IRIN Update 455 for 9 July 1998.7.9

IRIN Update 455 for 9 July 1998.7.9

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. 455 for Central and Eastern Africa (Thursday 9 July 1998)

SUDAN: SPLA denies reports of ceasefire agreement

The Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) today (Thursday) denied Sudanese media reports it had agreed to a ceasefire with the govenment at a meeting mediated by the regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Nairobi last week. An SPLA official in Nairobi told IRIN "there is nothing official about it and none of the people at the top attended any such meeting or are aware of it".

According to AFP, press reports in Khartoum yesterday (Wednesday) quoted an "informed" south Sudanese source as saying the rebel movement had accepted "in principle" a ceasefire at a meeting with an IGAD delegation in Nairobi. The source further said an IGAD delegation would arrive in Khartoum within the next two days for discussions with Sudenese government officials on the ceasefire proposal and arrangements for a next round of negotiations.

However, the head of the IGAD Secretariat in Nairobi, Bruce Madete, told IRIN he was not aware of IGAD's involvement in such a meeting last week. "I think this is pure fabrication " he said.

Rebels claim 19 fighters killed in east

The rebel Sudan Alliance Forces (SAF) have said they killed 19 Sudanese government troops and Eritrean militiamen in two separate attacks. According to news reports, an SAF statement yesterday claimed 11 Eritrean jihad members were killed in a dawn attack on their vehicle about 85 km west of the eastern Sudanese town of Kassala. In another attack on a government surveillance site some 32 km southwest of Kassala, eight soldiers were killed, the statement said. Three SAF fighters were reportedly wounded.

WFP distributes food to Wau

WPF today distributed a four-week food ration to some 10,000 displaced people in Wau, southern Bahr el Ghazal. In a report, it said the general food distribution in Wau started on 7 July, targeting 44,358 people. WFP is also in process of airlifting 27 mt of high energy biscuits to Wau to support the supplementary and therapeutic feeding programme which is providing assistance to 2,413 children.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Angolan refugees converging on three provinces

Humanitarian sources today confirmed to IRIN there are an estimated 20,000 Angolan refugees in the Dilolo district of Katanga province. Most of them have fled fighting in Luau in Angola's Moxico province. Of these, 12,000 have been accommodated in the Kivuma, Kisengi and Tshbumbulu sites which were set up for the old caseload Angolan refugees. Katanga Governor Augustin Katumba Mwanke, who visited the sites this week, assured the refugees that measures will be taken to provide adequate housing and healthcare, the Agence congolaise de presse (ACP) reported yesterday.

Angolan refugees have also been reported in Bas-Congo around Songololo and Matadi, as well as Kimbuba where UNHCR is currently leading a mission after church sources declared the presence of some 800 refugees. Three sectors of Kahemba district, in Bandundu province, also house some 1,300 refugees, while sources noted that a further 400 people had arrived at the border.

IRIN-Southern Africa has reported that eastern Angola is tense following the recent recapture of government-held towns by the former rebel movement UNITA. According to UNHCR, Moxico is "calm but very tense". A UNHCR spokesman told IRIN "as soon as shots are fired we will have an influx of people (in DRC)."

UGANDA: Museveni discusses Horn conflict with Mandela

President Yoweri Museveni held private talks in Johannesburg yesterday with his South African counterpart Nelson Mandela. Although details of the talks were not revealed, news reports said it was believed the two men discussed the conflict in the Horn of Africa as Museveni had just arrived from a mediation mission to both Addis Ababa and Asmara. Diplomats said the discussions also included the situation in Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria.

RWANDA: Government convinced conflict will be resolved "soon"

The Rwandan government has expressed optimism regarding a resolution of the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea. In an interview with the Rwanda News Agency, the minister at the presidency Patrick Mazimhaka declared that relations between the two countries "could be re-established in the very near future". He said that despite Rwanda's withdrawal from the OAU mediation team, Kigali was continuing its intervention at bilateral level "through direct negotiations with leaders of the two countries and via diplomatic channels". According to Mazimhaka, both Eritrea and Ethiopia were in agreement on the "basic issues" and were "only divided over one point". "There will be no war," he stated.

Three nuns kidnapped by rebels

Three nuns, two Rwandans and one Canadian, have been kidnapped during a raid by suspected Hutu rebels in Byumba province, the BBC reported. It said the insurgents raided Bugwe in Kivuye commune on Tuesday night, reportedly killing a local official and robbing a bank, as well as attacking a religious compound.

EIU predicts local polls in August

The latest country report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) notes that general elections, supposed to take place in August, will probably be postponed in favour of local polls. According to the Arusha accords of August 1993, general elections were slated for August 1998 but the international community seems to have accepted that this is impossible because of insecurity in parts of the country, EIU said. In order to stave off criticism, the Rwandan government is likely to hold elections at "nyumba-kumi" level. A "nyumba-kumi" consists of 10 households and is the lowest level structure, EIU said. If these polls go well, the government will then hold elections at cellule, then commune, then prefecture level. Economically, the report predicted that an annual GDP real growth rate of 7.5 percent envisaged in the government's three-year plan was feasible.

BURUNDI: Buyoya says reconciliation possible

President Pierre Buyoya has stressed that reconciliation in Burundi is possible. He told the BBC in an interview however that peace could not be established overnight, but the government was on the right track. The government is one of 17 Burundi sides represented in Arusha last month to discuss the country's ongoing peace process. Buyoya added it was difficult to know which rebel group to negotiate with because they were so divided, the BBC reported.

KENYA: ICRC helps displaced in Rift Valley

ICRC said in a newsletter received by IRIN today that it had completed relief distributions to over 5,000 displaced persons in Kenya's Rift Valley, most of them women and children.

It was the second round of distributions for thousands of uprooted Kenyans in the Nakuru and Laikipia districts. With support from the ICRC, the Kenya Red Cross Society had already given them emergency aid in February and March and begun to provide longer-term assistance in May, it said. At present calm has returned to Laikipia, but tension is still rife in some areas of Nakuru and the ICRC said many people were reluctant to return to their homes.

Living conditions in these camps have been deteriorating and inadequate sanitation and overcrowding pose a constant threat of infectious diseases.

CHILDREN: Third of world's infants unregistered

UNICEF has said nearly a third of the world's children risk missing out on education, healthcare and voting rights because their births are not registered. In a report, it notes around 40 million children are affected, especially in southeast Asia, the Pacific and sub-Saharan Africa. The latter has one of the lowest registration rates, with millions of children missing from population statistics, which affects the way government and international organisations plan essential services.

Nairobi, 9 July 1998, 14:10 gmt


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Date: Thu, 9 Jul 1998 17:08:18 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 455 for 9 July 1998.7.9 Message-ID: <>

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

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