Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 450 for 2 July 1998.7.2

Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 450 for 2 July 1998.7.2

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. 450 for Central and Eastern Africa (Thursday 2 July 1998)

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Tshisekedi returns to Kinshasa

The DRC authorities have released veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi from internal exile, according to press reports. The leader of the Union pour la democratie et le progres social (UDPS) returned to Kinshasa yesterday (Wednesday) after being confined to his home in Kasai province since February.

In a statement, the UDPS said Tshisekedi,however, did not have freedom of movement as the ban on political activity still had not been lifted. "The UDPS believes this is yet another manoeuvre by President Kabila aimed at consolidating his new currency and attempting to present a false 'nationalist' shield to the international community in connection with accusations of massacres and genocide against Mr Kabila,the ADFL and the Rwandan army," the statement said.

Kasavubu forms new party

Meanwhile, DRC's former ambassador to Belgium Justine Kasavubu and previously the UDPS representative in Brussels has announced the creation of a new political party, the Rassemblement pour la democratie congolaise (RDC). She told a news conference in Brussels on Tuesday the new party's slogan was "justice, respect and progress".

It would soon publish its founding manifesto, detailing its operations and a programme for economic recovery. It was a party for the people and would work for the "higher interests of the Congolese people", she added.

Monkey pox on the increase

According to WHO, incidences of monkey pox in DRC are on the increase. WHO told IRIN that from 1970, 404 cases of monkey pox were registered worldwide, 386 of them in DRC. From 1996 to October 1997 the DRC figure had risen to 511. Particularly affected was the Kasai region, but since February 1996 sporadic cases have been spreading to other areas.

BURUNDI: Parties reiterate commitment to Arusha accord

Seventeen Burundian factions who took part in the Arusha talks last month, including the government, have reiterated their commitment to the agreement to suspend hostilities from 20 July and to hold further negotiations on the same day. In a joint declaration, reported by the Agence burundaise de presse (ABP), they pledged to undertake serious negotiations, settle the conflict by peaceful means and stop all forms of violence. The statement said it had been decided to set up five commissions covering political, social and economic issues.

The parties will be returning to Arusha at the invitation of mediator, former Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere. The Burundi government had last week sought clarification on the suspension of hostilities from Nyerere, after the CNDD-FDD rebel faction (which has splintered from CNDD), issued a statement saying CNDD leader Leonard Nyangoma - who signed the Arusha agreement - did not represent them and they did not agree to stop fighting. The Burundi army has also said it is not bound by the agreement.

Buyoya pledges peace as army battles rebels

President Pierre Buyoya yesterday again stressed his commitment to peace negotiations. In an independence day speech, he said talks would continue "to close the door on those seeking the slightest opportunity to steal our independence", AFP reported. His comments came days after clashes broke out between the Burundi army and rebels at Kiderege in Nyanza-Lac province. According to a rebel FDD (Forces pour la defense de la democratie) spokesman, speaking to the BBC's Kirundi service, the fighting occurred on Saturday and lasted three days. He claimed 34 Burundian soldiers were killed.

The leader of Burundi's Union for National Progress (UPRONA), Charles Mukasi, said he and other UPRONA leaders had been "sequestered" by soldiers on Wednesday during ceremonies marking the country's 36th anniversary of independence from Belgium. The anniversary was marked by a parade through Bujumbura attended by Buyoya, who came to power in a bloodless putsch on 25 July 1996.

RWANDA: Rwandans mobilised for community works in preparation of national day

Rwandans have been mobilised to carry out community work in order to prepare the country for the "day of national liberation" on 4 July, AFP reported yesterday. It said that all Rwandans of Kigali and rest of the country had been drafted in to clean and maintain roads. Humanitarian sources in Kigali told IRIN on Tuesday 4 July was a day off for their national staff. AFP added that President Pasteur Bizimungu as well as other members of the government took part in the cleaning works.

UGANDA: Government denies crackdown on Muslims

The Ugandan government has denied that it has launched a big crackdown on Muslims suspected of wanting to overthrow President Yoweri Museveni. Uganda's police spokesman Bob Ngovi told IRIN today (Thursday) the arrest and round up of several Muslims and other Ugandans was part of routine police duties.

"What we are cracking down on are perpetrators of brutal acts which have left innocent people killed, rendered others homeless and destroyed property," he said. Ngovi admitted, however, more Muslims than Christians had been arrested, but added: "We are committed to the rule of law and will deal firmly with anyone regardless of his tribe, position or religion." He says 38 of the suspects were charged with treason in Kasese in June. He says most of those arrested have been held in different locations to avoid contact with the Allied Democratic Forces, a rebel group operating in western Uganda. Ngovi says after the ADF failed to overthrow the government in November 1996, it resorted to urban guerrilla warfare.

Meanwhile, leader of the Tabliq sect of Muslims in Uganda Sheikh Suleyman Kakeeto on Friday refuted allegations that Tabliqs in Uganda were intent on overthrowing Museveni's National Resistance Movement (NRM) government. According to a speech monitored by the BBC, he told hundreds of Muslims during prayers in Kampala's Nakasero Mosque that the sect supports the NRM government. The weekly 'East African' last week reported a "big crackdown on radical Muslims who have been disappearing mysteriously."

SUDAN: Opposition politicians held, explosions hit Khartoum

Sudanese security forces have detained several opposition politicians and trade unionists, apparently for suspected links with bomb blasts this week in Khartoum, AFP quoted local press reports as saying today. An official in the Islamic-backed regime's national congress, Mohamed Adam Haqwab, said that an unspecified number of opponents had been arrested but did not say precisely why, the 'Akhbar al-Youm' daily reported. His statements were reported after the interior ministry said in a news broadcast that explosions had occurred in the Sudanese capital on Monday and Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Sudanese lawyers and journalists launched a campaign yesterday against international sanctions imposed on Sudan. AFP said lawyers, journalists and jurists associations, together with a number of visiting French lawyers, announced they were forming an anti-sanctions group during a press conference. The group announced a document named the Khartoum declaration which called on people and organisations worldwide to resist international sanctions. Trade and economic sanctions contradict the principles of free international trade and are prompted by political motives with no logical or legal foundations, said the declaration.

Nairobi, 2 July 1998 14:30 GMT


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Date: Thu, 2 Jul 1998 16:31:01 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 450 for 2 July 1998.7.2 Message-ID: <>

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

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