IRIN Update 423 for 23-25 May 98.5.25

IRIN Update 423 for 23-25 May 98.5.25

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. 423 for Central and Eastern Africa (Saturday-Monday 23-25 May 1998)

UGANDA: DRC warns Kampala to stop "interfering"

In a sign of deteriorating relations with its erstwhile ally, the Democratic Republic of Congo warned Uganda to stop interfering in its internal affairs, the Agence congolaise de presse reported. Addressing a news conference on Friday, Economy Minister Victor Mpoyo accused President Yoweri Museveni of insulting his DRC counterpart Laurent-Desire Kabila. Mpoyo advised Museveni to "take care of affairs in his own country". "There are no regional leaders," he said. "Each country has its own leader and therefore we don't want Museveni to denigrate our head of state." Museveni was among several presidents who failed to attend a regional summit in Kinshasa, which was later cancelled. Uganda has accused DRC of failing to stop rebel activity and incursions into neighbouring countries. "Peace reigns within our country," Mpoyo said. Asked about relations with Rwanda, he said there were no problems between the two countries.

Kony re-enters Uganda

The leader of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army Joseph Kony has re-entered northern Uganda from his base in Sudan, accompanied by hundreds of fighters, according to Ugandan press reports, cited by AFP. Kony reportedly crossed into Uganda near Nimule on Friday and his troops clashed twice with the Ugandan army as they attempted to enter Gulu. The 'Sunday Vision' quoted Major General Salim Saleh, "overseer" in the defence ministry, as saying the army had blocked rebels from returning to Sudan. The movement of LRA rebels into Lira and Teso areas was a "golden chance" for the army to wipe them out, he added.

LRA rebels attack health centre, expand sphere of operation

On Thursday night, LRA rebels attacked a Catholic health centre at Orungo in Soroti district, eastern Uganda, looting drugs worth 6 million Ugandan shillings, the 'New Vision' reported on Friday. They also abducted eight people, including a 10 year-old girl. Eyewitnesses said hundreds of rebels entered from Lira district. They left a letter with a nun at the health centre inviting the people and a reporter to meet them. The army later said some 200 rebels were on the run and the situation was under control. News reports point out this was the first time rebels had spread out so far east from their northern hideouts.

Kampala welcomes freeing of POWs by Sudan

Kampala has welcomed the release of two Ugandan POWs by Sudan. The prisoners were returned to Uganda on Sunday, following a handover last week by Uganda of 42 Sudanese POWs. Ugandan Minister of State for Political Affairs Amama Mbabazi described the exchange as "a good sign in our otherwise frosty relations", adding he hoped it marked the beginning of an upturn in ties. The Ugandans told reporters they had been "mistreated" while in Khartoum and were denied food and clothing, AFP said. According to Mbabazi, the two were captured while on a reconnaissance mission in Sudan tracking down LRA rebels.

ADF rebels raid western areas

The 'Sunday Vision' reported rebel raids in western Uganda, saying Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels had killed five people in two separate attacks in Kabarole and Bundibugygo districts. Two rebels were killed when the army repulsed the attacks, according to the newspaper. It said two rebel camps in the Ruwenzori mountains were overrun by the army on Saturday.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Minister arrested and questioned over film

Information Minister Raphael Ghenda and the "directeur de cabinet" at the presidency Yerodia Ndombasi were arrested on Friday and questioned in connection with the airing of a film on atrocities in Africa, Radio France Internationale reported. They were later released. The daily 'Palmares' said Ghenda was implicated in the mismanagement of US $600,000 allocated for upgrading radio and television technical equipment, according to AFP. The reports come amid increasing rumours of a cabinet reshuffle in Kinshasa.

SUDAN: Rebels attack government positions near Eritrean border

Rebel radio, Voice of Sudan, on Saturday reported that troops of the National Democratic Alliance attacked government forces in the Gash area, on the border with Eritrea. It said a number of supply vehicles were captured. The vehicles were used to supply six "enemy garrisons facing the Hamash Koreb frontline" in eastern Sudan, according to the radio, monitored by the BBC.

Food barge convoy arrives in Juba

WFP said the first UN relief food barge convoy this year arrived in Juba on Thursday, after leaving the port of Malakal five weeks ago. The convoy of seven barges, carrying a total of 2,040 mt of cereals and pulses stopped in 32 villages along the way. WFP said the food for Juba will feed thousands of displaced people as well as "vulnerable" people such as children, the elderly and the handicapped. It will also be used for some 800 DRC refugees living in Juba camps.

BURUNDI: CNDD to continue fighting, Nyangoma says

Leonard Nyangoma, recently ousted as leader of the rebel Conseil national pour la defense de la democratie (CNDD), has neverthless said the movement will continue fighting government troops, despite an appeal for a ceasefire from mediator Julius Nyerere. "We can't stop fighting as a condition to start the [Arusha] talks [on 15 June]," he told a news conference in Dar es Salaam on Friday. Nyangoma has said CNDD will attend the resumed Arusha peace process, but rejected an internal peace dialogue underway in Burundi.

CNDD's Brussels-based spokesman Jerome Ndiho told IRIN today (Monday) that while Nyangoma was still a member of the executive committee, he remained suspended as president and therefore his remarks did not represent the official position. He said CNDD would this week make known its official position on the Arusha talks.

Nyangoma was among a number of Burundian political leaders who met the former Tanzanian president in Dar es Salaam last week. A Burundi radio reporter, who was also in Tanzania, stressed the various meetings were "consultations" and not talks. According to the reporter, Nyerere said he had met people such as former presidents Sylvestre Ntibantunganya and Jean-Baptiste Bagaza to show they were now free to move around the region after being freed from house arrest. In addition to meeting Nyerere, the politicians also met each other, the reporter said. President Pierre Buyoya also held talks with Nyerere, but left the same day without meeting the others.

RWANDA: Rutaganda trial to resume today

The trial of genocide suspect Georges Rutaganda is due to resume at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha today, after being adjourned due to the defendant's state of health. An ICTR press release recalled the trial of the former vice-president of the Interahamwe was adjourned on 16 April due to his ill-health.

Parents of street kids to be prosecuted

The Rwandan government is to prosecute parents who allow their children to roam the streets, the Rwanda News Agency reported. It cited the weekly 'New Times' as saying that despite attempts to regroup street children in rehabilitation centres, they were still hawking and sleeping in gutters. "If taken for granted, these street kids will grow up to become very intelligent criminals," the weekly said. Kigali residents are reportedly alarmed by the Kenya experience "where the authorities at first did not consider the problem seriously and later realised it can no longer be controlled".

TANZANIA: Nearly a million people suffering from river blindness

Health Minister Aaron Chiduo has said nearly a million Tanzanians suffer from river blindness and at least four million others are at risk of contracting the disease. Quoted by a Tanzanian newspaper, he said river blindness particularly affected the regions of Tanga, Morogoro, Ruvuma, Iringa, Mbeya and Kigoma. On Friday, the minister appealed to the World Health Organisation to help combat the disease. Over a number of years, the disease - caused by contaminated river water - leads to blindness.

EAST AFRICA: Massive road repair plan under discussion

East African leaders from Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya are meeting World Bank and EU representatives in Arusha to discuss a US $4.6 billion loan plan to repair roads, damaged by torrential rains. Badly damaged roads have been adversely affecting the region's economy, the leaders said, according to a BBC report.

CAR: Electoral commission president appointed

Central African Republic President Ange-Felix Patasse on Friday appointed Michel Adama-Tamboux as head of the electoral commission (CEMI), AFP reported. The CEMI will be in charge of supervising parliamentary elections scheduled later this year. Adama-Tamboux, who was president of the first national assembly after independence in 1960, is considered to be independent as he is not a member of any political party, AFP added. He is expected to present the members of his team later this week.

Nairobi, 25 May 1998, 14:50 gmt


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Date: Mon, 25 May 1998 18:05:17 -0300 (GMT+3) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> ubject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 423 for 23-25 May 98.5.25

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

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