IRIN Update 429 for 3 June 98.6.3

IRIN Update 429 for 3 June 98.6.3

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. 429 for Central and Eastern Africa (Wednesday 3 June 1998)

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Uvira tense after jail attacked

Uvira is said to be tense, after Banyamulenge soldiers reportedly stormed the local jail on Sunday and released a prisoner. Humanitarian sources told IRIN today (Wednesday) the freed prisoner was Ruhimbika Muller, a representative of the Banyamulenge NGO Groupe Milima, who was arrested earlier on Sunday while crossing the DRC border from Burundi. Local sources said Muller was wanted by the DRC authorities for remarks he allegedly made over foreign radio stations. The sources added that Muller is now at large and arrest warrants have been issued for other Banyamulenge.

Humanitarian sources also told IRIN three people were killed this week after two vehicles were ambushed on the Bukavu-Uvira road. The road remains open, but travel is not advisable, the sources said.

No conflict with Uganda, Kabila says

President Laurent-Desire Kabila has rejected suggestions there is conflict between his country and Uganda. In an interview broadcast by national television on Sunday night, he said DRC "needed many friends, it needed to walk alongside other states". He blamed some international media and those "who wanted to sow confusion in the region" for the allegations. Africans should "identify those who want to divide us", he added. On the situation in eastern DRC, he claimed some people were trying to destabilise the region by supplying arms to ex-FAR members and Ugandan rebels. Border security with Rwanda, Uganda and Sudan had been reinforced to stop smugggling, he said.

Meanwhile, the minister of state in the Ugandan president's office Amama Mbabazi told the 'EastAfrican' weekly on Monday the Ugandan government was "using diplomatic channels" to look into allegations of interference by a DRC minister. Mbabazi said "as of now" relations between the two countries "are not worrying". "If there are problems they will be sorted out," he said. The 'EastAfrican' added that according to unconfirmed reports, President Yoweri Museveni had sent a special envoy to Kinshasa with a message for Kabila.

UDPS slams Kabila's meeting with Tshisekedi

The opposition Union pour la democratie et le progres social (UDPS) has described last week's meeting between its leader Etienne Tshisekedi and President Kabila as "worrying rather than reassuring". In a statement issued yesterday, the UDPS accused Kabila of continuing to hold Tshisekedi prisoner in his home village. The UDPS said it did not want negotiations, rather it wanted Kabila to resign. An anonymous government official, quoted by AFP yesterday, described the Lubumbashi meeting between Kabila and Tshisekedi as "relaxed".

Butembo, Beni businessmen concerned over "climate of insecurity"

Businessmen from Butembo and Beni, two towns that border Uganda, last week expressed concern over the "climate of insecurity" which they said was created by the military searching for Mayi-Mayi rebels. According to Gabonese radio, they told a news conference civilians were coming under attack from time to time "by soldiers and policemen who rape, steal, kill or arrest people". Valerien Kasinge, the procurator of Butembo and Beni diocese, said he believed the local Nande people were being targeted "under the pretext of a so-called genuine fight against the Mayi-Mayi".

UGANDA: Museveni vows to crush rebels

Some 150 Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels have been killed in northern Uganda and 100 have surrendered to the army in recent fighting, President Yoweri Museveni claimed on Monday. He vowed to militarily crush the LRA and rebels operating in the west of the country, the official 'New Vision' said. According to Kenya's 'Daily Nation', Museveni blamed leadership weaknesses among army commanders in the north for the failure to end the insurgency. Meanwhile, 10 people died in an LRA ambush near Kitgum on Monday. The LRA also fired mortar rounds at a hospital some 8 km from Gulu town, the 'New Vision' reported. The shells landed close to a displaced camp sheltering 3,000 people.

Human rights group calls for release of illegally-held detainees

The Uganda Human Rights Commission has called on the security forces to release illegally-held detainees. The commission said in a statement broadcast on state radio today that it has investigated several complaints of abductions, illegal arrests and detentions. It added that it has reasonable proof that some detainees are being held in ungazetted facilities.

RWANDA: Six family members killed in Gisenyi

Six members of one family were murdered in Kabiza, in Gisenyi prefecture, on Sunday night, AFP reported citing witnesses. It said a pastor, his wife and four children were killed at their home, but there was no indication as to who was behind the murders.

EU stresses common stand on arresting genocide suspects

An EU delegation which visited Rwanda yesterday (Tuesday), has said member countries will adopt a common stand on Rwandan genocide suspects living on their territory, the Rwanda News Agency reported. British Minister of State in the Foreign Office, Tony Lloyd, who is a member of the delegation, said discussions were underway "so that every suspected genocide perpetrator is arrested in every country of the EU". According to RNA, discussions with Rwandan officials focused mainly on bilateral ties and the judicial system.

BURUNDI: EU envoy calls for lifting embargo

The head of the delegation, Aldo Ajello, who is the EU special envoy for the Great Lakes, told AFP last night the regional economic embargo against Burundi should be lifted at the Arusha peace talks next month. The delegation was due in Bujumbura after visiting Rwanda.

Nyerere adviser in Bujumbura

Felix Mosha, an adviser to Burundi peace mediator Julius Nyerere, arrived in Bujumbura yesterday to prepare for peace talks due to resume in Arusha on 15 June. Burundi radio said Mosha was due to meet various Burundian officials, including President Pierre Buyoya. Exiled FRODEBU opposition leader Jean Minani told the 'EastAfrican' that power-sharing between the government and FRODEBU would be one of the major issues to be discussed in Arusha.

Ministers adopt draft laws

The Council of Ministers has adopted two draft laws which will now be submitted to the national assembly for approval, the Agence burundaise de presse reported. The first law deals with expanding parliament and the second concerns the organisation and operation of the constitutional court.

SUDAN: SPLA claims capture of key garrison town in Blue Nile

The Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) claimed it had taken the garrison of Ulu, in Blue Nile province of eastern Sudan. A spokesman for the SPLA told news agencies the rebels had killed more than 70 government soldiers and captured weapons and materiel. A government army statement issued in Khartoum yesterday acknowledged "fierce battles" in the area. The Sudanese national service coordinator announced plans earlier this week to recruit an additional 250,000 civilians into the military this year alone, AFP reported.

Government launches airlift, WFP relocates staff

In humanitarian operations, the government has launched its own airlift of food to government-held Wau in Bahr al-Ghazal, AFP reports. Elsewhere in Bahr al-Ghazal, WFP announced that an increase in insecurity had forced them to relocate staff from Twic county. About 80,000 of 150,000 beneficiaries in the area will have their food aid delayed, WFP told IRIN today.

KENYA: Three charged with murder of Sendashonga

A Rwandese and two Ugandan nationals were arraigned before a Nairobi court yesterday charged with the murder of former Rwandese interior minister Seth Sendashonga. The three men were also accused of the murder of Sendashonga's driver in a city shooting last month. They denied the charges and were remanded in custody until 16 June, Kenyan radio monitored by the BBC, reported.

ANGOLA: UN warns of military build-up

The head of the UN peacekeeping force in Angola has warned there is evidence of a military build-up in preparation for a potential return to civil war. Maj-Gen Phillip Sibanda of the Zimbabwe army refused to point the finger at either side at a press conference in Harare yesterday, the South African news agency SAPA reported. He said there were hardliners in both the government and UNITA calling for a military solution. He said he had reported to the UN's peacekeeping headquarters in New York and briefed the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Angola on the volatile situation. "I made my views very clear, that there was certain very disturbing evidence on the ground in Angola which made me very uncomfortable," he added.

Nairobi, 3 June 1998, 14:45 gmt


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Date: Wed, 3 Jun 1998 18:14:07 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 429 for 3 June 98.6.3 Message-ID: <>

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

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