IRIN Update 515 for 2 Oct 1998.10.2

IRIN Update 515 for 2 Oct 1998.10.2

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. 515 Central and Eastern Africa (Friday 2 October 1998)

RWANDA: Akayesu given life

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) today (Friday) sentenced former Rwandan mayor Jean-Paul Akayesu to three life terms for genocide and crimes against humanity, plus 80 years for other violations, including rape. The conviction of Akayesu, 45, on nine counts on 2 September by the tribunal was the first-ever judgement handed down by an international court for the crime of genocide and the first time that rape had been included in international law as a constituent of genocide. Akayesu, who was not accused of personally taking part in any murders or rapes, was mayor of the central commune of Taba during the 1994 genocide.

Pope admits clergy role in genocide

Pope John Paul has told Rwandan bishops making their five-yearly 'ad limina' visit to Rome that they must try harder to reach reconciliation and should "take care of all the people, with no exceptions", according to a report from the Jesuit Refugee Service. "The ties that bind people to Christ are not always as strong as those that bind human communities," the Pope was quoted as saying. The bishops' visit was their first to Rome since the genocide of 1994. Meanwhile, the London-based Catholic newspaper 'The Tablet' reported that the Pope urged the bishops to recognise that church members including clergy had "committed infidelities to the Gospel which require an examination of conscience". Kigali's Archbishop Thaddee Nithinyurwa told the Pope that the peace and concord the Pontiff had prayed for during his pastoral visit to Rwanda in 1990 had been "badly compromised by the forces of evil". The archbishop noted that Rwanda was now burdened with a disproportionate number of widows, orphans and refugees. He said there was "a sort of malaise in relations between the Catholic Church and some public opinion in the country".

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Libya wants "inter-African force"

Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi has proposed sending an "inter-African military force to the DRC to replace Rwandan and Ugandan troops backing rebels seeking to topple President Laurent-Desire Kabila, news agencies reported. RFI said Gaddafi discussed his idea on Wednesday with the presidents of Chad, Eritrea and Niger in the Libyan capital Tripoli. He also sought Nigerian support for his intervention plan during discussions held on 7 September, RFI said. During Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni's visit to Tripoli on Tuesday, Gaddafi urged him to withdraw his troops from the DRC, RFI added. Rwanda denies having any soldiers in the DRC while Uganda says its DRC-based soldiers are not involved in the fighting. Libya is suspected of financing the deployment of Chadian and other foreign soldiers supporting Kabila against the rebels.

Meanwhile, Museveni and Kabila were among 11 African heads of states who received medals of honour from Gaddafi on Wednesday for having violated a UN embargo on air travel to Libya over the past three months, news organisations reported. The other medal recipients were the leaders of Niger, Chad, Eritrea, Sudan, Mali, Gambia, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso and Central African Republic.

Kabila labelled as "criminal"

The Ugandan State Minister for Finance Sam Kutesa told Uganda's 'New Vision' newspaper yesterday (Thursday) that Kabila was an international criminal for instigating genocide against ethnic Tutsis in the DRC. Kutesa cited hate propaganda, broadcast on state media since the start of the rebellion, that have urged Congolese to hunt down and kill Tutsis. The human rights group Article 19 last month called on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda to investigate Kabila for his reported incitement to genocide.

Meanwhile, a Rwandan minister told the International Press Service that Kabila had allied himself with "a cocktail of criminals" including Mayi-Mayi warriors, Rwandan Hutu Interahamwe militia, Burundian Hutu rebels, Ugandan rebels and Sudanese troops.

The Jesuit Refugee Service says the number of refugees arriving in the Kigoma border region is lower than expected because anti-Kabila rebels are attempting to prevent those suffering from the conflict in Congo from leaving the country. Between 100-200 per day are arriving in Tanzania. They are being sent to Nhyragusu camp, and to Lugufu camp, which is being re-opened. A JRS newsletter, sent to IRIN, also quoted a human rights organisation based in the country as saying at least 2,000 people were killed in the first six weeks of the renewed conflict and children as young as 11 were taking part in the fighting.

No government word on Punia

DRC's government spokesman, Minister of Information Didier Mumengi, told Reuters yesterday that he could not confirm a rebel claim to have captured the town of Punia. On Wednesday, an aide to rebel military commander Jean-Pierre Ondekane said the town of Punia, which is about 200 km north of Kindu and has a population of about 10,000 people, had fallen.

SUDAN: Aid flights resume in south

Aid flights resumed to southern Sudan today after the Khartoum government had refused clearance yesterday because of an "administrative glitch", an OLS official told IRIN. "All planes are flying today," Elizabeth Kramer said. Permission for flights on Thursday was denied due to a "misunderstanding" over clearance procedures, she added.

Mubarak criticised for pro-US stance

Sudan's ruling National Congress has criticised Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak for suggesting a pharmaceutical plant destroyed in a US missile strike could have produced agents for chemical weapons, AFP reported. Mubarak's statement was due to "American pressure on him," and could "adversely affect" Sudanese-Egyptian relations, the National Congress Secretary-General Ali Al-Hajj Mohammed told a local newspaper after a meeting yesterday of the decision-making body.

Charges added to bomb suspect

US federal prosecutors have added two charges against a Sudan-born associate of Osama Bin Laden, the Saudi Arabian millionaire accused of masterminding the bombings of US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. Mahmud Salim, arrested in Germany two week ago, was charged in an amended federal complaint with taking part in a conspiracy to attack US military sites abroad and a conspiracy to transport explosives, AFP reported from New York. He had earlier been charged with conspiracy to murder and use of a weapon of mass destruction.

UGANDA: Four rescued from downed plane

Rescue teams have found alive four passengers of a small plane that crashed in the Ruwenzori mountains of western Uganda, the 'New Vision' reported today. Among the survivors was Lieutenant Colonel Jet Mwebaze, a brother of Chief of Staff Brigadier James Kazini. The 'Monitor' newspaper said the pilot had died in the crash.

Nairobi, 2 October 1998 14:30 GMT


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Date: Fri, 2 Oct 1998 16:37:56 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 515 for 2 Oct 1998.10.2 Message-ID: <>

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

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