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IRIN Update No. 453 for Central and Eastern Africa (Tuesday 7 July 1998)
UGANDA: Over 50 rebels said killed in government offensive
Over 50 rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) have been killed in a new army offensive to flush them from their hideouts in the Ruwenzori mountains, the state-owned 'New Vision' reported today (Tuesday). It said an unspecified number of civilian hostages had also been freed. The operation is led by acting army chief of staff Brigadier James Kazini who has moved his base from western Uganda to Ntabi just over the border in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The newspaper said 15 ADF camps had been destroyed last month.
Meanwhile, the Bundibugyo district commissioner told AFP an estimated 100 rebels overran Congolese troops at a camp in Kikura on Saturday, killing two people and abducting a number of others.
Repatriation of DRC refugees "smooth but slow"
The repatriation of 9,000 DRC refugees from Kyaka II settlement in western Uganda is going smoothly but slowly, due to bad weather and road conditions, a UNHCR spokesperson told IRIN today. The refugees have registered for voluntary repatriation, and 4,900 of them have already been repatriated to their home area, Kamango. UNHCR noted there was only one mountain road leading to Kamango situated in an enclave between Uganda and the Virunga park in North Kivu. The spokesperson said security had to be reinforced following rebel activities in Uganda's Kabarole district. According to an OCHA report on affected populations in the Great Lakes region, Uganda hosts some 188,573 refugees, including 161,500 Sudanese.
BURUNDI: 19 killed in rebel attacks
At least 19 people, including 10 rebels, have been killed in two separate rebel attacks in southern Burundi, state radio reported yesterday (Monday). An army spokesman was quoted as saying five civilians were killed in Makamba commune on Saturday, while four civilians were killed on "route nationale 3" when their minibus came under fire. In the first incident, security forces intervened killing some 10 rebels, the spokesman added. The violence comes after 17 sides in the Burundi conflict, including the government, signed an accord in Arusha last month pledging to cease hostilities from 20 July.
RWANDA: Bizimungu blames "colonial machinations" for killings
President Pasteur Bizimungu has blamed "colonial machinations" for the killings in his country, Tanzanian radio reported. Speaking at a dinner in Dar es Salaam, hosted by his Tanzanian counterpart President Benjamin Mkapa, he said Rwanda had however succeeded in bringing about social and economic development. Yesterday, he toured Dar es Salaam port and pledged to promote its use by his government and Rwandan businessmen, claiming the tariffs were "competitive". He was told by the port director that maritime traffic from Rwanda had dwindled significantly since 1993. Mkapa meanwhile expressed support for Rwanda's membership of the East African Cooperation which currently groups Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.
Tanzania to arrest genocide suspects
In another development, Mkapa said Tanzania planned to arrest some genocide suspects after receiving a list from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, AP reported. He told a news conference Tanzania was currently following legal procedures to carry out the arrests. "But be assured we will do it very soon," he said.
Rwanda to continue mediation in Horn conflict
Rwandan Foreign Minister Anastase Gasana has said his country will continue its mediation in the Eritrea-Ethiopia conflict, but outside the OAU framework. Gasana told Reuters in Tanzania yesterday that Rwanda had pulled out of the OAU mediation committee after Eritrea rejected a US-Rwandan peace plan, adopted by the African body. "Since the OAU was going to pursue a resolution based along the same lines, (and) one of the key players rejected the recommendations, we felt it necessary to pull out," Gasana explained. He added that Rwanda had good relations with both countries and thus wanted to continue to help. Meanwhile, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni arrived in Asmara yesterday for talks with his Eritrean counterpart Isayas Afewerki. According to Eritrean radio, Isayas reiterated that the contentious border should be demarcated in accordance with colonial boundaries. Museveni is due in Addis Ababa today. A spokesman for the Eritrean community in Kenya told IRIN today that 30 Eritreans have been expelled by Ethiopia to Moyale, on the Kenyan border with Ethiopia, and "hundreds" more are fleeing to Kenya.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Anti-UN march in Kinshasa
Several thousand women marched through the centre of Kinshasa yesterday to protest against a UN report on massacres of Hutu refugees in DRC, according to news reports. The demonstration was organised by the ruling ADFL party and participants waved banners describing the UN as "slave-traders" and accusing the organisation of double standards for not investigating atrocities committed during the Mobutu era.
Foreign Minister Bizima Karaha last week claimed "certain countries or individuals" were using the UN negatively for their personal gain, the Agence congolaise de presse reported. Speaking in Mbuji Mayi, he affirmed the DRC, as a member of the UN, would not be manipulated in this way. He added that his country's relations with the UN were "trouble-free".
Self-proclaimed secessionist king arrested
A self-proclaimed king from Bas-Congo province has been arrested along with dozens of supporters, Reuters reported yesterday, citing government officials. "King" Bernard Mizele, who has called for the independence of Bas-Congo, Bandundu and Kinshasa provinces, was arrested at the weekend at Muanda in Bas-Congo. He had earlier fled Kinshasa after clashes broke out between his militia and government forces, in which eight people were killed. Military officials, quoted by Reuters, said Mizele's militiamen were surprisingly well-organised and they suspected support from ex-FAZ members.
SUDAN: Insecurity hampering assistance in south, MSF says
MSF has warned that insecurity in south Sudan is seriously hampering food deliveries urgently needed in the region. In a news release, received by IRIN today, the NGO said humanitarian agencies were forced to pull out of Western Upper Nile state on 29 June due to fighting in the area, leaving 751 children without life-saving supplementary and therapeutic food. Reports from Leer town indicated that a number of buildings had been burned to the ground and aid workers' compounds looted. MSF said peace was essential if humanitarian assistance was to prevent further starvation. Meanwhile, the German government announced yesterday it had earmarked US $1.4 million in aid for south Sudan.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Elections slated for 20 September, decree still to be issued
The CAR electoral commission has proposed that parliamentary elections be held on 20 September and 11 October this year, but an observer in Bangui told IRIN today the dates were not yet official as a decree had to be issued by the government. He added that international assistance for the elections was currently under discussion. A decision on extending the mandate of the UN Mission to Central African Republic - which has been providing technical assistance to local electoral bodies - will be decided by the UN Security Council on 15 July.
AFRICA: Report stresses challenges of growing urbanisation
A new report by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) highlights the challenges of urban development. IFRC pointed out to IRIN that by 2025 it is estimated over half the African population will be living urban communities, and African urbanisation will have doubled since 1975. It warned that such growing urbanisation heralds potential disasters such as an increase in urban poverty, congestion, pollution, crumbling infrastructure, sprawling slums and more street children. The IFRC's 1998 World Disasters Report stresses that an often overlooked urban killer is traffic accidents, which by 2020 will be the third largest cause of death in the world. The report says all is not gloomy however if governments become more accountable to their citizens and take preventive measures for the future. [IFRC website for further information: www.ifrc.org]
Nairobi, 7 July 1998, 14:20 gmt
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Date: Tue, 7 Jul 1998 17:24:10 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 453 for 7 July 1998.7.7 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.91.980707172312.10103Aemail@example.com>
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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