IRIN Update 516 for 5 Oct 1998

IRIN Update 516 for 5 Oct 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

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IRIN Update No. 516 Central and Eastern Africa (Monday 5 October 1998)


Rebels of the Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD) claimed today (Monday) to have captured Kindu's airport and to be fighting government soldiers for control of the city itself, news agencies reported. A government spokesman acknowledged today that the rebels had launched an attack on Kindu, but said the attack had been repulsed, AFP reported. There was no independent information available on the situation in Kindu.

The fall of Kindu, the government's forward military headquarters located in the eastern Maniema province, would be an important blow to Kabila, analysts said. "The government has been telling everyone that a major counter-offensive would be launched from Kindu. If Kindu then crumbles like a house of cards, it would be a disaster for the government militarily and dramatic in psychological terms for the population," one Kinshasa-based analyst told IRIN today.

Earlier, the RCD said they had captured the towns of Kalima (about 80 km northeast of Kindu), Ubundu (120 km southeast of Kisangani) and Bumba (about 400 km northwest of Kisangani) as well as the town of Buta in Province Orientale over the weekend.

Museveni "welcomes" Libyan plan

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said he "welcomed" the proposal made by Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi last week to replace Ugandan troops in the DRC with a joint African intervention force, the Libyan news agency JANA reported. Gaddafi announced the proposal following his discussions last week with the presidents of Chad, Niger and Eritrea. Meanwhile, Radio France Internationale today quoted a DRC government spokesman as saying that Kinshasa was "favourable" towards Gaddafi's plan.

UGANDA/SUDAN: Kampala condemns bombing of northern town

Kampala yesterday (Sunday) condemned the alleged bombing by a Sudanese aircraft of a trading centre in northern Uganda. A defence ministry statement said a Sudanese Antonov aircraft dropped six bombs on the village in Adjumani district on Saturday, injuring four women and two children. A WFP offical told Reuters that two bombs fell near the agency's compound. Kampala accused Khartoum of bombing the town of Bukaka, near the border with the DRC, on 25 September.

Khartoum complains to UN Security Council

Sudan has lodged an official complaint with the UN Security Council accusing Uganda and Eritrea of sending troops to support southern rebels, AFP quoted the official news agency SUNA as reporting. Khartoum has asked the council to meet "its responsibilities with regard to this aggression," a senior foreign ministry official told SUNA.

Uganda moves army HQ to border

Kampala has denied its troops are backing the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA). However, Uganda has moved the headquarters of its northern command to the Sudan border. The move by the army's Fourth Division was reportedly an attempt to seal the frontier. The relocation occurred three weeks ago, according to the official 'New Vision' newspaper.

Nine civilians killed in rebel attack

Nine civilians were killed and 10 injured when rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) attacked a village in western Uganda last week, press reports said. The 'New Vision' on Friday said government troops retaliated following the attack in Kaberere. An ADF spokesman, quoted by the independent 'Monitor' newspaper, claimed 31 government soldiers were killed in the clashes.

RWANDA: Six killed in rebel attack

Military officials in the northwest town of Gisenyi say six people were killed when armed rebels launched an attack in Kanama, the Rwanda News Agency reported. Six more people were wounded in Friday's attack, carried out by some 30 militiamen wearing military uniforms. The army intervened and carried out search operations for the rebels, who scattered in different directions. Military officials said the Interahamwe, who had been cut off from their rear bases in DRC, were responsible for the attack.

WFP distributing urgent food supplies

WFP last week distributed urgently-needed food supplies to thousands of Rwandans pouring back into Kanama commune. In a news release issued on Friday, WFP said it began the distribution of 120 mt of food, under military escort, on Tuesday. Nearly all the commune's 80,000 inhabitants were forced to flee into villages and the nearby Gishwati forest a year ago following rebel attacks. They are now streaming back after hearing the security situation had stabilised, although continuing sporadic attacks mean that many of the returnees prefer to group together near administrative buildings. WFP says this means that thousands of people are still displaced from their homes and unable to cultivate their land.

New Rwandan exiles' organisation

Exiled former Rwandan officials have set up an organisation called the African Democratic Congress, according to the BBC Kinyarwanda service. Its members include a former defence minister of the previous regime James Gasana, former prime minister Dismas Nsengiyaremye and former information minister Jean-Baptiste Nkuriyingoma who is also the organisation's spokesman. He told the BBC the group's members are opposed to tribalism. They want talks with the Rwandan government in a bid to restore peace, he said.

BURUNDI: Four killed in southern Bujumbura

Armed bandits killed four people in Musuga, a southern district of Bujumbura, last night, AFP reported. Citing local administrative sources, the news agency said an armed gang entered the home of a local chief before heading to another nearby house where they killed four family members and stole their belongings.

CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: Violence impacts humanitarian operations

A UNICEF-supported national nutrition survey underway in Congo-Brazzaville has been suspended due to increasing security concerns in the country. UNICEF representative Eric Laroche told IRIN that six government employees who were working on the nutrition survey in the Pool region have been missing since attacks in the area on 26 September. News organisations reported that at least 10 people were killed in the attacks on Goma Tse-Tse and Kibossi, located 20-30 km south of Brazzaville. The identities of the victims were still being determined. The missing survey workers include doctors, epidemiologists, researchers and traditional birth attendants. "There are signs that the nutritional status of children is deteriorating in the country, but our ability to help is being hindered by insecurity," Laroche said.

News agencies reported that 10 people have been arrested in connection with the Pool attacks. Exiled former prime minister Bernard Kolelas told RFI that the attacks were carried out by his Ninja militia in retaliation for what he said were recent summary executions committed by security forces in nearby Mindouli. Rail traffic between Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire has been suspended as a result of the violence. Congo-Brazzaville will mark the first anniversary of the end of the 1997 civil war next week.

Nairobi, 5 October 1998, 14:30 gmt


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Date: Mon, 5 Oct 1998 17:29:14 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 516 for 5 Oct 1998.10.5 Message-ID: <>

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

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