IRIN Update 546 for 16 Nov 1998

IRIN Update 546 for 16 Nov 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. 546 for Central and Eastern Africa (Monday 16 November 1998)

SUDAN: Two killed as Yei hospital "extensively damaged" by bombing

Two people were killed by an aerial bombing of Yei hospital, southern Sudan, on Saturday, an NGO told IRIN today (Monday). Norwegian People's Aid official Dan Eiffe said that about six bombs fell during the attack, which left one child dead inside the hospital and one adult killed outside. Eleven people were seriously injured, Eiffe said. The attack damaged the roof and windows of the hospital and destroyed a recent consignment of drugs. Eiffe said the attack, the "fourth or fifth this year", made him and his colleagues feel "hopeless". Yei, in Western Equatoria, is held by rebels of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and is one of their main headquarters, observers say. Southern Sudan map:

Sudanese humanitarian organisation targeted in Nairobi raids

The offices of the SPLA-affiliated Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Association (SRRA) in Kenya have been targeted in a raid by unknown youths, Nairobi-based journalists told IRIN. SPLA officials told the BBC that a man was killed in another attack, on a house used by SPLA leader John Garang in Nairobi on Sunday. The incidents may be linked to friction between maverick rebel commander Kerubino Kwanyin Bol and Garang, media reports say. Kerubino last week told journalists he was being "harrassed" by the SPLA with whom he has been allied for most of this year. Kerubino, whose forces are active in famine-hit Bahr al Ghazal "isn't trusted by either side", a humanitarian source said.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: 13 government soldiers executed

The DRC armed forces announced on Saturday that 13 officers and soldiers were executed for "treason". A statement, read out over DRC television and monitored by the BBC, said the country needed a "tough and disciplined" army. The 13 were accused of "murdering our valiant officers, fleeing before the enemy, abandoning troops and leaving their support weapons for the enemy along the Kabalo-Muzu-Kalemie road". Their execution was intended to serve as an example to others who tried to do the same, the statement said. "Henceforth, there will be no place for laxity in our army," it said.

Bar association seeking reinstatement of sacked magistrates

The DRC's bar association is seeking the reinstatement of 315 magistrates laid off by President Laurent-Desire Kabila, the IPS news agency reported. Their dismissal was announced earlier this month in a decree which accused them of "dubious morals, corruption and dereliction of duty". Tumba Katshinga, president of the bar association and one of the 315, said certain ethnic groups had been targeted by the decree "particularly people from Kasai and Equateur".

Health minister sacked

The DRC authorities on Friday sacked Health Minister Jean-Baptiste Sondji, the Agence congolaise de presse reported. A presidential decree said the minister's dismissal was prompted by "his public statements disassociating himself from the government's actions". Sondji, who is reportedly under arrest, had been openly critical about the constitutional reform process, news agencies in Kinshasa reported. Sondji, a medical doctor and opposition leader during the regime of Mobutu Sese Seko, entered the DRC government as health minister in July 1997. Reuters quoted a European diplomat as saying "Sondji was seen as the most credible member of the government and his apparent arrest has stunned all of us here".

Rwanda denies joint military command with Uganda

The Rwandan government has dismissed as "pure lies" reports of a joint command with Uganda to coordinate their troops in eastern DRC, the independent Ugandan 'Monitor' newspaper reported yesterday (Sunday). It cited Rwandan military spokesman Emmanuel Ndahiro who said the first he heard about it was in some newspaper reports. Rwandan troops had gone to DRC, he said, after the government received "adequate information that warranted our deployment". Although it has admitted its presence in DRC, Rwanda has not given any figures.

Hutu fighters "flocking" to DRC

The Rwanda News Agency (RNA) said the DRC war had taken on a "new dimension" with Interahamwe and ex-FAR soldiers "flocking" into DRC to fight for Kabila. Many of them were living in camps in various central African countries, mostly CAR, Congo-Brazzaville, Sudan and Gabon, it said. Citing rebel officials, RNA claimed some of the major names in the 1994 genocide were now siding with Kabila. The list included former police intelligence chief Lieutenant Colonel Aloys Ntiwiragabo, former presidential guard commander Major Protais Mpiranya and another leading ex-FAR official Major Evariste Nyampame. The Belgian daily 'De Standaard' said the DRC government had supplied three boats to collect the Interahamwe/ex-FAR arrivals.

About 850 Rwandans crossed the Oubangui river from the CAR capital Bangui to DRC last Wednesday, UNHCR reported in a press briefing. UNHCR stressed it was not involved in the departure of the Rwandans who were previously accommodated in Bouca camp, some 300 km north of Bangui. It said the boat was operated by CAR officials. Last week the Rwandans at Bouca camp had threatened relief workers with violence if they were not allowed to leave the country, and were consequently transferred to Bangui by the local authorities.

In a statement, reported by DRC television, the foreign ministry denied Rwandan Hutus were joining the Congolese armed forces. And in a commentary broadcast on Friday, DRC television said the Congolese people "cannot expect justice" from the UN and the OAU. The former "speaks only when the United States asks it to do so" and the latter "is so embarrassed, it does not know for whom it works", the commentary said.

Kabila facing two rebel groups - 'New Vision'

The semi-official Ugandan 'New Vision' yesterday said Kabila faced two rebel movements, with the formation of the Mouvement de liberation congolais (MLC) in Equateur province. It described the group, led by Jean-Pierre Bemba, as a "powerful new faction" which claimed to have captured the towns of Aketi and Dulia. The Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD) has distanced itself from the group. Spokesman Bizima Karaha told the 'New Vision', "As far as we are concerned there is only one liberation movement in Congo, the RCD."

New Rwandan Airlines flight to eastern DRC

Rwandan Airlines has inaugurated a new flight from Kigali to rebel-held Goma and on to Kindu, Rwandan radio reported yesterday. The ceremony at Goma airport was attended by officials from Rwanda and the RCD.

CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: 40, including six clergymen, killed in clashes

At least 40 people were killed in the Pool region on Saturday during clashes between Ninja militiamen and soldiers, Radio France Internationale reported today. The Ninjas, allied to former prime minister Bernard Kolelas, reportedly burst into a church meeting in Mindouli, some 150 km west of Brazzaville, and killed "in cold blood" six clergymen who were members of a mediation committee, as well as local officials. The mediation committee was set up to try and find a solution to the violent situation in the Pool region. About 20 more people were killed when the Congolese army tried to repulse the attackers, news agencies said. Kolelas' party rejected the accusations in a statement received by IRIN, saying seven "Ninjas" were among the dead.

The human rights organisation 'Observatoire Congolais des Droits de l'Homme' (OCDH) said in its latest report that Congo-Brazzaville was "not yet out of the cycle of violence" as "arms held by bandits and fanatic members of political parties" had led to chronic insecurity. OCDH denounced summary executions, arbitrary arrests and detentions. It expressed grave concern over the situation in the Pool region and called on the international community to assist the local people, some of whom had fled into nearby forests to escape the insecurity.

BURUNDI: Official massacre toll increases to 56

A Burundian official has put the number of dead at 56 following a military operation earlier this month near the capital Bujumbura. Reuters quoted the governor of Bujumbura Rural province, Stanislas Ntahobaru, who said the number was higher than the previous government figure of about 30. The government last week admitted its troops had killed civilians while pursuing rebels in Mutambu commune.

A government statement, received by IRIN today, said a commission has been established to investigate the incident, comprising representatives of the first vice-president's office and the ministries of justice, defence and human rights. Initial findings have led to the arrest of three officers. "The government is determined to punish all the culprits in accordance with the law," the statement said.

RWANDA: Suspect pleads not guilty to ex-premier's murder

An ex-FAR officer who "surrendered" to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) earlier this year has pleaded not guilty to charges of murdering former prime minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana, the independent Hirondelle news agency reported. Bernard Ntuyahaga, who appeared before the tribunal on Friday, arrived in Arusha in June requesting protection as a witness. He was later arrested as a suspect in the murder of the former premier and 10 Belgian UN peacekeepers.

UGANDA: Northern schools closed due to insecurity

Schools in six sub-counties of the northern Kitgum district have been closed due to rebel incursions in the area, Ugandan radio reported on Friday. The chairman of Kitgum district council, John Bosco Oryem, said the rebels were targeting schools and he called for vigilance.

Nairobi, 16 November 1998, 15:05 gmt


Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1998 18:23:46 -0300 (GMT+3) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 546 for 16 Nov 1998.11.16 Message-ID: <>

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

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