IRIN Update 556 for 30 Nov 1998

IRIN Update 556 for 30 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. 556 for Central and Eastern Africa (Monday 30 November 1998)

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Rebels sceptical over ceasefire agreement

Anti-Kinshasa rebels have reacted with scepticism to a ceasefire agreement reached in principle in Paris on Saturday among countries involved in the DRC conflict. Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD) political leader Ernest Wamba dia Wamba told news agencies yesterday (Sunday) that the rebels' exclusion from the peace talks jeapordised implementation of the truce. He did not dismiss the deal out of hand, but said his forces would go on fighting until the agreement was clarified. He said the RCD's central demand remained face-to-face talks with the Kinshasa government. Meanwhile, as a result of the Paris meeting, Rwandan troops in Nyunzu, southeastern DRC, have received an order to "halt their advance", a Rwandan officer told AFP today (Monday).

Agreement hailed as a triumph

French President Jacques Chirac and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Saturday hailed the tentative ceasefire agreement as a breakthrough. The deal was clinched at a meeting of leaders of Burkina Faso, Chad, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and DRC, PANA reported. The agreement centres on the withdrawal of foreign troops and the dispatch of a peacekeeping force primarily to guarantee the western borders of Rwanda and Uganda, the 'Financial Times' said. The ceasefire is due to be initialed on 8 December in Lusaka, Zambia, and then signed at a special session of the OAU in Burkina Faso on 17-18 December.

Museveni wants security guarantees

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said at a news conference on Saturday that Kampala would withdraw its troops as soon as arrangements were in place to cater for Uganda's security concerns, state radio reported. DRC President Laurent-Desire Kabila announced at the end of the Franco-African summit that Ugandan and Rwandan soldiers must leave, and "our task is to make them leave, unconditionally," AFP reported. He described Museveni as a "hypocrite" and Rwandans as "traditionally bloodthirsty." Kabila returned to Kinshasa today after stopping off in Libya yesterday for talks with the country's leader Muammar Gaddafi on the Congo conflict.

Mugabe cautious over ceasefire deal

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said allied forces backing the Kinshasa government were prepared to pull out to make way for a UN and OAU peacekeeping force, the South African news agency SAPA reported. He however suggested the OAU December meeting could be premature, not giving enough time for ceasefire details to be ironed out.

Mark Malan of the South African Institute of Security Studies told IRIN the idea of a credible peacekeeping force for DRC was "ambitious" and would require both significant political will and financial resources. He said effective monitoring of the DRC's eastern border would necessitate aerial surveillance, an area in which South Africa could participate. He stressed the details of the mandate under which a peacekeeping or monitoring force would operate could be problematic, and "I don't think anything will happen in the near future."

UGANDA: UN issues humanitarian aid appeal

The UN on Friday launched an emergency appeal for US $70.3 million to provide humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable populations in Uganda in 1999. A press release, issued by OCHA and received by IRIN, said that fighting between rebel movements and the government in the northern and western parts of Uganda had led to the disruption of essential social services and economic livelihoods, as well as significant population movements. The statement said that people in conflict-affected communities, as well as 400,000 displaced persons and 182,000 refugees from neighbouring countries were currently in need of assistance.

The UN 1999 Consolidated Appeal aims at increasing food security and ensuring the availability of basic heath, water and psycho-social services to affected populations in the country, it said. (The appeal document is available on

Army clashes with LRA in Kigum, Gulu

The Ugandan army killed 13 Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels in two separate battles on Saturday, the semi-official 'New Vision' reported. The newspaper quoted security sources as saying that seven rebels were killed in the Lamwaka Hills area of Kitgum close to the Sudan border. The second contact occurred in Gulu and one government soldier died in the clash before the rebels fled into Sudan.

In the renewed violence in the north, seven people were killed and six abducted on Friday in an LRA ambush on a convoy on the Karuma-Pakwach road, the 'New Vision' wrote. An army detachment along the road was simultaneously attacked. The army has reintroduced military escorts for vehicles travelling in the northwest.

SUDAN: Pro-government battalion defects to rebels

A battalion of the pro-government Southern Sudan Defence Force (SSDF) has defected to the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), the German press agency DPA said on Saturday, citing the 'Alwan' daily newspaper. The battalion, stationed in Upper Nile State, defected because of the delay in the implementation of the Khartoum peace accord signed by rebel SSDF factions and the government last year, DPA said. This was the third defection of southern factions since the signing of the Khartoum agreement, DPA said, adding that mistrust between the government and rebel signatories had increased with the disarmament by the authorities earlier this month of southern faction members resident in Khartoum.

Meanwhile, the Paris-based 'Indian Ocean Newsletter' said on Saturday that some 300 SPLA soldiers had been sent to the northeast part of the DRC to help control the border with the Sudan [See IRIN-CEA Update 548]. It added that 800 Ugandan soldiers who had been assisting the SPLA in its offensive in southern Sudan had also been re-deployed to the DRC as part of the military coalition against Kabila.

CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: Government appeals for flood assistance

The Congolese government appealed at the weekend for urgent international assistance for more than 20,000 people left homeless by flooding in the north of the country. Rains have pounded the Likouala region bordering the Central African Republic for more than a month, AP reported. About 80,000 people are believed to live in the remote region. The government estimates the damage at more than US $500,000.

Meanwhile, state radio monitored by the BBC reported on Thursday that an arms cache was discovered in the Makelekele district of Brazzaville. The radio said the weapons were found buried in a house belonging to Daniel Mawoulouba, a brother of opposition leader Bernard Kolelas.

ETHIOPIA: 1977 Ogaden War refugees returning home

Over 1,100 Ethiopian refugees living in the Dadaab camps of northeastern Kenya have been flown to Ethiopia since a repatriation operation began on 16 November, UNHCR said on Friday. In a statement received by IRIN, UNHCR said it expected to repatriate more than 5,000 Ethiopian refugees from Dadaab by early next year. Many of these refugees have been outside their homeland since the Ogaden War of 1977, having first fled Ethiopia to Somalia. The returnees, who each receive food aid for nine months plus US $60 dollars in cash, are being flown to Moyale from where they take local transport eastwards to their home areas, the statement said.

Nairobi, 30 November 1998, 15:00 gmt


Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 18:23:31 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 556 for 30 Nov 1998.11.30

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

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