IRIN Update 549 for 19 Nov 1998

IRIN Update 549 for 19 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. 549 for Central and Eastern Africa (Thursday 19 November 1998)

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Kabila ready for talks with Rwanda, Uganda

President Laurent-Desire Kabila has said he is prepared to talk to Uganda and Rwanda to discuss their "withdrawal" from the DRC. In comments broadcast by Angolan radio during his visit to Luanda yesterday (Wednesday), Kabila again accused the two countries of "aggression". "We have to hold talks with them and get them to explain why and what they are doing in the DRC," he said. "They may allege security problems, but what we see is that they are looting our country...could it be they are in our country for economic reasons?" Kabila added it was now up to Uganda and Rwanda to "decide when they want to sit at the negotiating table". "As things stand, our country is unable to develop," he said. "We think they must come, talk, and leave our country."

Cabinet reshuffle "imminent"

The DRC authorities are planning an "imminent" cabinet reshuffle to reduce government expenses and concentrate on the war effort, the Belgian daily 'Le Soir' reported from Kinshasa yesterday. It said the changes were expected to take place before the end of the week, and would involve the abolition of a number of ministerial posts. Four special envoys will reportedly travel to European capitals to explain Kinshasa's position, according to 'Le Soir'. It underlined the "fragility" of the government after last week's dismissal of Health Minister Jean-Baptiste Sondji and the defection to the rebels of former foreign minister Bizima Karaha.

Karaha denies rebel split

Karaha, now in charge of foreign affairs for the Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD), has denied a split in rebel ranks. Interviewed by the 'New Vision' in Kampala yesterday, he stressed the movement was "united and open". He claimed another rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba, whose Mouvement de liberation congolais (MLC) is active in Equateur province, had expressed a wish to join the RCD. "There are many political organisations in our movement," Karaha explained.

Rebel news agency launched

Meanwhile, the RCD has launched a news service, the Congolese News Agency (CNA). Bukavu radio said yesterday the head of the communications department, Professor Etienne Ngangura, visited Kigali recently where agreement was reached to disseminate CNA news via the Rwanda News Agency (RNA). Back in Goma, Ngangura stated no journalist would be arrested while carrying out his or her duties "even if their opinion was erroneous", the radio reported.

Displaced families relocated to Ruzizi plain

In Uvira, 71 Banyamulenge families - about 332 people - displaced from Vyura have been moved to the Ruzizi plain where they are currently being housed by local people for the time being. Groupe Milima, a local NGO, told IRIN today they were being assisted by local organisations, but they needed seeds and tools for the planting season.

96 cholera deaths in Shabunda last month

An international NGO in contact with health officials in Shabunda says during October, 448 cases of cholera were reported in the local cholera treatment centre. Of these there were 96 deaths, the NGO told IRIN. About 225 other cases, including 111 deaths, were reported in various health centres throughout the Shabunda health zone. The areas most affected by cholera are reportedly villages in the south of the health zone as well as Shabunda itself. Health officials also reported 75 cases of bacillary dysentery. The local hospital was extensively damaged by bombardments on 10 September during fighting to take the town, and its pharmacy has been "seriously looted", the NGO added. NGOs operating in South Kivu have provided limited assistance to the Shabunda area where difficult access is hampering humanitarian efforts.

UGANDA: LRA issues manifesto

The rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has issued a manifesto setting out its aims, the 'Monitor' newspaper reported yesterday. Labelling President Yoweri Museveni "a typical notorious third world dictator", the manifesto states the LRA's objective is to "stop the oppression of our people, especially the torture and marginalisation of some tribes in Uganda". The LRA's secretary for political affairs, David Nyekorach Matsanga, told the 'Monitor' his movement was in a position to match Museveni's "propaganda machine". "He used to say we are just fighting," Matsanga said. "Now we have a political direction". He added the LRA no longer abducted people. "The people of northern Uganda are our allies," he stated.

SUDAN: Low mortality rates in Wau, UNICEF says

UNICEF's Wau sub-office, in Bahr al-Ghazal, reported encouragingly low mortality rates last month, the agency said in a report. In the first half of the month, 135 deaths were recorded, and 154 in the latter half. This compares with the height of the crisis in July/August when over 50 people were dying daily, UNICEF said. It added six feeding centres had closed in the town after NGOs noted that attendance was far below the capacity of the centres. Meanwhile, in Juba a serious outbreak of gastro-enteritis last month led to 21 deaths. A total of 451 cases were reported.

Over 100,000 displaced by floods

A multi-agency assessment mission to Sudan has developed a proposed emergency programme to help the country recover from the impact of this year's floods with a preliminary cost estimate of US $230 million. The proposed recovery programme, outlined in a document received by IRIN, was prepared earlier this month in Khartoum by UN agencies, the government, the World Bank, the IMF and regional development banks following a two-week assessment mission. The August/September floods, which touched 18 of Sudan's 26 states, affected about one million people of whom well over 100,000 were displaced, the report states. [For further information, refer to special IRIN item on Sudan floods, dated 18 November 1998]

TANZANIA: Over 350,000 need food aid up to March, FAO says

A total of 373,800 people will require food aid between October and March next year in Tanzania, particularly the central regions of Singida and Dodoma, the FAO told IRIN today. Prime Minister Frederick Sumaye last week urged Tanzanians not to be "wasteful" as existing reserves were low. The FAO said that as of 30 September, a total of 301,206 mt of major cereals were stocked by various big traders.

Nairobi, 19 November 1998, 14:40 gmt


Date: Thu, 19 Nov 1998 17:38:43 +0300 (EAT) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 549 for 19 Nov 1998.11.19 Message-ID: <>

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

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