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IRIN Update No. 441 for Central and Eastern Africa (Friday 19 June 1998)
SUDAN: Sudan accuses Eritrea of shelling seven border posts
Sudanese state radio, monitored by the BBC, today (Friday) claimed that Eritrean forces yesterday (Thursday) shelled seven positions on the countries' common border. The report said that the attack, using tanks and artillery was repulsed and that an unstated number of Eritrean troops had been killed "while heavy and light military hardware was captured."
A spokesman for the Sudanese rebel National Democratic Alliance (NDA) disputed the claims, however, and instead told Reuters that NDA forces had launched two attacks yesterday east and southeast of Kassala.
The German press agency DPA quoted a Khartoum newspaper reporting that eight tanks used by the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) in their campaign in Blue Nile province had been returned to Ethiopia and Eritrea, who Khartoum says have been supporting the SPLA.
Pronk threatens to reduce aid for Sudan
Dutch Development Minister Jan Pronk said that he could not be sure that current levels of aid to Sudan could be sustained in his next aid budget unless there was progress in peace negotiations. Speaking at the end of a Sudan donor's conference in The Hague, the he said "there is fatigue with the lack of willingness of the warring parties to look after their people and fatigue with regard to the increasing costs of humanitarian aid."
BURUNDI: EU envoy hails progress at Arusha talks
The European Union's special envoy to the Great Lakes region said yesterday the factions discussing peace at talks in Arusha had made "impressive" progress. Media reports quoted Aldo Ajello as saying it had been "impressive to hear the discussions the delegates are having compared to just a few months ago". Mediator Julius Nyerere has held separate talks all week with the 20 delegations represented at the talks. Diplomatic sources said he was "quietly satisfied" with the progress so far.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: More Angolan refugees arrive
Angolan refugees are continuing to cross into DRC's Bandundu region, humanitarian sources told IRIN. They began crossing late May/early June at the rate of about 20 per day, but the number is increasing due to instability in northern Angola. A crisis committee has been established and has visited villages around the main town of Kahemba. It discovered over 1,000 people near Bindu village, while in Nzotu, near the border, at least 200 people were either on the road or in the bush, searching for food. Northeast of Kahemba, in Mwamushiko and Shaikwanda villages, some 407 people have been found. The sources said there were reports of malaria, malnutrition, diarrhea and respiratory problems among the refugees. An inter-agency mission is due to visit the area next week.
Banyamulenge and Bazibaziba representatives hold peace conference
Neighbouring Banyamulenge and Bazibaziba communities last week held a peace conference in Kaziba in eastern South Kivu province, the NGO Synergies Africa told IRIN today. It said that more than 100 delegates, including the Pacification Commission President General Luecha and several South Kivu traditional chiefs attended the 11-14 June meeting. Over 100 Mayi-Mayi fighters "who had laid down their arms" also allegedly took part. The Bazibaziba and the Banyamulenge have had tense relations in the area around Kaziba since the war in 1996.
Two journalists reported arrested
Two journalists from a satirical newspaper in DRC have been arrested, Reuters reported their colleagues as saying on Thursday. They said Achille Ekele Ngolyma and Guy Kasongo of 'Pot Pourri' had been held since Monday, but no reason for their detention had been given.
Meanwhile, German freelance journalist Peter Boehm told IRIN today that "journalists should be very careful", when visiting the country. On 15 May, he was released from detention in Kinshasa and expelled after spending over five weeks in the custody of the DRC authorities. He was arrested in Goma on 7 April, while taking photographs in a residential area. He was transferred to Kinshasa the following day, where Boehm says he was held by officials of the National Security Council. He smuggled a note to the German embassy after two weeks of being held incommunicado. He was finally charged with espionage and "endangering national security". Firmly denying the charges, Boehm says DRC officials questioned him about his accreditation and human rights-related documents in his hotel room in Goma. He claims belongings worth $600 were confiscated and not returned to him.
RWANDA: Death toll from attack on displaced rises to 25
The death toll from an attack on a displaced persons' camp in northern Rwanda has risen to 25 after two more people died of their wounds, news reports said today. At least 55 children were among the 85 wounded in Wednesday's attack at Nkamira, some 90 km northwest of Kigali. Rwandan radio said soldiers were searching the mountains along Rwanda's western border in an attempt to track down the rebel group, believed to be about 50 strong.
CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: Malnutrition remains acute
Congo is gradually recovering from its civil war though there remain a number of areas of concern, according to the latest humanitarian report on the country. It said displaced people have continued to return to the devastated capital, but the erosion of the population's purchasing power in the face of prolonged economic inactivity means the Congolese still face major economic difficulties. Food security remains precarious for much of the population while the nutritional situation in Brazzaville, with an acute malnutrition rate of nine percent, has not improved significantly in recent months. The report said the public services were being slowly reactivated, but health and education systems remained very weak throughout the country.
The UN report also underlined that the ability of UN agencies to respond to urgent humanitarian and rehabilitation needs was hindered by insufficient resources. The 1998 Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for the Congo had received only five percent identified requirements as of end-May.
Meanwhile, the Congolese government presented a three-year reconstruction programme to donors in Washington this week, AFP reported. The news agency added that the meeting, initiated by the World Bank and the European Union, was attended by the IMF, the African Development Bank (ADB) and several bilateral donors. Earlier, the week the government said it would be possible to hold general elections in the country within two years.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Former prime minister returns
The Central African Republic's former prime minister Jean-Paul Ngoupande returned to Bangui on Tuesday after a stay of several months in France and was greeted by several thousand supporters at the airport, AFP reported. Ngoupande was ousted from his post as prime minister in January 1997, seven months after his nomination by President Ange-Felix Patasse.
JUSTICE: Humanitarian crimes should fall under the International Criminal Court - IASC
The world's major humanitarian agencies have called for the proposed International Criminal Court (ICC) to be able to prosecute those responsible for crimes related to humanitarian situations. The Inter-Agency Standing Committee, a top-level policy forum which groups UN agencies, ICRC and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies as well as NGO consortia made their call earlier this week as a large conference meets in Rome to discuss the possible establishment of the court.
The IASC statement says that the court should be able to prosecute "wilful denial of humanitarian assistance, direct attacks against civilians, forceful deportation or displacement of populations and other serious violations of international humanitarian law, committed both in international and internal armed conflict." The IASC also believes that attacks against humanitarian personnel should be considered as crimes under the jurisdiction of the ICC. Given the sensitive information handling required, "adequate protective and non-disclosure measures would be necessary for cooperation between the Court and organizations involved in humanitarian activities", the IASC concludes. Further news and information on the five-week conference drafting the statute for the ICC
can be found on the Internet at: http://www.advocacynet.org/icc .
Nairobi, 19 June 1998 14:30 GMT
[The material contained in this communication comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. UN IRIN Tel: +254 2 622123 Fax: +254 2 622129 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or free subscriptions. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Quotations or extracts should include attribution to the original sources. IRIN reports are archived on the WWW at: http://www.reliefweb.int/ or can be retrieved automatically by sending e-mail to email@example.com. Mailing list: irin-cea-updates]
Date: Fri, 19 Jun 1998 17:46:28 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 441 for 19 June 1998.6.19 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.91.980619174522.28584Aemail@example.com>
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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