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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. 412 for Central and Eastern Africa (Friday 8 May 1998)
RWANDA: Annan greeted with hostility
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan received a hostile welcome during his visit to Rwanda yesterday (Thursday). The Rwanda News Agency said the "heart of the row" between Kigali and Annan was the Secretary-General's speech to the Rwandan national assembly. In his speech, Annan admitted that "in their greatest hour of need, the world failed the people Rwanda". "The world must deeply repent this failure," he added. He said he had come to Rwanda on a "mission of healing" and to pledge the UN's support. "Our commitment to your future begins with the pursuit of justice," Annan stressed. But Rwandan radio said the country's leaders described the speech as "insensitive, insulting and arrogant", and as such later boycotted a reception organised for Annan.
Gasana says responsibility must be apportioned
Addressing the national assembly ahead of Annan, Foreign Minister Anastase Gasana said Rwanda's complaints against the UN dated back to 1922 when the League of Nations placed the country under Belgian mandate. A series of masscres over the years "were carried out under the watchful eyes of the UN and its human rights organisations," the minister said. "How come all these were never a lesson to the UN?" Gasana dismissed comments by Annan that a lack of political will was to blame for failure to prevent the 1994 genocide, when Annan was head of the UN's peacekeeping operations. "Who was behind this lack of political will?", Gasana asked. "Responsibilities must be apportioned". He called for a commission of enquiry into the UN's role during the events of 1994 and for compensation for the country and especially the survivors.
Rwanda doesn't need UN, Bizimungu says
Annan today (Friday) met President Pasteur Bizimungu, Vice-President Paul Kagame and Prime Minister Celestin Rwigema. Speaking to journalists at the end of his visit, he said the mission "was not easy, but I was able to do all I planned to do". Earlier in the day he was heckled as he visited a genocide memorial site in Mulire, AFP reported. Bizimungu meanwhile said Rwanda did not necessarily need the "interference" of the UN. "The Rwandans are waiting for the assurance that the cycle of repetitive errors committed by the United Nations in Rwanda since 1920 will cease," he told a news conference, according to AFP.
ICTR detainees complain over treatment
Twenty detainees at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda have written to Annan to complain about the way their cases are being handled, Reuters reported. The letter, timed to coincide with Annan's visit to the tribunal in Arusha earlier this week, asked for fair treatment of Hutu refugees and rejected former premier Jean Kambanda's plea of guilty of genocide as "illegal".
BURUNDI: Buyoya urges UN to "uproot genocide"
Before arriving in Kigali, Annan paid a brief visit to Bujumbura the same day during which he met President Pierre Buyoya. The Burundi leader said Annan's visit was an indication the UN supported Burundians during this difficult period, Burundi radio reported. However he pointed out the country would find its own solution to its problems. He reiterated that regional sanctions should be lifted, saying they violated the human rights of Burundians. He urged the UN to "uproot genocide" in the region, saying certain groups were coming together to perpetuate massacres.
In an address to the Burundi national assembly, Annan said his visit demonstrated the UN's support for the peace process in Burundi. According to the radio, he added that Burundians would only find peace if they joined together and he called for respecting democratic principles and setting up a fair justice system. The UN would assist in strengthening the judicial system, he said.
Arusha peace process set to resume in June
A tentative date has been set for peace talks between Burundi's opposing sides in the Tanzanian town of Arusha, Reuters reported. Felix Mosha, an envoy of mediator, former Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere, said: "As things stand now, we are working on the basis of 15 June". Burundi's ambassador to Nairobi Stanislas Nakaha told IRIN the government was pleased that peace talks were resuming because it had appeared the Arusha process was dead. He said one of the points on the agenda would be to find a "neutral venue" for the continuation of peace negotiations. Interviewed by the All Africa News Agency recently, Burundi's Foreign Minister Luc Rukingama said the government would not go to Arusha for the sake of it. "We shall go to get something out of it," he said.
UGANDA: Regional refugee conference opens in Kampala
A two-day regional conference on refugee issues is due to open in Kampala today. It will be addressed by Kofi Annan and UN High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata, who arrived in Kampala on Wednesday. Ugandan radio said Ogata yesterday urged African societies aspiring for prosperity to do so with regard to refugees, the vulnerable people in the region. She said refugees should be not be regarded as outcasts but as partners in development and cautioned governments against subjecting refugees to forced displacement. According to UNHCR, nine countries from the region will discuss practical measures that can be taken to ensure that refugee camps maintain their civilian nature and that all those seeking asylum are protected according to the 1969 OAU convention.
Government unaware of talks with rebels
The Ugandan government is "not aware" about alleged peace talks with the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), Ugandan presidential press secretary Hope Kivengere told IRIN today. She was responding to a story in the Ugandan 'Crusader' newspaper which quoted an unnamed government official as saying "the talks have been set." Minister of State for Political Affairs Amama Mbabazi told IRIN last week that the government "may consider" holding peace talks with LRA, though it had not received a formal request.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Ex-Zairean officials granted asylum in Niger
Four former high-ranking officials of Mobutu Sese Seko's regime today left Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, for Niamey amid high security, following an offer of asylum from Niger, press reports said. The four, who were about to be deported from Cote d'Ivoire, were yesterday granted an extra 24 hours to find a country willing to take them, after intervention by UNHCR.
KENYA: Army reportedly to be deployed in trouble spots
The Kenyan army is to be deployed in trouble spots throughout the country to quell cattle rustling and ethnic clashes, according to the 'Daily Nation' today. The announcement was made by President Daniel Arap Moi yesterday. The army, which will work alongside the Kenya police, has orders "to disarm" Pokot and Marakwet districts. President Moi, speaking in Nakuru today, denied press reports that the military would be involved in a security operation in the Njoro area where ethnic clashes earlier this year left 127 people dead.
Meanwhile about 18,000 people from Lelan and Kabeigo areas of Marakwet districts have been displaced into highland forests, while another 10,000 moved to neighbouring Keiyo district, Catholic Peace and Justice Commission (CPJC) spokesman Robert Kimiosop told IRIN today. According to Kimiosop, sending the army to disarm people was pointless because the Pokots "can acquire more guns" from Uganda and southern Sudan or bury them until the army leaves. He observed that the feud in the region may never end as cattle rustling is a "question of prestige and culture." The only solution is "education and eradication of poverty", he added.
TANZANIA: Dar es Salaam without water due to damaged pipeline
Tanzanian officials say the army has been drafted in to help repair a damaged pipeline that has left half of Dar es Salaam without water for four days, the BBC reported today. An official in the water ministry said the repairs were likely to take several days. The pipeline was damaged by recent torrential rain, and the official said old boreholes in the city were being recommissioned in an effort to increase water supplies. One of the city's major hospitals, the Muhimbili Medical Centre, was forced to suspend all but emergency operations yesterday as taps ran dry.
Nairobi, 8 May 1998, 15:10 gmt
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Date: Fri, 8 May 1998 18:16:11 -0300 (GMT+3) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 412 for 8 May 98.5.8 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.95.980508181518.11226Yemail@example.com>
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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