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IRIN Update No. 466 for Central and Eastern Africa (Friday 24 July 1998)
RWANDA: Top rebel commander killed
Rwandan troops killed some 250 Hutu rebels, including one of their top leaders, in a military sweep in the conflict-torn northwest of the country, news reports quoted a military source as saying today (Friday). The source identified the rebel commander as Lieutenant Colonel Leonard Nkundiye. The Rwandan army has carried out two operations in the region over the last two days - one around Giciye, where 200 rebels were reported to have been killed and the other near Ruhengeri in which 50 other rebels were said to have been killed. Nkundiye was a top commander in the Hutu-dominated army of former President Juvenal Habyarimana.
Belgian missionaries freed
Two Belgian missionaries abducted by Rwandan rebels in Ruhengeri prefecture earlier this week have been released, the Rwanda News Agency reported, citing church and government officials. The release was confirmed by the Belgian foreign ministry. The two missionaries, belonging to the White Fathers order, were found early today near Nemba church, 25 km south of Ruhengeri town, a senior government official told RNA. They were said to be exhausted from their long march with the rebels, but were otherwise unharmed. The missionaries were abducted on Tuesday in the parish of Rwaza, but church officials said at the time they did not fear for their safety as the rebels seemed to be abducting religious workers to gain publicity.
More than 130 Rwandan genocide suspects released
Rwandan radio said today the authorities had released 136 people, 112 men and 24 women, including some accused of having taken part in the 1994 genocide and other crimes against humanity. The suspects had been under detention in Kigali's central prison, the radio said. It did not say how long they had been held for.
BURUNDI: Agenda agreed for Arusha talks
After days of wrangling, the Burundi sides meeting in Arusha yesterday (Thursday) agreed on an agenda for the discussions. According to the Hirondelle news agency, the mediator's spokesman, Hashim Mbita, said the 17 parties would meet this morning in plenary session to discuss the nature of the Burundi conflict. Heads of delegations met the mediator, former Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere, last night to finalise a series of draft rules for the talks which should be adopted today, Hirondelle reported.
SUDAN: Alarming mortality rate in Ajiep town
Following UNICEF chief Carol Bellamy's visit to south Sudan this week, MSF has issued alarming mortality figures for the town of Ajiep in Bahr al-Ghazal state based on a nutritional survey there. Over the last 10 days, the mortality rate for adults had increased from 17.8 per 10,000 per day to 69.7 per 10,000 per day. For children, the rate over the same period is 133 per 10,000 per day, up from 31.7 per 10,000 per day. MSF says that each day, 120 people are dying out of total population of 17,500 within a five
km radius of the town. The organisation points out that two deaths out of 10,000 per day is considered an emergency. Addressing a news conference in Nairobi yesterday, Bellamy described the trends as "just terrible" and said every opportunity must be taken to use the three-month ceasefire, declared by the government and SPLA rebels, to assist the needy.
Nutritional surveys in Bahr al-Ghazal in May and June also showed very high rates of malnutrition. A UNICEF survey of over 4,000 children in nine locations showed an overall malnutrition rate of 50.9 percent, with a severe rate of 19.8 percent, measured by the weight-for-height (Z scores) method. Three other NGO weight for height surveys at around the same period gave the following results: OXFAM at Rumbek found 37.3 percent global, and 10.7 percent severe; MEDAIR at Yirol found a global rate of 26 percent, and 5 percent severe; and World Vision at Tonj discovered an overall rate of 33.4 percent, with 9.9 percent severe. OLS, in a report, described the survey results to be of "great concern".
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Kabila discusses links with Castro
DRC President Laurent-Desire Kabila and Cuban President Fidel Castro met yesterday in Havana, where they discussed strengthening ties between their two countries, Cuban television reported. The television report was the first official mention of Kabila's presence in the country. It said he was accompanied by Agriculture Minister Mawampanga Mwana Nanga and Deputy Cabinet Chief Godofroit Tshanlesso. Che Guevara, Castro's legendary guerrilla comrade, was sent to the Congo in 1965 by the Cuban president on a mission to build links with Kabila and other -then-leftist opponents of the government.
KENYA: Kenya court orders arrest of revenue head
Nairobi's chief magistrate yesterday ordered the arrest of the Kenyan revenue collection authority and 15 other officials and businessmen on charges of fraud, the state news agency announced. The Kenya News Agency said the Commissioner General of the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) John Msafari and others including the KRA's Commissioner for Customs and Excise, Samuel Chebii are alleged to have defrauded the government of 231 million shillings (US $3.9 million).
Northeast areas improve since floods, but still cause for concern
UNICEF says there has been some improvement in the Wajir, Mandera and Garissa areas since the devastating floods there earlier this year. Following a UNICEF-led assessment mission on 6-12 July, it was noted the incidence of disease had dropped and road access was more or less back to normal. However, UNICEF cautioned that local communities were still far from being "out of the woods". Malnutrition in children under five is still causing grave concern, as is the prospect of people's dependency on relief food. Last week, the World Bank approved a US $140 million fast-track credit to Kenya to help it cope with the effects of flooding caused by El Nino.
Nairobi, 24 July 1998 14:00 GMT
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Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 16:59:26 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <email@example.com> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 466 for 24 July 1998.7.24 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.91.980724165853.8973A@ocha.unon.org>
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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