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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. 535 Central and Eastern Africa (Friday 30 October 1998)
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Rebels control Buta - journalists
Journalists who travelled to Buta in Province Orientale have confirmed that the town is under rebel control. Kinshasa authorities had earlier claimed that government forces had retaken the town, located some 250 km north of Kisangani. Residents interviewed in Buta reported that the town had remained calm since its capture by Ugandan and Rwandan troops in early October, Reuters said. Conflicting reports continue to be received on the current security situation in the Kalemie area of Katanga province.
Meanwhile, the DRC has approved a deal between state-owned Gecamines and the South African firm Iscor Limited for a copper and cobalt mining venture in the Kamoto area of Katanga, Reuters reported yesterday (Thursday).
Diplomatic efforts pursued amid "spectre of genocide"
US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Susan Rice, in Angola as part of a regional tour on the DRC crisis, said yesterday the countries involved in the war had the "moral obligation" of preventing ethnic violence, AP reported. "The spectre of genocide is once again present" in the DRC, RFI quoted Rice as saying. Meanwhile, South African President Nelson Mandela yesterday travelled to Nigeria, where he was scheduled to discuss the DRC crisis with General Abdulsalami Abubakar and other west African leaders gathered for a summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) summit in the capital Abuja, news agencies said.
UN report finds "ethnic cleansing"
Government and rebel forces have committed serious human rights violations since the start of conflict, including summary executions, arbitrary detentions and sexual violence, a UN human rights investigator has found.
In his latest report released yesterday, the UN special rapporteur on the human rights situation in the DRC, Roberto Garreton, said the government of President Laurent-Desire Kabila had adopted an "ethnic-cleansing approach" to combating the rebellion. He said Tutsies or people thought to be Tutsi were summarily executed by government forces.
"Many were thrown into the Congo and Ndjili Rivers and killed. Others were burned alive," Garreton said in his report. Garreton charged government forces with recruiting children, while the rebels were also accused of deportation and torture of civilians.
Rebels allow NGO communication
Rebel military authorities in Bukavu announced yesterday that NGOs now had permission to use their communication equipment in North and South Kivu, humanitarian sources told IRIN today (Friday). The use of international telephone lines was also allowed, but only for "humanitarian purposes", the sources said. An NGO based in Goma reported that its confiscated communication equipment had recently been handed back by the rebels.
Meanwhile, an ICRC spokesperson told IRIN today that ICRC had reopened its offices in Goma, Bukavu and Uvira. ICRC is planning to assist mainly internally-displaced persons and local populations whose homes were destroyed by conflict, she said, adding that local health structures would also be supported.
DRC-CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: WFP stocks almost depleted
Food distributions to some 150,000 vulnerable people in Brazzaville and Kinshasa may soon be halted because of the continued suspension of rail traffic between Pointe-Noire and Brazzaville, WFP said. In a press release received today by IRIN, WFP said the closing last month of the railway line due to insecurity south of Brazzaville has prevented the transport of food aid from Pointe-Noire. WFP had been using that southern port city to receive food supplies destined for both the DRC and Congo-Brazzaville. WFP food stocks in the two capitals are now almost exhausted, the statement added.
WFP food distributions currently target some 120,000 conflict-affected vulnerable people in Kinshasa, about 10,000 Rwandan and Burundian refugees in Congo-Brazzaville and more than 21,000 vulnerable people in Brazzaville itself, the statement said.
BURUNDI: Village attack condemned
The UN special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Burundi, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, yesterday condemned the attack south of Bujumbura that killed at least 34 non-armed civilians and wounded 25 others. The attack by a group of armed men took place at Nyamaboko during the night of 27-28 October. AFP yesterday quoted local authorities as saying the assailants were Hutu rebels. A team from the UN Human Rights Field Operation in Burundi travelled to the massacre site yesterday to investigate the incident. In a statement received by IRIN today, Pinheiro urged all warring parties in Burundi to respect basic humanitarian and human rights standards.
RWANDA: Priest gets death sentence
A Catholic priest accused of genocide and crimes against humanity has been sentenced to death by a court in Gitarama, Rwandan radio, monitored by the BBC, said yesterday. The priest, Dominique Savio Rwesero, was implicated in the killing of other priests at Kabwayi in 1994. Rwesero intends to file an appeal, the radio said.
Meanwhile, the joint trial of two genocide suspects, ex-prefect Clement Kayishema and businessman Obed Ruzindana, is nearing completion at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania, the ICTR said in a statement received by IRIN today. The prosecution team concluded its closing argument on Tuesday and the defense summation began the following day, the statement said.
SUDAN: Impact of insecurity detailed
Restricted access, insecurity and lack of resources impeded OLS efforts to respond to Sudan's most serious humanitarian crisis in a decade, according to the UN Secretary-General's annual report to the General Assembly on emergency assistance to the Sudan. The report, received by IRIN today, said between August 1997 and June 1998, over 200 relief personnel were evacuated from 37 locations in Sudan and indiscriminate bombing by the government in civilian areas was reported on 31 separate occasions.
Meanwhile, NGOs working in rebel-held areas had faced new restrictions on their operations during the same period, the report said.
The report noted that in spite of a two-month total flight ban, the number of OLS flight destinations denied each month by the Government had fallen from an average of 17 locations to seven. During the year, OLS agencies had delivered over 54,000 mt of food and over 4,500 tons of mainly non-food relief items for affected populations, the report said.
KENYA: Bandits kill at least 139
Local authorities in the northeast district of Wajir said 139 people were confirmed dead following raids by bandits earlier this week, the 'Daily Nation' reported today. The newspaper said about 500 bandits had crossed from Ethiopia on Sunday and had plundered several villages along the border. Unconfirmed reports indicate the death toll from the raids could be much higher, the 'Daily Nation said. Fifty-two villagers, mostly girls, were kidnapped in the area, it added.
Nairobi, 30 October 1998 14:30 GMT
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Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 17:43:50 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <email@example.com> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 536 for 30 Oct 1998.10.30 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.91.981030174253.918Afirstname.lastname@example.org>
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