UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
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. 522 Central and Eastern Africa (Tuesday 13 October 1998)
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Rebels capture Kindu
Journalists who travelled to Kindu today (Tuesday) reported that the city and its airport were under rebel control. AFP quoted a senior DRC military official in Kinshasa as saying that government forces had "fallen back in good order" from Kindu. News agencies said armed rebel soldiers were patrolling Kindu's streets and that no fighting could be heard in the city. The eight-day battle for Kindu, the capital of Maniema province, had involved some 9,000 rebel soldiers and 5,000 government troops, Associated Press reported. Rebels said there were "many" casualties on both sides and that a number of Sudanese, Chadian and Angolan troops had been captured by the rebels, AP added.
News agencies reported that most of Kindu's civilian population had fled into surrounding forests. The pre-war population of Kindu was estimated to be 165,000. Regional analysts told IRIN the fall of Kindu was a major setback for President Laurent-Desire Kabila's army, which had set up its forward military headquarters in the city in mid-September. Reuters reported Congolese state radio as announcing that Kabila was scheduled to hold a meeting with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in Lubumbashi today.
More towns fall to rebels
Informed sources in contact with the towns of Kasango and Lusangi, southeast of Kindu, told IRIN today that both towns had also recently fallen to the rebels. The situation is calm, with no looting reported. Some of the local population fled into the forest, but there is no mass movement of people from the two towns.
"Young volunteers" sent to interior
Meanwhile, l'Agence congolaise de presse (ACP) said that Kabila on Saturday had sent off some 6,000 "young volunteers" from Kinshasa after their recruitment into the Congolese armed forces. The recruits were loaded onto boats destined for the interior of the country where they would receive military training, it said.
Severe fuel shortages in Kinshasa
Kinshasa has been suffering severe fuel shortages for nearly a week, DRC television reported yesterday. As a result, people had been forced to abandon public transport and private vehicles and walk to work. Black market prices for fuel have increased markedly. Information Minister Didier Mumengi blamed "saboteurs" for the fuel shortages and said the government was determined to "root them out". Anyone found speculating on fuel prices would be "ruthlessly" dealt with, he warned.
TANZANIA: DRC refugees top 10,000
Over 1,000 refugees from eastern DRC arrived in the Kigoma area of western Tanzania between 8-11 October, bringing their total number to 11,289 since early August, according to UNHCR. Most of the latest arrivals come from the Kalemie area of Katanga. The refugees reported that clashes were taking place between Mayi-Mayi warriors and DRC rebels in the Kalemie area and that rebel soldiers were harassing civilians, humanitarian sources said. In addition to Congolese refugees, some 3,000 Burundians have arrived in the Kigoma area since August.
BURUNDI: Sanctions off the agenda at Arusha
The sides taking part in the Arusha peace process are due to meet in plenary session today after debating the agenda yesterday. The independent Hirondelle news agency, citing Hashim Mbita - a spokesman for the Nyerere Foundation which is oganising the talks - said the issue of sanctions was not on the agenda. The Burundi authorities have been pressing for discussion on lifting the embargo.
CNDD/FDD refuses to be bound by Arusha accords
The rebel CNDD/FDD faction meanwhile reiterated it would not be bound by any agreements reached in Arusha, since it was not represented at the talks. In a statement, received by IRIN, CNDD/FDD's spokesman Jerome Ndiho again stressed that CNDD's "ex-president" Leonard Nyangoma did not represent the organisation. Ndiho said CNDD/FDD was prepared to take part in the peace process if invited.
RWANDA: Over 350 rebels killed in military sweep
The Rwandan army has killed 378 rebels in the course of a big military sweep in the northwest, the Rwanda News Agency reported today. It cited military sources in Ruhengeri who said the operations, launched this month, covered the Ruhengeri and Bushiru areas. Nineteen rebels were captured and 73 guns seized, the sources added. According to the army, the success of the operations is due to collaboration between the military and local residents. One captured rebel leader said he was part of an armed group responsible for the recent attack on Goma airport in eastern DRC.
Human rights groups react to release of genocide suspects
Human rights organisations in Rwanda have been reacting to the government's decision to free some 10,000 genocide suspects who have no case files. Anastase Murumba, the general secretary of IBUKA, the genocide survivors' organisation, told RNA he considered the measure as "temporary", until cases were brought against some of the suspects who could then be re-arrested and re-imprisoned if and when charged. The leader of the league of human rights associations CLADHO, Josu Kayijaho said if the prisoners truly had no charges against them, then they should be freed. However, Philibert Muzima, who heads another genocide survivors' organisation, ASRG MPORE, described the decision as a threat to the security of genocide survivors.
SUDAN: Government extends ceasefire
The Sudanese government has extended the ceasefire in Bahr al-Ghazal by three months for "humanitarian" purposes, AFP reported yesterday (Monday). The Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) on 8 October announced that it would extend the ceasefire by three months and that the extension would also apply to the western Upper Nile region, news agencies reported. The current ceasefire expires on 15 October. UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Sergio Vieira de Mello yesterday said the cease-fire extension would enable OLS to continue its relief efforts in famine-stricken Bahr al-Ghazal, but he noted that there was also a serious humanitarian situation in other areas of southern Sudan. "I will continue to work closely with our humanitarian partners and others for a further extension of the ceasefire both in temporal and geographic scope," de Mello said in a statement.
WFP barge along Sobat
A WFP barge convoy started delivering 1,244 mts of food to over 100,000 people in some 40 locations along the Sobat river in Upper Nile State. In a statement received by IRIN, WFP said the three-barge convoy left the port of Kosti in White Nile State on 1 October and was scheduled to arrive at Nyandit near the Ethiopian border at the end of October. The WFP relief convoy, the first to deliver food along the Sobat this year, had been planned for July but was delayed due to lack of barges and insecurity, the statement added. The convoy had delivered food aid to some 29,000 people in Upper Nile up to 12 October.
Reminder: OCHA meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, 10:00 am at OCHA offices opposite Gigiri compound, Nairobi.
Nairobi, 13 October 1998, 14:45 gmt
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Date: Tue, 13 Oct 1998 17:38:29 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 522 for 13 Oct 1998.10.13 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.91.981013173731.4436Vemail@example.com>
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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