IRIN Update 425 for 27 May 98.5.27

IRIN Update 425 for 27 May 98.5.27

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. 425 for Central and Eastern Africa (Wednesday 27 May 1998)

RWANDA: Government resettling villagers in northwest

Government officials have begun resettling thousands of villagers displaced by war in northwest Rwanda, the Rwanda News Agency (RNA) reported. It quoted Rwandan radio as saying food items and farming implements were distributed to about 20,000 internally displaced residents in Ruhengeri prefecture. On Monday, local officials launched a campaign urging residents to maintain security in their communes. Yesterday, some 30,000 people from the prefecture gathered at Kigombe soccer stadium to take part in festivities aimed at depicting the negative effects of war, RNA said. Interior Minister Abdul Kharim Harelimana urged residents to desist from supporting insurgents and to denounce anyone collaborating with them. "Let this week be a week of restoring security in Ruhengeri," he said.

WFP to provide food aid to northwest

In its latest weekly report, WFP said it had carried out initial assessments after the government requested food assistance for 95,230 displaced people in Ruhengeri and Gisenyi prefectures. WFP pointed out no international organisations were fully operational in the prefectures which made detailed assessment difficult. The food agency plans to deliver 1,220 mt of food aid to the displaced people over a period of one month.

Rebels using children, radio says

According to Rwandan radio on Monday, rebels in northwest Rwanda are using children in their war against the government. It said 60 children abducted by militiamen had turned themselves in to the army in Nyamutera commune, north of Kigali. The children had reportedly been used by the rebels to spread anti-government pamphlets and spy on the army.

UGANDA: LRA rebels trapped on two fronts

Rebels from the Lord's Resistance Army are reportedly trapped on two fronts by Ugandan troops, the 'New Vision' reported today (Wednesday). It cited security sources as saying Ugandan forces counter-attacked on two fronts in the northern Lira district, surrounding the rebels in the Apala and Olilim areas. A third group of rebels managed to cross to Kitgum through Adwari sub-county, the newspaper reported. The trapped rebels are believed to be led by the LRA second-in-command Vincent Otti Lagony.

The WFP weekly report noted northern Uganda is seriously affected by insecurity. WFP is providing food assistance to some 7,000 people displaced in Lira. Rebels also raided three displaced people's camps in Gulu and abducted several people. Military operations along the Kitgum-Lira road, following a number of ambushes, means traffic is being diverted along other routes.

Museveni to respond to DRC allegations

President Yoweri Museveni will respond to allegations of interference by the Democratic Republic of Congo, the 'New Vision' reported. The president's press secretary Hope Kivengere said the government would not engage in a press war over the issue which would be tackled at presidential level. "The president will not bend low to fight a press war," she said. DRC's Economy Minister Victor Mpoyo on Friday also accused Museveni of "denigrating" President Laurent-Desire Kabila.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Kalehe region reportedly unstable

The security situation in the Kalehe area of South Kivu is going "from bad to worse", according to a report in 'La Reference Plus' yesterday. It said the civilian population had become the "favourite targets" of the military. The newspaper claimed the local people had become caught up in fighting between Banyamulenge soldiers and Rwandan Interahamwe militiamen. Agricultural activity had been abandoned as people migrated towards urban centres, the paper added.

SUDAN: WFP revises number needing food aid

WFP has revised upwards the target number of people for food assistance in Bahr al-Ghazal state. It announced it would feed some 595,000 people, 380,000 of whom are in critical need of food aid for survival. WFP says the number of people requiring emergency food relief has increased from six weeks ago. The total number of people requiring food aid throughout south Sudan has also been revised upwards from 700,000 to 930,000. Eastern Equatoria and Wester Upper Nile are giving increasing cause for concern, WFP says in a news brief on Sudan.

Oil revenue to be used for southern development - Bashir

President Omar al-Bashir has said the income from Sudanese oil exports will be used for development, particularly reconstruction in the south, Sudanese radio reported yesterday. He was speaking at the inauguration a new pipeline in the Jayli area. He also laid a foundation stone at the Khartoum oil refinery. "Self-sufficiency and export" would begin early next year, Bashir said. According to the radio, once completed, the pipeline - stretching 1,160 km - will be the longest in Africa.

NDA meets in Cairo to discuss how to topple Bashir

Sudan's opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has begun a round of talks in the Egyptian capital Cairo to examine ways of launching an "intifada" against the Khartoum government, AFP reported. It quoted NDA spokesman Faruq Abu Issa who said the intifada was the main topic on the agenda. The NDA groups northern opponents to the government and southern rebels. Issa said the "unprecedented" talks were a "step forward for the opposition's struggle against the government to overthrow it". AFP noted the meeting is the first outside the Eritrean capital Asmara, where the NDA has its headquarters.

BURUNDI: 500 arrested in security sweep

Over 500 people were arrested in Bujumbura today in a security sweep against rebels and illegal immigrants, according to AFP. Police sources said they conducted a raid in the central market area of the city, searching for Burundi rebels as well as Rwandans and Congolese who were in the country illegally. Rumours were circulating last week that ex-FAR, ex-FAZ and Burundi rebels had arrived in Bujumbura, AFP reported.

Government requests return of seeds from SADC seed bank

Burundi has requested the return of the food seed reserves it entrusted for storage at the Lusaka-based Southern African Development Community (SADC) seed bank, PANA news agency reported. An official at the SADC genetic resources centre said yesterday the request was prompted by food shortages generated by the ongoing civil conflict in Burundi. According to the official, the shipment of foodstuff back to Bujumbura has already been sanctioned. Burundi handed over samples of mainly indigenous food crop seeds to the centre in 1993 for safekeeping.

[Note to Subscribers: Please note there will be no IRIN update tomorrow, Thursday, due to an internal strategy meeting.]

Nairobi, 27 May 1998, 14:30 gmt


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Date: Wed, 27 May 1998 17:46:48 -0300 (GMT+3) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 425 for 27 May 98.5.27 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.95.980527174525.737A-://

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

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