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IRIN Update No. 383 for Central and Eastern Africa (Thursday 26 March 1998)
UGANDA: Clinton, African leaders pledge to fight genocide
US President Bill Clinton and six African leaders ended their summit meeting in Entebbe yesterday (Wednesday) with pledges to fight genocide and work for economic growth and democracy, Reuters reported. The meeting concluded with the signing of an Entebbe Declaration of Principles. Speaking before flying off to South Africa, Clinton said they had "agreed to work together to banish genocide from this region and this continent." "Our efforts came too late for yesterday's victims," he added. "They must be in time to prevent tomorrow's victims." The US president also said he wanted to increase US aid to Africa to its previous level of some US $815 million per year. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni described Clinton as "far-sighted" in being able to see Africa's potential. The summit was attended by the leaders of Uganda, Kenya, DRC, Rwanda, Tanzania and Ethiopia.
The main points of the declaration were to: - define and build a US-Africa partnership for the 21st century - define strategies to integrate Africa into the world economy - strengthen and sustain regional security and African peacekeeping capacity - continue to cooperate against cross-border terrorism directed at civilians - pursue dialogue on democratisation while realising "there is no fixed model for democratic institutions or transformation".
Clinton meets Kabila, Moi
Clinton held separate meetings with Presidents Laurent-Desire Kabila of DRC and Daniel arap Moi of Kenya. Press reports quoted a Clinton aide as saying Kabila promised "fair elections" in his country, adding that the current ban on political activity was an interim measure necessary for "restoring order". Clinton reportedly told Kabila he had had a hard struggle to liberate DRC from authoritarian rule. "You haven't come this far to fail," Clinton was quoted as saying. "You have to help us help you." He also urged President Moi to open up Kenya's economy and accelerate political reform.
RWANDA: Genocide survivors say Clinton speech an "apology"
Earlier in the day, Clinton had made a brief visit to Kigali airport where he addressed government leaders and genocide survivors. AFP said he also met six survivors for private talks, after which he commented that "just listening to the survivors gave me reasons for hope". The Rwanda News Agency said survivors hailed Clinton's visit as a "testimony of sincere solidarity". "Clinton's speech was in a way an apology for the failure by the international community to stop the genocide," said Josue Kayijaho, vice-president of the genocide survivors' association, Ibuka.
"Critical problems" still to be addressed - Bizimungu
President Pasteur Bizimungu, in his speech at Kigali airport, also welcomed Clinton's visit as a "show of solidarity with the victims and a challenge to the international community to work together" to prevent another genocide. In his speech, broadcast live by Rwandan radio yesterday, Bizimungu stressed there were still "critical areas" in Rwanda needing international support and understanding. "Our post-genocide society is fragile and therefore Rwanda should be treated as a special case," he said.
No legal obstacles to full French parliamentary enquiry into genocide
French Justice Minister Elisabeth Guigou said yesterday there were no legal impediments to a fully-fledged parliamentary investigation into France's role in the 1994 genocide, AFP reported. Parliament's defence committee has set up a fact-finding probe to look into the issue, but Rwanda has rejected it as a "hoax", saying all the information is already available. The man heading the probe, former defence minister Paul Quiles, has said a full parliamentary investigative commission could not be set because of legal constraints connected to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
Rebels kill five students in attack on school
Five teenagers were killed and seven wounded on Tuesday night after their school was attacked by a group of Interahamwe militiamen, AFP said, citing the Rwanda News Agency. The incident occurred in Nkuli commune of Ruhengeri prefecture in the northwest. According to the school principal, Emmanuel Senzira, the rebels said on arrival that they had warned students to leave the school. They then opened fire.
Kidnapped nuns reportedly in no danger
Two Spanish nuns kidnapped by rebels in northwest Rwanda have been in touch with their families and believe they will be freed soon, Reuters reported, quoting the Spanish embassy in Dar es Salaam. They have reportedly been well treated, but there is no information as to their whereabouts. The nuns were captured with five Rwandan counterparts in Kivumu commune on Monday, but the Rwandans were released shortly afterwards.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Rwandan refugee camp to be shut
The CAR authorities yesterday decided to close the Bouca refugee camp which houses some 200 Rwandan refugees, after local people attacked the camp in revenge for the deaths of two CAR policemen and their driver at the hands of four ex-FAR soldiers. UNHCR told IRIN yesterday four Hutu refugees were killed, but the CAR opposition daily 'Vouma' put the death toll at 40. The refugees will now be repatriated, the CAR information minister said, according to AFP.
TANZANIA: Food situation in camps serious - UNHCR
UNHCR has described the food situation in the Kigoma refugee camps as "very serious". A spokesperson told a briefing in Dar es Salaam yesterday the situation was not due to a food shortage within the country but because the roads are impassable after adverse weather conditions. WFP was therefore unable to transport some food stocks from Dar es Salaam, Issaka, Dodoma and Tanga. Elsewhere in the briefing, the spokesperson said 40 Burundian militiamen recently rounded up in the camps had declared their fighter status upon arrival in Tanzania. The Tanzanian government reportedly separated them from other refugees. It was noted that the 40 had been transferred to another camp at Tabora.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: UN team finds empty mass grave
UN investigators digging in northern DRC discovered a mass grave with all the bodies removed, a UN spokesman said yesterday, according to Reuters. Juan-Carlos Brandt said preliminary exploration of the site near Mbandaka on 18 March "confirmed the existence of at least one mass grave, whose contents appeared to have been removed several months after burial, possibly in an attempt to destroy evidence." The team was forced to pull out of Mbandaka at the weekend after hostility from local people.
SUDAN: Ethnic clashes erupt in West Darfur
Renewed communal violence broke out on Monday in Sudan's West Darfur state when Arab raiders attacked three villages of the non-Arab Mesaleit near the state capital, al-Genaina. A private newspaper the 'Akhbar al-Youm' said today that casualty figures are still to be assessed. Two parliamentary deputies from West Darfur requested "immediate assistance" by the central government to help restore order. A state of emergency was declared in Darfur and North Kordofan in December to curb armed banditry and ethnic clashes, AFP reported.
Army destroys SPLA base in Blue Nile
The Sudanese government said on Wednesday its forces killed 35 rebels in an attack on a Sudan People's Liberation Army base in eastern Blue Nile state. The official SUNA news agency said the government army suffered 10 dead and 28 wounded in the operation which destroyed the base in Kurmuk province. According to AFP, the town of Kurmuk itself has been under the control of opposition forces since January last year.
EAST AFRICA: FAO slams EU fish import ban
The FAO has criticised an EU ban on fish imports from East African countries affected by cholera. In a statement released yesterday, FAO said the move was not the most appropriate reaction. A better response would be to support improvements in hygiene, safe water supply, fish processing and storage. The statement stressed the risk of transmission from contaminated fish was negligible. Import restrictions "will disturb international trade and may encourage illegal trade, posing a potentially higher threat to consumers," FAO added. The countries affected by the ban are Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Mozambique.
Nairobi, 26 March 1998, 14:50 gmt
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Date: Thu, 26 Mar 1998 17:54:15 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <email@example.com> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 383 for 26 Mar 98.3.26 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.91.980326175255.8051Afirstname.lastname@example.org>
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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