IRIN Update 408 for 1-4 May 1998.5.4

IRIN Update 408 for 1-4 May 1998.5.4

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. 408 for Central and Eastern Africa (Friday-Monday 1-4 May 1998)

SUDAN: Peace talks open in Nairobi

Peace talks between Sudan's SPLA rebels and the Khartoum government opened today (Monday) in Nairobi with both sides warning that not much will be achieved on a ceasefire. According to AFP, a top official of the ruling party has warned people not to "expect too much". Deputy Secretary-General Ali al-Haj Mohamed stressed that people " should not expect too much of this round of talks". He said the three days alloted for this negotiating round were "too short to be able to discuss all the problems on the agenda." Meanwhile, the BBC quoted rebel leader John Garang saying he would "press for more flight access" to southern Sudan, but also warning little progress on a cessation of hostilities was likely.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan today at a press conference at UN headquarters in Nairobi reiterated his "strong support" for the ongoing peace talks, held under the auspices of the regional IGADD grouping. Annan encouraged the two parties to "expedite their search for a comprehensive peaceful settlement of the conflict." He thanked the Khartoum government for increasing "threefold" the OLS relief flights into southern Sudan in the coming four months. He added that the major constraint now was the "question of resources". WFP has appealed to donors for a further $20.12 million in food and cash to meet the food needs in the next four months. UNICEF needs an additional $4.5 million to respond to non-food needs in Bahr al-Ghazal alone.

More areas affected in Southern Sudan

A "foreseeable crisis" is developing in other areas in Sudan due to weakened food economy and huge population displacements, SCF said on Saturday. Apart from Bahr al-Ghazal, the situation in West Upper Nile state and Ikotos in Eastern Equatorial state was described by SCF as "critical". About "200,000 people have been displaced in West Upper Nile and 30,000-40,000 have turned up in Bentiu town," SCF said.

BURUNDI: Prisoners freed due to overcrowding

Over 80 prisoners have been freed from Mpimba prison in Bujumbura due to overcrowding in the country's jails. According to the All Africa News Agency, they do not include inmates convicted of murder, embezzlement, armed robbery or financial corruption. Judicial sources say some 9,000 people are imprisoned in Burundi's jails which have a capacity of 3,650. Mpimba has 2,544 inmates in facilities meant to hold only 800 people. In addition to overcrowding, prison administrations are increasingly unable to feed inmates due to increased prices of agricultural produce, the agency reported.

RWANDA: ICTR convicts former prime minister of genocide

Handing down its first-ever verdict, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Friday convicted former Rwandan prime minister Jean Kambanda on six counts of genocide and crimes against humanity after he pleaded guilty to all charges. Sentencing will follow at a later date, yet to be announced. The plea could allow Kambanda to become a chief prosecution witness in other cases.

Deputy prosecutor Bernard Muna told a press conference that Kambanda would be prepared to testify in other cases before the UN court, the independent Hirondelle news agency reported. "He indicated that if he was asked to testify on the events that he knows about, he would not hesitate to do so," Muna said. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan described the plea and conviction as a "very important step".

Rwandan government hails guilty plea

The Rwandan government hailed the guilty plea, but said it was hardly surprising. "It is no surprise that Kambanda has pleaded guilty," Rwandan Foreign Affairs Minister Anastase Gasana told the Rwanda News Agency, RNA. He said Kambanda had been very well aware of the weight of evidence against him. "It would be very much appreciated if he reveals all he knows about the genocide plan, its organisation and how it was carried out throughout the country," Gasana added.

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council has agreed to expand the international tribunal judging the 1994 genocide in Rwanda in an effort to speed up the investigations. News reports said the council last Thursday unanimously adopted a resolution to establish a third trial chamber.

Newspaper says cholera hits southwest of country

A cholera epidemic has hit southwestern Rwanda where 219 cases have been recorded since March, a Rwandan newspaper reported on Friday. "An epidemic of cholera broke out in (the region of) Cyangugu in early March, the first cases being seasonal workers," AFP quoted the English-language 'New Times' as saying.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Olenghankoy re-arrested, says minister

DRC Interior Minister Gaetan Kakudji announced on state television on Friday that opposition politician Joseph Olenghankoy, who escaped in mid-April from a high-security prison at Buluwo, in Katanga, had been re-arrested. Olenghankoy was reportedly recaptured at Tenke village, around 80 km from Buluwo prison, by security forces and would now be held in Lubumbashi, the minister said. Olenghankoy, President of the FONUS (Forces novatrices pour l'union et la solidarite) party, escaped with two other prominent detainees who were recaptured and presented last week on television. DRC experts stress, however, that there has been no independent confirmation of his re-arrest.

Meanwhile, PANA news agency has reported that more than 10 journalists have been arrested since the arrival in power on 17 May of President Laurent-Desire Kabila. Quoting media sources in Kinshasa, the agency said in an article timed to coincide with yesterday's (Sunday's) World Press Freedom Day, the arrests took place for three reasons ranging from publishing articles hostile to the new regime, support to the opposition and what officials termed "empathising with the enemy". Punishment meted out to offenders has varied from a few hours of intensive interrogation to three months of detention at the "Penitentiary Reeducation Centre" located in the former Makala prison.

UGANDA: Museveni says some African conflicts are necessary

President Yoweri Museveni has said some of the conflicts in Africa become necessary and healthy when all other peaceful avenues fail. "Don't decry all violence. Some are good and others are bad. Bad ones are the unprincipled ones like tribalism, genocide and on religion," PANA news agency yesterday quoted Museveni as saying. Museveni was addressing a press conference in Kampala at the end of a two-day state visit by President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso. Museveni rejected the idea of an African military force saying it was too amorphous and would lack commitment. "Regional troops can do the work in areas of conflict. OAU gives blessing and the work is done by people who are near. They save on domestic demands because they can walk across the border," he said.

Rebels kill eight in Kasese

AFP reported the army saying on Thursday rebels have killed eight people during an attack in Uganda's western Kasese district. The rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) mutilated the body of one of the victims after killing him on Wednesday. A survivor, who was briefly detained by the rebels, told the independent 'Monitor' newspaper that she saw about 30 heavily-armed rebels who wore police and army uniform. A senior army commander, who asked not to be named, told AFP that the rebels had intended to ambush vehicles along the Bwera-Lake Katwe road, but changed their mind when they saw military trucks on patrol.

UNITED NATIONS: Annan calls on governments to cut arms expenditure

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has reiterated his call to African governments to drastically cut down on military expenditure in order to free up resources for development. Speaking at a press conference on Saturday at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Ethiopia, Annan suggested that military expenditure be reduced to no more than 1.5 percent a country's Gross Domestic Product.

The Secretary-General - who was in Ethiopia on the first leg of an 11-day tour of several eastern African countries - blamed poor governance for most conflicts in Africa, and urged that African societies should opt for paths that ensure respect for human rights - which he described as paramount to any development. "There are no African human rights. Human rights are universal and intrinsic in all humans

ANGOLA: Angola to receive World Bank support

Angola received five million dollars on Friday from the World Bank to fund social projects, according to the Angolan radio on Friday. The announcement was made by World Bank Southern African representative Barbara Kafka.

Nairobi, 4 May 1998 14:30 GMT


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date: Mon, 4 May 1998 17:58:39 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 408 for 1-4 May 1998.5.4 Message-ID: <>

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

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