Zaire: IRIN Update 45 on Eastern Zaire,11/30/96

Zaire: IRIN Update 45 on Eastern Zaire,11/30/96

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IRIN Emergency Update No. 45 on Eastern Zaire (30 November 1996)

The Ugandan army has attacked eastern Zaire and captured Kasindi and Virunga Hills, 10km inside Zairean territory, the state-owned New Vision reports today. The assault, which continued into the early hours of Friday morning, was in response to attacks launched from Zaire into Uganda's Kasese region this month by rebels, allegedly of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). Ugandan area commander, Lt Col Geoffrey Muheesi, was quoted by the New Vision as saying that Ugandan forces would not leave Zairean territory "until after the intervention of the Zairean government" to netralize the rebel threat. AFP has been reporting Zairean reinforcements being flown into Beni, about 60 km northwest of Kasindi.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni held talks with Candian Lt Gen Maurice Baril in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu on Friday. According to the New Vision, Museveni told the commander of the proposed multi-national force (MNF) that the Ugandan Government was happy with the MNF plan to carry out its operations from Uganda. Museveni, however, advised the commander to concentrate on "humanitarian aid and not get drawn into internal regional conflicts". A joint advance team of more that 550 British, Canadian and US military personnel has been based at Entebbe's airport since early November.

AFP has reported that the 20 countries which form the multi-national force formally approved its establishment yesterday. Paul Heinbecker, the senior Canadian official who chaired yesterday's meeting in Ottawa announced that the MNF was approved, with its headquarters to be in Entebbe. Heinbecker also said that it had been agreed to form a Steering Committee of 14 countries to make operational decisions on the recommendation of Lt Gen Maurice Baril. The Committee would meet in New York from now on and report to the UN Security Council. The members of the Committee are: Belgium, Cameroon, France, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Senegal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Britain, the United States, Uganda and Canada. It was still unclear late Friday about the number of troops to be deployed and how much equipment would be needed.

Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien told a news conference on Friday that Lt Gen Baril had secured the collaboration of the commander of the rebel group in eastern Zaire after talks in Goma. Rebel ADFL leader, Laurent Kabila had earlier told the Paris based weekly Nouvel Afrique Asie that his men would continue to resist any French presence in the MNF because of French intervention in support of Zairean president Mobutu in the past.

Amnesty International has accused Zairean soldiers and rebels of arbitarily killing local people and Rwandan refugees in Eastern Zaire. At a news conference at the end of a two week visit to Zaire, Herve Berger, Amnesty's Deputy Secretary-General, denounced the killings and said that Amnesty has received reports of extrajudicial killings, rape and pillaging by the Zairean Army and the slaughter of hundreds of Rwandan refugees and displaced Zaireans by the rebel groups. "The human rights situation is continuing to get worse", he said. Expressing concern at the nomination of General Baramoto Kpama Kata, the former head of the feared civil guard, as armed forces Chief of Staff, Berger added that: "Zairean authorities have created a climate of intimidation, where questions demanding the truth about the role of the authorities in the current crisis are repressed".

A UN spokeswoman in Geneva yesterday reported the killing of three civilians by former Rwandan soldiers in Giseki, Gisenyi. One was a genocide survivor. So far, 38 ex-FAR have been arrested in Rwanda since the massive return or refugees earlier in the month.

Donors have contributed close to US$ 78 million to the UN Consolidated Inter-Agency Flash Appeal for the crisis in Eastern Zaire. The Appeal launched in early November for a three month period, calls for more than US$ 259 million for urgent assistance for refugees, returnees and conflict affected people. A further US$ 22 million has been provided by donors outside the framework of the Flash Appeal - mainly to international NGOs.

Nairobi, 30 November 1996, 11:00 GMT


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Date: Sat, 30 Nov 1996 14:21:54 +0300 From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <> Subject: Zaire: IRIN Update 45 on Eastern Zaire for 30 Nov 96 96.11.30 Message-ID: <>

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

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