IRIN Update 513 for 30 Sep 1998

IRIN Update 513 for 30 Sep 1998

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 Tel: +254 2 622147 Fax: +254 2 622129 e-mail:

IRIN Update No. 513 Central and Eastern Africa (Wednesday 30 September 1998)

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Displaced arrive in Kalemie

The rebel Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD) is seeking international support to resettle thousands of displaced people to the Ruzizi plain of South Kivu, humanitarian sources said. Last week, the RCD said that up to 20,000 people, mainly ethnic Tutsi Banyamulenge, were displaced towards rebel-held Kalemie from their homes in the Vyura area of Katanga province following government military activity. Humanitarian sources told IRIN today (Wednesday) that 400-600 people, including some wounded, had already reached Kalemie. Of this group, between 200 and 300 had been transported to Uvira in South Kivu, the sources said, adding that rebels expected the rest to arrive in Kalemie in three or four days.

An ICRC spokesperson told IRIN today that the ICRC is considering visiting the area to independently assess the needs of the Vyura displaced. "We wish to have access not only to this group but to all vulnerable people" in the area, the spokesperson said.

Congolese crossing to Tanzania

UNHCR reported that 328 Congolese refugees arrived in western Tanzania's Kigoma area on Monday. The arrivals included 117 people who said they had fled fighting between DRC rebels and government forces in the Kalemie and Kabimba areas of Katanga. The other 211 refugees arrived from the Fizi and Uvira areas of South Kivu, bringing the total number of Congolese refugee arrivals in Kigoma to 8,530 since early August.

SADC discusses intervention

Army officials from the countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) gathered yesterday and today in Angola to discuss the conflict in the DRC, as well as the situation in Angola and Lesotho, news organisations reported. Three SADC members - Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola - have confirmed providing military support to Kabila. General Mojo Motau, head of South African military intelligence, told reporters in the Angolan capital, Luanda, that South Africa recognised the responsibility of the SADC armed forces to secure the region. ''We are ready to make our contribution,'' he was quoted as saying by AFP. Richard Cornwell of the

Institute for Security Studies told IRIN that South Africa may move in to halt the advance of Ugandan and Rwandan troops from the east and to prevent the war spilling into a sub-regional conflict.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's state radio yesterday reported that 20 rebels were killed by Zimbabwean forces in "mop-up operations" in the DRC near the border with Angola.

Ex-FAR "coordinating" for Kabila - rebels

The Rwandan News Agency reported Tuesday that Kabila had recruited more than 10 ex-FAR senior officers from among the Hutu refugees in Congo-Brazzaville. The commanders, who were reported to have already crossed to Kinshasa, will be used by Kabila to "coordinate the activities of ex-FAR soldiers, the Hutu Interahamwe militia and a rag-tag of guerilla forces of the region," the radio quoted a RDC commander as saying. Last week, UNHCR expressed concern about reports that Rwandan asylum seekers were leaving camps in countries of central Africa to join the fighting in the DRC. Kabila's government has denied recruiting refugees from Congo-Brazzaville to help combat the DRC rebels.

Meanwhile, Uganda's 'New Vision' newspaper reported today that the son of former Ugandan President Idi Amin, Taban Amin, is commanding a unit of Ugandan rebels supporting Kabila at his forward military base in Kindu, Maniema province.

Rebels claim capture of Punia

Rebels told AFP today they had captured the town of Punia about 200 km north of Kindu. Quoting a military aide to rebel commander Jean-Pierre Ondekane, AFP said that an entire company of government soldiers in Punia had joined rebel ranks. There was no independent confirmation of the rebel claim.

Kakudji flees Kinshasa - report

Uganda's 'New Vision' newspaper also reported today that DRC State Minister for Internal Affairs Gaetan Kakudji had fled Kinshasa through Uganda and proceeded over the weekend to Brussels. Quoting senior Ugandan security officials, the newspaper said Kakudji, who is Kabila's cousin, fled Kinshasa because he feared that the DRC president was plotting to kill him.

Ugandan plane "probably crashed"

Uganda's defense minister, Stephen Kazuma, said Tuesday that the Bunia-bound Ugandan aircraft that disappeared on Friday was not a military plane, news agencies reported. Kazuma said that the aircraft was carrying two foreigners and three Ugandans. Among the Ugandans was the brother of the country's military chief-of-staff, who was travelling on private business, Kazuma said. The Associated Press quoted Ugandan army spokesman Shaban Bantarize as saying the twin-engine Islander aircraft was last seen hovering at low altitude just over the DRC border and that it "probably crashed." A spokesman for the Ugandan Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels told the BBC Tuesday that the ADF had shot down the plane.

SUDAN: Khartoum again calls for inquiry into US bombing

Sudan yesterday again called for a Security Council inquiry into the US missile attack on a Khartoum drugs factory which Washington said was used to make chemical weapons. In a speech to the General Assembly, Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail repeated Sudan's assertion that the factory made only medicines and had no link to Saudi Arabian millionaire Osama bin Laden - the man the US says organised the 7 August bombing of Washington's embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Meanwhile, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said today the al-Shifa plant in Sudan destroyed in the US missile attack was located near a chemicals factory. "The Americans monitored the (al-Shifa) factory for a long time. And there is a chemical plant near that factory," AFP quoted Mubarak as saying in an interview with the 'Al-Ahram' government newspaper. "We know that this factory was for medicine," Mubarak said of al-Shifa. "But it is possible that it produced, as you say, material that goes into the production of chemical weapons," Mubarak said.

Several US officials told the 'New York Times' last week that Washington had no direct or convincing proof to link the al-Shifa to chemical weapons production or to bin Laden. Among others, former President Jimmy Carter have called for an independent inquiry into the US air strike and Washington's allegations.

More war victims arrive at ICRC hospital

The ICRC said in a statement that it was continuing to receive "dozens of patients" from south Sudan, many with gunshot wounds, every month at its hospital at Lokichokio in northern Kenya. Yesterday's statement said that since the beginning of the year, a total of 1,280 patients had been admitted at the 560-bed ICRC-administered hospital.

WFP expresses concern

Catherine Bertini, Executive Director of WFP, has expressed her agency's concern over the resurgence of fighting in southern Sudan, saying renewed conflict around Torit and Liria has put the lives of some 52,000 Sudanese living in the area at risk. Bertini said in a statement that since 20 September more than 800 people had fled to Juba because of fighting near their homes. WFP had just finished distributing 81 mt of food to Torit's 12,000 inhabitants when hostilities broke out.

Meanwhile, yesterday in Cairo the Arab League voiced concern over the situation in Sudan where the government has ordered a general mobilisation to fight what it says is a threat from Ugandan and Eritrean troops in the south of the country. "The Arab League is monitoring with deep concern the escalation in southern Sudan and the external threats targeting the unity and territorial integrity of Sudan," AFP quoted Arab League Assistant Secretary-General for Arab affairs Ahmed Ben Helli as telling reporters.

TANZANIA: Bombing suspects to be tried at home - police

Tanzanian police said on Tuesday they would try in Tanzania two suspects in the 7 August bombing of the US embassy in Dar es Salaam and had no plans to extradite them to the United States. Reuters reported Aden Mwamunyange, assistant commissioner of police, as saying the two suspects, Tanzanian Rashid Salehe Hemed and Egyptian Mustapha Mohamed Saidi, would be tried where the offence was committed.

UNITED NATIONS: Ogata reelected

The UN General Assembly yesterday reelected Sadako Ogata for another two years as UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The assembly acted by consensus, without a formal vote. Ogata, 71, a Japanese national, has held the post since January 1991, when she replaced Thorvald Stoltenberg on his appointment as Norway's foreign minister. She did not want another full five-year term and Secretary-General Kofi Annan nominated her for two years. The office of UNHCR, established in December 1950, will mark its 50th anniversary during Ogata's last year in office.

KENYA-ETHIOPIA: Ethiopia eyes Mombasa

Ethiopia has urged Kenya to improve the road linking the two countries, a Kenyan government newsletter reports. Ethiopian President Negasso Gidada told Kenya's outgoing ambassador that his government was "exploring possibilities of utilizing the services of the Port of Mombasa." The road from Isiolo in central Kenya to the border crossing of Moyale is currently unpaved and prone to insecurity. Ethiopia's dispute with Eritrea has blocked access to the Red Sea ports of Massawa and Assab. Ethiopia has provided investment for the Djibouti port, and has also provided signals of support for the Hargeisa authorities, who control the port of Berbera. The report, in the latest Kenyan 'Foreign Affairs Bulletin' also said that the two countries would also work to enhance cross-border security.

Nairobi, 30 September 1998 15:00 GMT


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Date: Wed, 30 Sep 1998 18:18:20 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 513 for 30 Sep 1998.9.30 Message-ID: <>

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar,