, and which must not necessarily be on a site where people died," Gasana said.

Hutu rebels paraded before 3,000 people

Six rebel Hutus alleged to have murdered ten members of one family were paraded before 3,000 people in northwest Rwanda in an official drive to warn people of the rebel menace, the Rwandan News Agency said on Saturday. The six included a woman and a former judge who is an uncle of a current Rwandan government member. They are alleged to have murdered ten members of the family of a local official at Rushara near Nyamugari, the town where the prisoners were paraded last Thursday. The massacre occurred on the same day as rebels also attacked an agricultural institute nearby and burned its director alive. According to the RNA, the security forces had rounded up more than 30 people suspected of helping the attackers during the two raids.

UGANDA: Washington denies Clinton will meet Garang

A White House spokesman on Sunday denied a press report that President Clinton plans to meet Sudanese rebel leader John Garang during his stay in Kampala. "There are no plans for any such meeting," spokesman Barry Toiv said. "It's not under discussion, to my knowledge." The 'Sunday Vision' quoted an SPLA official in Nairobi as claiming that "our request to meet him [Clinton] has been granted," AFP reported.

Opposition groups condemn Clinton visit

A Ugandan opposition group The Free Movement has attacked US support for Museveni, the 'New Vision' reported on Saturday. The group, led by Makerere University law lecturer Dr Frederick Jjuuko, criticised Clinton's scheduled visit on the grounds that the Ugandan government denied its people fundamental rights. He described the ruling party as monolithic, dictatorial and militarist. The Free Movement, formed three-weeks ago, declared in a press release that Kampala "has dedicated itself to resolving political questions militarily by refusing to pursue peaceful means." The group also warned the US against dragging Uganda into a war with Sudan "under the bogey of Islam".

NGOs condemn round up of homeless

The 'New Vision' also reported on Saturday that NGOs working with street children have protested against the removal of destitutes from Kampala's streets ahead of Clinton's arrival. The NGOs, under the umbrella Kampala Inter-Agency Forum of Street Children, said on Friday they were concerned over the disruption to their rehabilitation programmes. The paper said over 380 vagrants, including street children and the aged, had been rounded up by the police since 17 March and taken to remand homes and shelters.

BURUNDI: Clinton urged to impose arms embargo

A coalition of humanitarian and religious organisations has urged President Clinton to call for an arms embargo on Burundi during his African tour. A press release issued by one of the organisations, Refugees International, said the embargo should target all sides in the Burundi conflict. "This would be a meaningful strike against genocide in a region that has experienced far too much bloodshed," said David Shorr of Refugees International. Clinton's stopover in Rwanda "is an excellent demonstrate that the US is committed to preventing a recurrence of such a tragedy," added Loretta Bondi of Human Rights Watch.

KENYA: Humanitarian crisis worse than expected: UNICEF

Waterborne diseases, malnutrition and malaria are rife in parts of northeast Kenya hit by months of flooding, UNICEF said on Saturday. The humanitarian crisis, it added in a report, was more serious than previously expected. Up to 50 percent of children under five were suffering from malnutrition and malaria was killing five to 10 people a month in hospital, and 15-20 a week in Mandera district. The report was based on field trips to Marsabit, Moyale, Tana River, Garissa, Isiolo, Wajir, Busia and Mandera. "The findings reveal a toll of misery for virtually the entire population of the districts visited," UNICEF said.

Food aid held up in Mombasa

Some 200,000 mt of relief food imported by NGOs are held up at Mombasa port following the lifting of import duty waivers, the Kenyan 'Daily Nation' reported today (Monday). Most of the food is destined for the flood-hit northeastern parts of the country. Finance Minister Simeon Nyachae announced the new measure earlier this month, and the NGOs complained they had insufficient time to plan accordingly.

Students riot in central Nairobi

Violent clashes broke out in Nairobi today after students rioted to protest against university admission procedures. Clouds of tear gas billowed along Uhuru highway as students and police fought running battles. Three cars were burnt, and two injuries reported. Police also fired live ammunition into the air. A member of the Nairobi university staff told IRIN that the students had taken to the streets after three appeals to the university vice-chancellor had been ignored. Rioting began last night, when students took to the streets to protest against the doubling of their food bills.

ANGOLA: UN Security Council demands UNITA demobilisation

The UN Security Council on Friday unanimously called for UNITA "to complete immediately their obligations in the areas of demobilisation of all remaining military elements." The council also demanded that UNITA "stop its pattern of delays and linkages", AFP said.

UNITA sanctions under review

The head of a UN committee monitoring sanctions on UNITA said the embargo is under review as the country's peace process enters a critical phase, Reuters reported. "The peace process in Angola is very close to the end, and its now reached a very crucial stage," committee chairman Njuguna Moses Mahugu said late on Saturday. "If the situation merits it the sanctions could now be lifted," Mahugu added. "But be quite clear that if that is not the case, the Security Council is ready to take further measures against UNITA."

Nairobi, 23 March 1998, 14:30 gmt


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Date: Mon, 23 Mar 1998 17:45:59 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 380 for 21-23 Mar 98.3.23 Message-ID: <>

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

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