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IRIN Update No. 496 for Central and Eastern Africa (Monday 7 September 1998)
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Conflicting sides meet in Zimbabwe Talks aimed at finding a peaceful settlement of the Congo conflict began in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe today (Monday). News reports quoted Arthur Z'Ahidi Ngoma of the rebel Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD) as saying on arrival there would be no ceasefire before a political resolution of the conflict. All sides involved in the war, including DRC President Laurent-Desire Kabila, are represented at Victoria Falls. The RDC's foreign affairs representative, Bizima Karaha, is also a member of the rebel delegation. Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, on arrival in Zimbabwe today, predicted a "solution to the conflict", AP reported. Zambian President Frederick Chiluba was nominated as the neutral chairman of the talks.
Regional economies suffering
The conflict in the DRC is having an increasingly negative impact on the economies of neighbouring countries, primarily due to loss of trade and tourism earnings, the 'EastAfrican' weekly newspaper reported today. Since the outbreak of the conflict, Tanzanian businessmen have suspended export orders to the DRC worth over US $2.2 million, Air Tanzania has stopped its profitable twice-weekly Dar es Salaam-Lubumbashi flights, and the thriving cross-border trade through the ports of Kalemie and Uvira has virtually ceased, the 'EastAfrican' reported. As the DRC constitutes an important market for Ugandan products, Uganda will lose between 20-30 percent of its total external trade if the war does not end soon, the newspaper said. The war has already harmed Uganda's tourism industry, according to the newspaper.
UGANDA: ADF rebels killed, army says
The Ugandan army said it had killed 36 rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) at Busaru in the western Bundibugyo district and in nearby Kasese over the weekend, the state-owned 'New Vision' reported today. On Thursday, the Ugandan parliament voted against a motion to order a government ceasefire with rebel groups, but agreed to set up a reconciliation commission.
RWANDA: Rebels storm prison Rebel infiltrators stormed a prison in Kivumu commune, western Kibuye prefecture on Friday, freeing a number of inmates, Rwandan radio, monitored by the BBC, reported yesterday (Sunday). Government troops reportedly killed 70 of the freed prisoners, while another 140 turned themselves in. A number of rebels were also reported killed. The jail housed about 380 prisoners, the radio said. An estimated 800 rebels, from hideouts in the nearby Mukura forest, were involved in the attack. The rebels also hacked to death 21 civilians in Ndaro village, according to an army spokesman.
WFP suspends operations in Ruhengeri
WFP has suspended food distributions in Ruhengeri following a fatal landmine accident on Friday, a WFP spokesperson told IRIN today. One person was killed and a driver seriously injured when a five-vehicle convoy drove over the mine. WFP, which normally organises between three and five food distributions a week in the area, said it was sending a security assessment mission to the area tomorrow to decide the fate of future operations. "We do not know who is responsible for this grave incident, but we request the authorities to investigate," Gerard van Dijk, a WFP representative in Rwanda, was quoted as saying.
BURUNDI: Bubanza curfew extended
A curfew imposed in the northwest Bubanza province has been extended for security reasons, Burundi radio reported on Saturday. The curfew will now come into effect at 21:00 (local) instead of at midnight. The measure is intended to "facilitate patrol work by the security forces," the radio said.
SUDAN: New appeals issued for flood emergency in north and east
The government of Sudan has appealed for US $19.5 million from the international community to help respond to emergency needs resulting from heavy rains and flooding in the northern and eastern parts of the country, the Sudan News Agency (SUNA) reported. Hussein al-Obeid, Sudan's Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, was reported as stating that the funds would be used to provide shelter, food and health services for flood-affected people.
The IFRC, in a statement received by IRIN today, warned that the number of flood-affected people is rising rapidly and that, with the rainy season just starting, the emergency could continue for another three months. The IFRC is appealing for an additional 3,000,000 Swiss francs to help 95,500 people in the north and east, and to assist in preventing epidemics of infectious diseases in affected areas.
Water-borne diseases compounding famine emergency in south The ICRC has warned that water-borne diseases in southern Sudan could be as deadly as the on-going famine there. In a press statement, received by IRIN, the ICRC said that many boreholes and other drinking water sources have been destroyed by fighting in southern Sudan and that human corpses have been thrown into open wells to contaminate them. Lack of access to drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities leads to outbreaks of deadly diseases, such as diarrhoea and dysentery, and it also jeopardises the recovery of famine victims, the ICRC stated. Meanwhile, WFP reported that the government of Sudan has given it permission to fly humanitarian aid to all locations requested by OLS southern sector for the month of September.
Nairobi, 7 September 1998, 14:30 gmt
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Date: Mon, 7 Sep 1998 17:42:24 +0300 (GMT+0300)
From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D