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IRIN Update No. 541 for Central and Eastern Africa (Monday 9 November 1998)
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Rwanda's admission "positive", government says
The DRC government has welcomed Rwanda's admission of involvement in the conflict, saying that "although rather late", it is a positive move. In a statement broadcast by DRC television on Saturday, the government said Rwanda's "about-face" now paved the way for a negotiated solution to the conflict. However, Rwanda's admission alone was not enough, the statement added. Negotiations could not take place until Rwandan and Ugandan troops were withdrawn from DRC territory.
Kabila must negotiate - Wamba
Meanwhile, the leader of the rebel Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD) Professor Ernest Wamba dia Wamba said the rebels would continue fighting until President Laurent-Desire Kabila came to the negotiating table. In an interview carried by the Ugandan 'New Vision' on Saturday, he said Kabila should not be allowed a military victory which would simply "entrench the dictatorship".
Angolan reinforcements reported
Angola is reportedly deploying more troops to DRC, AFP said, citing private aviation sources. One source claimed there was a "massive" Angolan presence in Kananga, capital of Kasai Occidental province, saying motorised columns and planes were arriving in the city.
Bukavu authorities warn of military action against Mayi-Mayi
In rebel-held Bukavu, in South Kivu, the authorities warned of military intervention in troublespots around the town where groups of Mayi-Mayi and Interahamwe militia are hiding out. A provincial security council meeting on Friday noted continuing insecurity in parts of Mwenga, Walungu, Kalehe and Kabare, Bukavu radio reported.
Gecamines signs deal with Zimbabwean company
DRC's state-owned mining company Gecamines recently signed a cooperation accord with the Ridgepointe Central Mining Group of Zimbabwe, Congolese television reported. Under the agreement, the two companies will exploit cobalt, copper and other minerals. The television said Ridgepointe's expertise would "revive Gecamines production activities". DRC Mines Minister Frederic Kibassa Maliba said the state would greatly benefit from the cooperation.
The manager of Ridgepointe was named by the DRC authorities as head of a "recovery committee" for Gecamines, AFP reported on Friday. Billy Rautenbach, a Zimbabwean industrialist, will be responsible for technical and financial services in a bid to reactivate Gecamines. According to the 'Indian Ocean newsletter', the Gecamines managing director was sacked after earlier revealing that a contract had been signed with Ridgepointe.
Meanwhile, DRC and Zimbabwe last week signed a cooperation agreement, news agencies reported. The agreement, which focuses on the scientific, technical and economic fields, was signed in the presence of Kabila and his Zimbabwean counterpart President Robert Mugabe in Lubumbashi.
BURUNDI: Minister hails UN call to lift sanctions
Foreign Minister Severin Ntahomvukiye has welcomed a call by the UN Security Council on Friday to lift sanctions against Burundi. Speaking over Burundi radio yesterday (Sunday), he said his government was happy to note the international community was finally realising the "disastrous effect" of the embargo on Burundians and on the peace process.
ERITREA-ETHIOPIA: Peace talks end inconclusively
A weekend of OAU-sponsored peace talks in Burkina Faso failed to produce a solution to the Eritrea-Ethiopia border row, news organisations reported. A brief statement issued after the talks said a range of proposals were handed to the leaders of the two countries, but gave no further details.
Qatar to mediate peace talks between Sudan, Eritrea
Meanwhile, the foreign ministers of Sudan and Eritrea arrived in Doha today (Monday) for peace talks to be mediated by Qatar. Eritrean radio on Friday quoted President Isaias Afewerki - recently returned from a trip to Yemen after the Hanish island dispute was resolved - who said problems with Sudan should also be resolved peacefully. Sudan accuses Eritrea of aiding Sudanese opposition groups.
SUDAN: Inaugural flight to Bangui
Sudan Airways on Saturday began a regular flight service to Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic. Sudanese radio cited Aviation Minister Hamid Muhammad Ali Turayn as saying the air link would strengthen economic, trade and political ties between the two countries.
DRC returnees reach 26,000
The number of Sudanese who have returned to the Yambio area of western Equatoria from northeast DRC has reached 26,000, according to World Vision. In a statement received by IRIN, World Vision said the provision of humanitarian assistance to the returnees has been hampered by recent insecurity in the area. Non-essential OLS workers were evacuated from western Equatoria last week.
World Vision said "unruly soldiers" remained in the region but seemed to be dispersing. Meanwhile, WFP said it has distributed about 140 mt of food aid to recent Sudanese returnees in Yambio and Maridi. Additional food supplies are being transported to the area by World Vision and WFP.
LRA rebels cross into Uganda
About 300 rebels from the Lord's Resistance Army crossed into northern Uganda from bases in south Sudan, a Ugandan official said today. According to AFP, Minister of State for Defence Stephen Kavuma said they crossed on Friday night through Lokuny sub-county in Kitgum district and split into smaller groups which are heading towards Kitgum town. "We will deal with them," he added.
UGANDA: Plague reported in Arua
The ministry of health is investigating reports of plague in the Arua area of northern Uganda, WHO said in a statement received by IRIN today. Since April, 49 cases have been reported, it said. WHO is awaiting confirmation of the number of deaths. The last recorded incident of human plague in Uganda was in 1993 when 167 cases and 18 deaths were reported, the WHO statement said.
CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: Militia attack in Mouyondzi
Thirteen people were killed when an armed gang attacked a police checkpoint in the Mouyondzi area of southern Congo last week, the Pan-African news agency PANA reported on Friday. The people killed include three policemen and ten attackers who are suspected to be Cocoye militia allied to former president Pascal Lissouba, PANA said.
Meanwhile, humanitarian sources said regular train traffic between Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire, suspended in late September due to insecurity, had not yet resumed, although one train was able to reach Brazzaville from Pointe-Noire last week.
Nairobi, 9 November 1998, 14:20 gmt
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Date: Mon, 9 Nov 1998 17:16:06 +0300 (GMT+0300) From:
IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 541
for 9 Nov 1998.11.9 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.91.981109171452.24798Aemail@example.com
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