IRIN Update 411 for 7 May 98.5.7

IRIN Update 411 for 7 May 98.5.7

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. 411 for Central and Eastern Africa (Thursday 7 May 1998)

RWANDA/BURUNDI: Tough time predicted for Annan visit

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan arrived in Burundi today (Thursday), before leaving for Rwanda later in the day on what news reports described as the toughest leg of his eight-nation African tour. In Burundi, he will have talks with President Pierre Buyoya during which he said he will urge the authorities to "press ahead with the reconciliation process", AFP reported. A BBC report said this would be the "most delicate and difficult day" of his tour, as Rwandans widely blame the UN and Annan - who was head of UN peacekeeping operations in 1994 - for not preventing the genocide that year.

RWANDA: Genocide suspects confess, ask for pardon

Fifteen genocide suspects, held in Kigali central prison, have confessed to their involvement in the slaughter and asked for clemency, Rwandan radio reported yesterday (Wednesday). It noted that former premier Jean Kambanda had set an example by pleading guilty to genocide at the UN tribunal in Arusha, Tanzania.

BURUNDI: Mkapa acknowledges progress in peace process

Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa yesterday acknowledged "some progress has been made" in Burundi with the recent release of three prominent political detainees, AFP reported. He told reporters after meeting Kofi Annan the freeing of former presidents Jean-Baptiste Bagaza, Sylvestre Ntibantunganya and parliamentary speaker Leonce Ngendakumana was a "great step forward". Their release was a condition for lifting regional sanctions on Burundi.

Parliament speaker notes new partnership with government

National Assembly Speaker Leonce Ngendakumana has spoken of a "new partnership" between parliament and the government, Burundi radio reported. He told a news conference in Bujumbura yesterday discussions between the two institutions had focused on improving security and health in the country. The new partnership was aimed at providing a joint platform conducive to talks between all parties in the Burundi conflict.

SUDAN: Peace talks end with accord on self-determination

Peace talks between the Sudanese government and rebels of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) ended in Nairobi yesterday with a pledge to hold a referendum on the right to self-determination in south Sudan. A statement read out by Kenyan Foreign Minister Bonaya Godana said the talks, under the auspices of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), had made progress despite a failure to reach agreement on state and religion. Kenyan radio said the parties also agreed on a "free and unimpeded" flow of humanitarian aid to affected parts of the country. They agreed to meet again in Addis Ababa in three months' time.

SPLA spokesman John Luk today told IRIN the talks could not be described as a failure as "limited progress" had been achieved. According to Luk, progress had been made on the issue of self-determination and an internationally-supervised referendum. Sudanese government negotiator Ali al-Haj Mohammad told a news conference in Nairobi today the "fundamental problem" had been solved. "Self-determination is actually the answer," he said, according to AFP.

WFP announces start of additional flights

WFP today announced the start-up of the first additional C-130 aircraft which began airdropping food supplies to 50,000 southern Sudanese in the towns of Ajak and Akon in Bahr al-Ghazal state. In a news release, WFP said the operation followed the Sudanese government's agreement last Sunday to let the UN use three additional C-130s, bringing the total number to five. WFP Southern Sector Coordinator David Fletcher described the planes as a lifeline for tens of thousands of Sudanese. Aid workers said the planes were arriving just in time.

UGANDA: 20,000 displaced as forces clash

About 20,000 people have been "internally displaced" in Bundibugyo, western Uganda, following clashes between the army and rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces, Ugandan army spokesman Shaban Bantaria told IRIN today. He said the displaced were living in "protected villages" guarded by the army. Shaban added that soldiers were moving into areas where the displaced had sought refuge to protect them from "raids and kidnappings" by fleeing ADF rebels. He stressed the army "lacked logistics" to feed or offer medical support to the displaced and appealed for government and NGO support.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Authorities urge return of former Mobutu officials

The DRC government has called on foreign countries, harbouring former officials of the Mobutu Sese Seko regime, to return them to Kinshasa. A statement read by Foreign Minister Bizima Karaha over DRC television last night said their lives would not be in danger and their contribution to national reconstruction was awaited. The statement described the "continued wandering" of former Mobutu officials as "humiliating" for the nation. The statement follows the threatened explusion from Cote d'Ivoire of four high-ranking former Zairean officials. UNHCR regional information officer in Cote d'Ivoire, Khassim Diagne, told IRIN today the Ivorian government at the request of UNHCR had "agreed to delay the expulsion order by 24 hours [until tomorrow] pending a review of the asylum request".

KENYA: Moi acknowledges serious financial problems

President Daniel arap Moi yesterday acknowledged Kenya was facing a financial crisis but said there was no quick solution, the 'Daily Nation' reported today. He told an economic consultative meeting the government had borrowed heavily to finance a budget deficit and blamed "weak public sector management" for the "failure to operate and maintain the existing public assets and services". "The adverse effects manifest themselves in the poor conditions of our infrastructure," he added. A seven-point rescue plan put forward by the government yesterday includes freezing pay rises for civil servants, renegotiating teachers' wage increases and a two-year suspension of new development projects, the 'Daily Nation' said.

ANGOLA: Security situation rapidly deteriorating

The security situation in Angola is said to be rapidly deteriorating with escalating clashes reported between the security forces and bandits - largely residual UNITA elements. A spokesman for the UN peacekeeping mission MONUA told IRIN today that in the provinces of Benguela, Malange, Huila and Uige "it's pretty serious" with villagers fleeing the violence. Angolan state TV on Tuesday described the military situation in the southern province of Benguela as "reaching war proportions". Humanitarian sources said fighting was continuing between the police and "supposed bandits" in four locations in the province. "UNITA claims they have nothing to do with these guys, but they are highly organised," one source noted.

The government has promised a crackdown over the insecurity. However, according to local analysts, the fear is that this could create a new guerrilla movement of "frustrated, demobilised soldiers" outside of UNITA's control.

ZAMBIA: Government agrees to enquire into torture allegations

The Zambian government says it has agreed to an impartial enquiry into allegations of torture against suspects accused of taking part in a failed coup attempt last year, the BBC reported on Wednesday. Home Affairs Minister Peter Machungwa said steps were also being taken to ensure law enforcement officers received human rights training. Earlier this year, Zambia's state-appointed human rights commission concluded that some of the 80 detainees accused in connection with last October's failed coup were tortured during interrogation.

Nairobi, 7 May 1998, 14:35 gmt


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Date: Thu, 7 May 1998 17:38:06 -0300 (GMT+3) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 411 for 7 May 98.5.7 Message-ID: <>

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

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