UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
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. 476 for Central and Eastern Africa (Friday 7 August 1998)
KENYA-TANZANIA: Car bombs rock capitals
Over 80 people are feared dead and more than 1,000 wounded in two huge explosions today (Friday) believed to have been aimed at US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Both blasts, which went off mid-morning within minutes of each other, were reportedly car bombs. The US authorities are treating the incidents as terrorist attacks. In Nairobi, the Cooperative Bank House next to the US embassy on Haile Salassie Avenue took the brunt of the explosion. The blast, reportedly detonated in a car park between the two buildings, almost levelled the five-storey office block. Rescue workers desperately dug through the rubble to reach an unknown number of people trapped inside. Helicopters landed in the street to evacuate victims.
Kenyan police reported 64 deaths, with over 1,000 people wounded, caught by the blast and flying glass. Hospitals in the city were overwhelmed, with the wounded brought in by ambulances, taxis and private cars. There have been radio appeals for blood donors and medical staff to report for work. In a government statement, President Daniel arap Moi condemned what he described as a senseless act of terrorism.
In Dar es Salaam, at least four people were killed and 72 injured. The explosion destroyed a wing of the US embassy. There were unconfirmed reports of a shoot-out between embassy security guards and unidentified men before the blast. US nationals were among the dead and wounded in the Nairobi attack. Washington has rushed emergency rescue teams and FBI investigators to both countries. It has vowed to track down the perpetrators. No one has taken responsibility for the attacks.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Rebels consolidate gains in west
The western towns of Muanda and the Banana naval base are firmly under rebel control, sources in the area confirmed to IRIN today. The soldiers are said to be Rwandans and the situation is now calm.
Burundian Defence Minister Alfred Nkurunziza today denied reports circulating in Bujumbura that Burundian troops had crossed into Uvira, which was under rebel control by yesterday (Thursday). Expatriate aid workers were today evacuated from the town, which lies on the border with Bujumbura. [For more information, see separate IRIN item headlined "Rebels consolidate gains in west as expatriates evacuate"].
BURUNDI: 30,000 displaced in rebel attacks
Over 30,000 people have been displaced by recent rebel attacks in Kayanza province, humanitarian sources report. The attacks, which took place late last month between the RN1 and RN15 highways east and southeast of Kayanza town, were carried out by large and well-organised groups of uniformed rebels. Local government sources claim that ex-FAR were involved. Some of the displaced were returned to Kayanza last weekend. Currently NGOs and UN agencies do not have access to the area making it difficult to assess conditions.
SUDAN: Peace talks fail
Sudan peace talks collapsed today in Addis Ababa with neither side able to agree on the key issues of the relationship between state and religion and the definition of the south. Sudanese state radio said the three-day talks, chaired by Kenya's foreign minister, "had been a failure by any standard".
Thunderstorms disrupt air drops to starving
WFP says tropical thunderstorms have disrupted food air drops into famine-hit south Sudan in the last few days. "Every day we try to increase the number of flights into southern Sudan," WFP's regional manager Mike Sackett said. "But these constant weather problems are hampering our success and our fear is that continued cancellations could cost lives." Access to northern Bahr al-Ghazal, where aid agencies are concentrating the bulk of their efforts, has been sporadic and at times non-existent due to the heavy rains, WFP said in a statement yesterday. The agency is operating two Ilyushins from Nairobi and two from Khartoum. In addition it has five smaller C-130s, with more planes pledged by donors, covering 90 locations in southern Sudan. "Weather permitting, WFP will now be able to deliver by air, road and barge sufficient food for the 2.6 million Sudanese in desperate need," the agency said.
Nairobi, 7 August 1998, 17:15 gmt
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Date: Fri, 7 Aug 1998 19:09:44 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 476 for 7 Aug 1998.8.7 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.91.980807190851.3405Xemail@example.com>
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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