IRIN Update 503 for 16 Sep 1998.9.16

IRIN Update 503 for 16 Sep 1998.9.16

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. 503 for Central and Eastern Africa (16 September 1998)

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Refugee influx to Tanzania continues

News agencies have reported heavy fighting in rebel-held Kalemie on lake Tanganyika. AFP said 100 DRC government soldiers fleeing the Kalemie clashes had arrived in Kigoma, Tanzania. Meanwhile, UN sources said 398 Congolese refugees arrived yesterday in Kigoma, most from the Kalemie area. Yesterday's refugee influx brought the total number of new Congolese arrivals in Kigoma to 5,333 since the start of the DRC rebellion in August.

Rebels claim Sudan supporting Kabila at Kindu

Rebel leaders claimed yesterday (Tuesday) that Sudan had sent 2,000 of its soldiers to Kindu, Maniema province, to help DRC President Laurent-Desire Kabila and his allies, news agencies reported. Reports since 3 September have alleged Sudanese involvement in the conflict. The chief of staff of the Forces armees congolais (FAC) has "categorically denied" the allegation, AFP reported today. Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail told the news agency that his country's support for Kabila was "political". Kindu is the government's forward military headquarters in the east.

Ugandan involvement in DRC rebellion refuted

President Yoweri Museveni today reconfirmed the presence of Ugandan troops within DRC territory, but said they were not fighting. "We are just watching" to preserve Ugandan security, he told parliamentarians. In his speech, reported by AP, he criticized foreign involvement in the DRC, calling it "ideologically repugnant". He added "Rwanda installed Kabila in power. Now it's Angola ... It's amazing now to hear him say that the Rwandans are aggressors."

Ugandan senior presidential advisor John Nagenda challenged DRC authorities who allege active Ugandan involvement in the DRC rebellion to capture Ugandan troops and show them publicly. Nagenda told IRIN that Uganda was "absolutely not" fighting alongside the rebels. He acknowledged, however, that Uganda was "extremely sympathetic" to Rwandan security concerns. He said that there was "worry" and "disappointment" in Uganda with Kabila's alleged association with the Interahamwe and other forces behind the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Kabila appoints former Mobutu generals to lead offensive

Kabila has appointed four generals who served under former president Mobutu Sese Seko to command forces in the southeast, state media reported. Marcelin Lukama Musikami was appointed chief of staff for the southeast sector and Mulimbi Mabilo was made commander of operations, while Ngwala Panzu and Bekazwa Bakundulo were appointed deputy commanders, the Congolese Press Agency reported yesterday.

Cholera problem rising in Shabunda

Cholera is becoming a serious problem in South Kivu, humanitarian sources report. There has been a substantial increase in the number of cholera cases in Shabunda and other areas of the province, with a sharp rise in mortality rates reported. Efforts to combat the epidemic have been hampered by a shortage of cholera drugs and restricted access to affected areas.

Future of war-disrupted polio eradication campaign discussed

Ministry of health officials, with UN and other partners are examining options for salvaging DRC's planned national polio immunization campaign, put off at the start of the rebellion. The campaign, which had been scheduled to start on 20 August, aimed to vaccinate about 10 million children under five years of age against polio, as part of global efforts to eradicate the disease. To help prevent millions of vaccine doses from spoiling during the recent three-week power outage in Kinshasa, UNICEF provided health authorities with fuel to run generators at the central refrigerated vaccine storage room in the capital.

SUDAN: Khartoum claims Ugandan troops involved in offensive

The Sudanese army claimed today (Wednesday) that 50 rebel Sudanese fighters and Ugandan army troops had been killed in "fierce battles" in Equatoria. The statement on state radio said that attacks "by Ugandan enemy troops backed by pockets of the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) forces" took place at Liria, Torit and al-Gabalein. The three locations are to the south and southeast of Juba. A senior advisor to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, John Nagenda, denied the allegations to IRIN, saying "we don't fight on foreign soil." Uganda, Nagenda said, had "sympathies for what the SPLA stands for," but said the Sudanese would have to "do it themselves".

The Khartoum army statement confirms the outbreak of fighting reported in IRIN Update 502 and the breakdown of a unilateral ceasefire declared by Khartoum on 3 August in all of southern Sudan. The SPLA is observing a ceasefire in Bahr al-Ghazal province only. Map:

Humanitarian concern about Western Upper Nile

WFP is concerned at the humanitarian situation of people in Western Upper Nile. Fighting between different pro-Khartoum southern factions in the Bentiu area has virtually cut off the area from humanitarian access. A security and needs assessment was called off last week due to insecurity and flooding. Only a third of a planned 1,200 mt of food deliveries for August was completed. WFP told IRIN that clashes continue in Mankien, while a Khartoum newspaper this week claimed as many as 400 people may have been killed in fighting between the Paulino Mateb and a faction allied to Riek Machar. An MSF spokeswoman agreed that the Upper Nile area was an area of "huge" concern.

RWANDA: Displaced camps a "disaster waiting to happen"

Numbers of displaced people in northwestern Rwanda are on the rise. At the end of August, an OCHA report estimated 150,000 people in Gisenyi and 95,000 in Ruhengeri were displaced. Today, an aid official told IRIN the official figures for displaced people in Ruhengeri alone had risen to 185,000. The director of CONCERN in Rwanda, Anne O'Mahony, told IRIN that the displaced people were generally sheltering in commune buildings, guarded by the army. The situation of the displaced people is "a disaster waiting to happen", said O'Mahony. Three sites, Kinigi, Gatonde and Cyeru each hold more than 25,000 people, while 14-15 smaller sites account for the rest. Many of the sites lack social services, shelter and clean water. As the rainy season approaches, the outlook is "fairly bleak" and needs for plastic sheeting and other supplies are becoming urgent. UN food aid deliveries to Ruhengeri have been suspended for the last ten days, after a convoy hit a landmine last weekend, killing one passenger.

The displacement follows a "hearts and minds campaign" to bring civilians out of the forests and areas under rebel control and back to the government-held side in the conflict zone, aid workers say. However, the recent increase in numbers comes as a result of increased insecurity. "Hutu and Tutsi alike feel threatened up there", said O'Mahony.

Three soldiers face death sentence

A Rwandan army officer and his two bodyguards have been sentenced to death for the murder of two women. The two sisters were killed on August 23 when they tried to reclaim a house occupied by the soldiers which belonged to their brother. The three soldiers have 30 days in which to appeal, Radio Rwanda reported.

BURUNDI: Thousands arrive from DRC

Over 5,500 people have arrived in Burundi's northwestern Cibitoke region, fleeing fighting in the DRC, OCHA Burundi reports. UNHCR figures indicate that 5,586 people had arrived by 11 September, of whom 1,729 were Burundians returning home. Most of the new arrivals were staying in temporary sites, while UNHCR provides return packages to the Burundians, OCHA reports.

Nairobi, 16 August 1998, 15:55 GMT


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Date: Wed, 16 Sep 1998 18:56:23 -0300 (GMT+3) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 503 for 16 Sep 1998.9.16 Message-ID: <>

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

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