IRIN Update 460 for 16 July 1998.7.16

IRIN Update 460 for 16 July 1998.7.16

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. 460 for Central and Eastern Africa (Thursday 16 July 1998)

SUDAN: Government agrees ceasefire

The Sudanese government has announced a three-month ceasefire in southern Sudan to help efforts to deliver food aid to famine victims, UN sources in Khartoum told IRIN today (Thursday). Media reports yesterday (Wednesday) quoted Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail as saying President Omar al-Bashir had replied positively to a request for a ceasefire from Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi who is spearheading a regional peace initiative.

The British Foreign Office said today the government had agreed to extend a month-long ceasefire in famine-hit Bahr al-Ghazal province to three months.

Yesterday, the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) declared a "unilateral and unconditional" three-month ceasefire in Bahr al-Ghazal. The rebel movement called the gesture "a humanitarian truce" and said it was not linked to issues of "war and peace in the Sudan". Ismail said details of the government ceasefire would be declared "after the rebel movement accepts an overall ceasefire".

"I am delighted that both the Sudanese government and the Sudan People's Liberation Army have now agreed... to a ceasefire and to the proposals for safe corridors that I put to them," Reuters quoted Foreign Office Minister Derek Fatchett as saying.

OLS welcomes rebel ceasefire, but says more needed

OLS welcomed the rebel ceasefire and said it hoped it would contribute to reducing tensions and conflict in Bahr al-Ghazal so that "the relief effort can go ahead without the disruptions caused by fighting". "Any initiative to improve the security of humanitarian operations for the people of Sudan is to be supported and commended," OLS said in a statement.

Martin Griffiths, the UN's deputy emergency relief coordinator, who is currently visiting Khartoum told IRIN any step which reduced conflict must be welcomed, but the humanitarian community would like to see a ceasefire covering a broader area and longer time period. He said many of the roads in the area would be impassable for reasons of climate until mid-October, but WFP was examining the possibility of sending a train carrying 1,500 mt twice a month through to Wau with other stop-off points en route.

OLS also stressed in its statement that a temporary ceasefire was not sufficient to bring respite to the people of south Sudan. "What is needed is a prolonged period of peace to enable people to begin to recover from the trauma of war," OLS said. OLS also said the ceasefire would have no impact in the area of western Upper Nile where populations had been displaced, NGO compounds destroyed and relief programmes disrupted. It added other areas of southern Sudan with important humanitarian needs are also not covered. "As long as the conflict continues, neither OLS nor any other form of humanitarian response will be able to meet the needs of all war-affected people," the OLS statement concluded. NGOs in general gave a guarded welcome to the ceasefire gesture, saying it may make little real difference. AFP reported World Vision Sudan head Bruce Menser as saying it was "a token effort which has come too late". He added it came at a time when heavy rains made road transport virtually impossible and reduced military activity.

Clashes kill 49 people

Recent clashes between former rebels in southern Sudan have killed 49 people, Reuters reported. It said the independent 'al-Rai al-Alam' daily quoted James Mabor, a member of the coordinating council for southern Sudan, as saying the Southern Sudan Defence Forces (SSDF), led by Riak Machar, and forces loyal to commander Paulino Matip clashed in Unity state, about 850 km southwest of the capital Khartoum. The SSDF groups six former rebel factions that made peace with Khartoum last year.

CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: Gunfire rattles through capital

Humanitarian workers said heavy gunfire shook different parts of Brazzaville today for a period of about 30 minutes as a result of a dispute between police and gendarmes. Most of the shots were apparently fired into the air. There is no information on whether there were any casualties. The dispute was sparked by the alleged killing of a gendarme by police officers earlier this week. The first shots were fired today at about 11:15 a.m. by gendarmes participating in the funeral procession for their dead colleague. The gunfire quickly spread to different parts of the city with police officers replying with gunshots similarly fired into the air. Some of the heaviest firing took place in front of the police headquarters near the UNICEF compound.

BURUNDI: Burundian refugees to be transferred in new sites

Preparations are under way to transfer Burundian refugees who sought asylum in eastern DRC to new sites in the Fizi area of south Kivu, WFP said in its weekly report. A UNHCR spokesperson told IRIN that the sites had been identified and were in the process of being prepared to receive the first arrivals in a few weeks. An estimated 11,000 Burundian refugees are scattered in eastern DRC, notably on the Ruzizi plain, north of Uvira, where they live among the local community. According to a tripartite agreement between the governments of Burundi and DRC and UNHCR, the Burundian refugees should be settled at least 15 km from the Burundian border.

New feeding centres in Bubanza

The British NGO Children's Aid Direct (CAD) has opened two new supplementary feeding centres in Musigati and Rugazi in northern Bubanza province, OCHA-Burundi said in its latest report. The opening of these centres has spread some of the load previously carried by the Bubanza and Ruyange feeding centres. The report said the Musigati centre alone registered 1,700 beneficiaries during its first month of operation. Bubanza province contains the highest number of displaced people in Burundi - an estimated 159,000 people.

RWANDA: Belgium seeks extradition of former Rwandan officer

Belgium has asked Tanzania to extradite former Rwandan army major Bernard Ntuyahaga, in connection with the death in 1994 of 10 Belgian paratroopers serving in the UN peacekeeping force, Reuters quoted Brussels prosecutors as saying on Tuesday. Last Friday, Ntuyahaga became the first suspect to give himself up to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, sitting in Arusha, northern Tanzania.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: More opposition supporters arrested

DRC authorities have arrested more than 20 supporters of opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, news organisations report from Kinshasa. It is the third such series of arrests since Tshisekedi was allowed to return to the capital two weeks ago after five months of internal exile in his home region of Kasai.

Nairobi, 16 July 1998 15:00 GMT


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Date: Thu, 16 Jul 1998 18:19:30 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 460 for 16 July 1998.7.16 Message-ID: <>

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

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