IRIN Update 505 1998.9.18

IRIN Update 505 1998.9.18

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. 505 for Central and Eastern Africa (Friday 18 September 1998)

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: UN humanitarian official "not optimistic"

A joint UN - DRC government humanitarian assessment mission is due to visit the western Bas-Congo area to evaluate humanitarian needs. The mission was among the humanitarian issues raised during a visit by UN humanitarian official Martin Griffiths this week. Other concerns included the status of the Kinshasa population, a delayed immunization campaign and the protection of minorities, in particular Tutsis held at Kokolo camp.

Griffiths, deputy UN emergency relief coordinator, made representations on principles of humanitarian access and respect for human rights in meetings with ministers in Kinshasa this week and with rebel officials in Goma yesterday (Thursday). Griffiths told IRIN today (Friday) that he was attempting to establish principles under which UN agencies might be able to resume humanitarian operations in rebel-controlled areas of DRC where security permitted. UN agencies are pressing rebel authorities to return assets looted during the rebellion as an initial step. Griffiths said humanitarian action in eastern DRC was likely to be "difficult" for some time. "It's not easy to be optimistic", he said.

Rebels impose curfew in Goma

Rebel authorities in Goma have imposed a night curfew in the city, following Monday's attack by Mayi-Mayi warriors and Hutu militia, AFP reported yesterday (Thursday). The attack killed 24 civilians and wounded several others, rebels told AFP. The curfew is in effect from 8 pm to 6 am. Electrical power in Goma is turned off every day between midnight and dawn, local sources report. The Rwanda News Agency (RNA) reported that rebel-controlled radio in Bukavu denied claims that "bami", or traditional leaders had been abducted and transported to Rwanda. The rebels further claim to be encircling Kindu. Few clear details about the military situation have emerged in recent days, however, as both sides exchange claims and counter-claims.

UN Security Council discusses DRC crisis

The UN Security Council met in closed session yesterday to discuss the DRC crisis. Following the informal consultations, the council's president, Hans Dhalgren of Sweden, told journalists that the 15 members want "an immediate ceasefire, the withdrawal of all foreign forces and the initiation of a peace process and political dialogue" in the DRC. Diplomatic sources say the council also expressed concern regarding the continued flow of arms into the DRC and urged respect for human rights and international humanitarian law.

Mkapa joins Chiluba peace mission

Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa is scheduled to accompany President Frederick Chiluba of Zambia to Uganda on Saturday as part of regional efforts to end the war in the DRC, AFP reported. The two visiting heads of state will meet with President Yoweri Museveni for "private discussions" on the crisis, AFP said, quoting a Ugandan government statement. Earlier this week, Chiluba announced that he would visit Museveni and Rwandan President Pasteur Bizimungu to pursue mediation efforts initiated by the Southern African Development Community (SADC). It was unclear whether Mkapa was also planning to accompany Chiluba on the Kigali portion of the mission.

Angola to withdraw forces "as quickly as possible"

Angola has told the US Congress that it supports a diplomatic solution to the DRC conflict and that it has "no intention" of expanding its military operations in the DRC. In a letter submitted to the Congressional sub-committee on Africa for its 15 September hearing on the DRC crisis, Angola's ambassador to the US, Antonio dos Santos Franca, said that Angola had sent troops to the DRC because the conflict represented a "direct threat" to Angola's peace process and to its oil and other national assets. Angola intended to withdraw its forces from the DRC "as quickly as possible," dos Santos Franca said in the letter.

Earlier this week, Zimbabwe's Defence Minister told his country's parliament that troops from Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia would remain in the DRC until peace is secured there. Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe said on state television today that "many more African countries" are prepared to send troops to support Kabila, Reuters reported.

TANZANIA: Burundian arrivals include war-wounded

About 10 percent of the Burundian refugees arriving in Kigoma are sent to the regional hospital for medical assistance, either because of severe malnutrition or due to serious bullet and machete wounds, WFP's weekly emergency report said. Those suffering from malnutrition are mostly children under five years of age, the report said. Refugees referred to the hospital receive three meals a day under WFP's special feeding programme, while all new arrivals to Kigoma are provided with WFP high-energy biscuits, the report added. UNHCR figures indicate that a total of 2,446 Burundian refugees had arrived in Kigoma since the beginning of August up to 15 September, while 5,333 Congolese refugees had arrived during the same period.

DRC-CONGO (BRAZZAVILLE): DRC rebels claim Hutu fighters crossing from Brazzaville

The DRC rebels' political leader, Ernest Wamba dia Wamba, told AFP yesterday that Rwandan Hutu Interahamwe and ex-FAR soldiers had crossed the river from Brazzaville to Kinshasa on Tuesday to support Kabila's armed forces. However, the governments of both the DRC and Congo (Brazzaville) have denied the allegation. There are some 11,000 Rwandan Hutu refugees in Congo (Brazzaville).

CONGO (BRAZZAVILLE)-CABINDA: Local leaders discuss border security

The leader of Congo's Kouilou region discussed border security with the governor of Angola's troubled Cabinda enclave last weekend, according to Congolese Radio Liberte, monitored by the BBC. The meeting took place in Cabinda in the presence of Angola's interim prime minister, Santana Andre Kipra Pedro, it added. Kouilou hosts some 20,000 Angolan refugees who have fled clashes between the Angolan army and various factions of the secessionist Cabinda Enclave Liberation Front (FLEC).

RWANDA: Two men sentenced to death in Ruhengeri

A court in Ruhengeri on Wednesday sentenced two men to death on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity during the 1994 civil war, AFP reported. The men, Tatien Iyamuremye and Evariste Ngoroye, were accused of using their positions as local administrators in the Nyarutovu area of Ruhengeri to oversee the massacre of Tutsis, according to AFP.

SUDAN: Rebels claim Liria captured

The Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) has announced the capture on of the garrison town of Liria, 72 km southeast of Juba in the eastern Equatoria region. A rebel statement, reported by AP, said that the SPLA had captured two tanks and other materiel during the attack on Wednesday.

World Vision plans road convoy to Tonj and Gogrial

World Vision this week announced plans for the delivery of 11,000 mt of food aid for Tonj and Gogrial counties of southern Sudan next year. The food, donated by USAID is expected to be delivered by land in what World Vision describes as a "daring" operation.

Anti-US demonstrations planned

The Sudanese government has announced a nationwide protest on Sunday to mark the one-month anniversary of the US strike on the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum. AFP reports the labour minister Abdul Rahman Nur Eddin calling for workers to come out on 20 September to denounce "unjust American agression".

GREAT LAKES: UN funding remains low

Only 24 percent of the UN's 1998 appeal for humanitarian assistance in the Great Lakes and Central Africa has been funded. Figures released by OCHA Geneva show that five smaller UN agencies had reveived no pledges at all while the rest received at best 50 percent funding. Of a requested US $573.8 million, only US $137.9 is available. Non-UN humanitarian funding for the region, as recorded by OCHA, amounts to an additional US $121.6 million so far this year.

Nairobi, 17 August 1998, 15:55 GMT


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Date: Fri, 18 Sep 1998 18:53:30 -0300 (GMT+3) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 505 for 18 Sep 1998.9.18 Message-ID: < >

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

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