IRIN Update 438 for 16 June 98.6.16

IRIN Update 438 for 16 June 98.6.16

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. 438 for Central and Eastern Africa (Tuesday 16 June 1998)

BURUNDI: Parties to meet mediator privately on second day of peace talks

Parties to the Burundi peace talks in Arusha are to hold private consultations with mediator Julius Nyerere today (Tuesday), Reuters reported. The agency cited diplomats as saying the talks, which began yesterday (Monday), would probably continue into next week.

Regional leaders who are also in Arusha said sanctions against Burundi would be lifted "when irreversible progress has been made". Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa yesterday said sanctions would remain until the conflicting sides "show an interest in bringing about peace", Tanzanian radio reported. In a brief opening address, Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni challenged all the Burundi leaders gathered in Arusha to choose the "correct turning point" in their country's history.

According to AFP, participants in yesterday's talks stated their willingness to negotiate, and President Pierre Buyoya described the meeting as "historic". However, Leonard Nyangoma who leads a faction of the main rebel group Conseil national pour la defense de la democratie (CNDD), reiterated his rejection of the "internal" peace dialogue in Burundi.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Over 10,000 apply for proposed assemblies

Over 10,000 people have applied for membership to the proposed Constituent and Legislative Assemblies, Congolese television reported. The television quoted the first deputy chairman of the Constitutional Commission, Delphin Banza Kangakoloa, as saying there would be no extension of last Friday's deadline and ruled out "quotas" to ensure people from the provinces and abroad were represented. "We want to set up a body to prepare for the elections and work out modalities for putting in place all the institutions of the future republic," he was quoted as saying. In a 25 May presidential decree, President Laurent-Desire Kabila declared any member of the new assembly had to be Congolese and not a "notorious dignatory" of the former regime of Mobutu Sese-Seko. "The president of the republic knows his own compatriots and he will know exactly whom to call," Kangakoloa declared.

Meanwhile, DRC Information and Media Minister Didier Mumengi announced that Kinshasa will host the next COMESA Heads of State summit on 29 June, Agence congolaise de presse (ACP) reported on Saturday. The summit will be preceded by a meeting of experts and ministers.

Cholera situation remains worrying in North Kivu

The cholera situation in North Kivu remains a serious cause for concern following identification of some 35 cases and one death last week in Goma town, humanitarian sources told IRIN. The sources said the recent outbreak included some cases coming from military camps. The situation in Goma now seems to have stabilised, but concerns remained over other parts of the province where access was difficult. A crisis committee has been set up by local authorities to evaluate the situation and coordinate the response of humanitarian organisations.

Baby boom among Virunga mountain gorillas

The Virunga National Park in North Kivu, after suffering 18 months of civil unrest and damage caused by refugee movements, has registered a "baby boom" among the threatened mountain gorillas. According to a press release by the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP), received today by IRIN, 10 baby gorillas have been born in the last 18 months, many of them in families which have been violently upset by events in recent years. The IGCP points out the huge refugee camps on the park's border and the subsequent exodus had a devastating impact on the park and its wildlife. The statement goes on to say that despite enormous problems and challenges in the region, conservation efforts are making a difference and the mountain gorillas are continuing to survive.

UGANDA: Commanding officer faces court martial over rebel attack

The commanding officer of an army detachment which failed to repel an attack by rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) has been arrested and will be court martialled, media reports said today. Quoting military officials, the reports alleged the officer, whose rank and identity were not revealed, ran away during the attack on Kichwamba technical school in western Uganda last week. At least 48 people died in the attack and over 100 students are still missing, many believed abducted.

SUDAN: Khartoum pledges cooperation with UN on children in armed conflict

The Sudanese government has pledged cooperation with the United Nations on the issue of children in armed conflicts, local press reports said on Monday. They quoted Sudanese First Vice President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha as telling visiting UN envoy Olara Otunnu that Sudan was prepared to cooperate in protecting and guaranteeing the safety of minors in combat zones. Otunnu, the UN Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict, arrived in Khartoum on Saturday for talks with Sudanese officials on the issue. Last week Otunnu told reporters he would ask the Sudanese authorities to use their good offices to help obtain the release of children abducted from Uganda and reportedly held by the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).

TANZANIA: Mining pollution said causing environmental damage to Lake Victoria

Pollution resulting from mining activities is causing serious environmental problems on Lake Victoria, the state-owned 'Daily News' reported yesterday. AFP quoted the newspaper as saying mercury used by small-scale miners in areas along the lake shores was contaminating ground and surface water.

Nairobi 16 June, 1998 14:30 GMT


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Date: Tue, 16 Jun 1998 17:58:26 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 438 for 16 June 98.6.16 Message-ID: <>

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

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