IRIN Update 381 for 24 Mar 98.3.24

IRIN Update 381 for 24 Mar 98.3.24

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

Tel: +254 2 622147 Fax: +254 2 622129 e-mail:

IRIN Update No. 381 for Central and Eastern Africa (Tuesday 24 March 1998)

UGANDA/RWANDA: Clinton arrives in Kampala

US President Bill Clinton arrived in Kampala today (Tuesday) on the second leg of his six-nation African tour. He is due to have a summit meeting with eight African leaders tomorrow (Wednesday) before going on to Rwanda for a brief stopover. Press reports say Clinton is expected to discuss peace-keeping initiatives during his meeting with African leaders. According to AFP, a statement by the Rwandan presidency described the visit to Kigali as a "clear message to the world" that the 1994 genocide "was simply unacceptable". An article in the Rwandan 'New Times' weekly said Clinton's visit served to underscore the US administration's "reversal of attitude about Rwanda, where fears of a costly UN involvement paralysed Washington's policy-making as millions of people were being butchered".

RWANDA: Clinton will not visit genocide memorial

However, the Rwanda News Agency reported last night that Clinton has refused to visit a genocide memorial specially erected at Kigali airport. It quoted an unnamed government official as saying Clinton's decision "belittles the meaning of his stopover here". Associations of genocide survivors have accused the US president of "near betrayal", RNA said.

Rebels release five abducted nuns

Five Rwandan nuns, among seven abducted by Hutu rebels, were released last night, but two Spanish nuns still remain in captivity. The seven from the 'Sainte Anne de la Charite' order were abducted on Sunday night in Kivumu parish near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Rwanda News Agency (RNA) reported. The two Spanish nuns were apparently being kept as hostages and expected to treat wounded rebels, the order said, according to AFP. The BBC reported that a Spanish diplomat in Tanzania had gone to Rwanda.

Akayesu prosecution winds up case

The prosecution in the case of genocide suspect Jean-Paul Akayesu concluded its case yesterday, with a call for the defendant to be found guilty on all 15 counts against him. Akayesu, the former mayor of Taba in Gitarama prefecture, has been on trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha. In a closing speech, the prosecution claimed Akayesu "possessed the requisite genocidal intent to eliminate the Tutsi". "The [Trial] Chamber should send a strong message to Mr Akayesu that what he did is unacceptable and should never happen again," Prosecutor Pierre Prosper said, according to an ICTR press release. The defence is due to present its closing arguments tomorrow.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Robinson says Kinshasa obstructing UN team

UN Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson has accused the DRC authorities of obstructing the work of the UN human rights investigation team. In a statement, reported by Reuters yesterday, she said she was "deeply worried" that the team had been forced to pull out of the northwestern town of Mbandaka after hostility from the local population. She called on Kinshasa to ensure there were no further obstructions to the mission's work currently underway in Goma. On Monday, the team leader Atsu Kofi-Amega told Reuters tere was evidence a mass grave had been found in Mbandaka.

BURUNDI: FAO/WFP forecast 1998 decline in food production

A joint FAO/WFP mission has forecast 1998A season total food production at 1,142,000 mt, a decline of two percent on the 1997A season production which was itself below average. In comparison with average season A production between 1988-93, the 1998 first season figure is 20 percent lower. The greatest falls are expected to hit the pulses and cereals sectors - 16 percent and 13 percent respectively.

The Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission visited Burundi in February 1998 to evaluate the 1998 first season (1998A) production, forecast harvest for the second and third seasons (1998B and C), and estimate the country's import and food aid requirements for 1998. The mission noted an improvement in security conditions which had allowed some of the population in regroupment and displacement camps to return to their farms during the second half of 1997. Thus, it said, the number of people in camps fell by 14 percent between June 1997 and January 1998 from 665,374 to 572,462 or nine percent of the total population as of February 1998. The mission noted that this population movement, together with repatriation from outside the country, had led to an increase in planted areas in the 1998A season.

The mission provisionally projected total food production for 1998 at 3,587,000 mt, against the revised 1997 estimate of 3,183,000 mt, or an increase of 13 percent. However, it stressed this level of production could still be nine percent below the 1998-93 average. Emergency food aid requirements for the most severely-affected population groups in 1998 are estimated at some 60,000 mt of cereals and pulses, and the uncovered deficit is in the order of 25,000 mt.

WFP announces start of airlift for malnourished children

WFP said in a statement released in Nairobi today it would start an airlift of life-saving food for 37,000 malnourished children in nutritional centres throughout Burundi. The UN food agency said in the first of 20 flights from Dar es Salaam, a WFP-chartered Boeing 707 would tomorrow morning deliver 34 mt of powdered milk to Bujumbura airport. Over the next 10 days, WFP will deliver to Burundi a total of 600 mt of sugar, powdered milk, oil and pulses which will be used in 111 therapeutic, and supplementary and hospital feeding centres throughout the country. The statement said this would be the first large-scale airlift of food to the central African country since 1994. The airlift is funded by ECHO at a cost of US $500,000.

TANZANIA: 30 Burundian youths removed from a Kigoma refugee camp

Tanzanian authorities have arrested some 30 Burundian youths allegedly undergoing military training in a refugee camp in Kigoma. The coordinator of refugees in the home affairs ministry, Jose Mwakasyuka, said the group was transferred from Nduta in the western Kigoma region to Kigwa camp in the central-western region of Tabora, the local 'Guardian' reported yesterday. The paper said the youths were being closely monitored. Humanitarian sources in Kigoma confirmed the round-up had taken place, "but it was still far from proven" they were rebel recruits.

SUDAN: Rapid collapse in food security situation in Bahr el-Ghazal

Humanitarian agencies are witnessing a "dramatic collapse" in the food security situation in northern and central Bahr el-Ghazal. "The situation all around us is deteriorating markedly, visibly," a senior aid agency official told IRIN today. He said he was "extremely worried over the speed of the deterioration even though we are putting in some support." According to WFP, around 350,000 people are at risk and urgently need food assistance. This figure includes 248,000 people "who are not completely down and out" but have faced two consecutive years of low crop yields and need support to see them through the traditional "hunger gap" until the coming harvest. This already fragile food security situation has been overwhelmed by the arrival of at least 100,000 displaced people fleeing fighting in government-held areas. Their impact has been particularly marked as it seems they were in a far more weakened state in the towns than had been originally thought. "It appears they were holding a lower level of resources and less robust," the aid official said.

KENYA: Nairobi university closed

Nairobi university was closed last night after students rioted in the capital to protest against admission procedures. A statement by vice-chancellor Professor Francis Gichaga said the university would be closed indefinitely due to "destructive activities" by the students, AFP reported. Several injuries were reported and some cars set alight during a day of running battles with police in central Nairobi. yesterday.

ANGOLA: Ambush leaves 20 dead

Twenty people were killed and five seriously wounded in an ambush at the weekend in southeastern Angola, local press reports said yesterday. The attack near Cisseke in Benguela province was the second in the area in less than a week. According to AFP, numerous attacks and ambushes have taken place in Benguela province in recent months and are generally blamed on UNITA.

Nairobi, 24 March 1998, 14:45 gmt


[The material contained in this communication comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. UN IRIN Tel: +254 2 622123 Fax: +254 2 622129 e-mail: for more information or subscriptions. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Quotations or extracts should include attribution to the original sources. IRIN reports are archived on the WWW at: or can be retrieved automatically by sending e-mail to Mailing list: irin-cea-updates]

Date: Tue, 24 Mar 1998 18:00:16 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 381 for 24 Mar 98.3.24 Message-ID: <>

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

Previous Menu Home Page What's New Search Country Specific