IRIN Update 557 for 1 Dec 1998

IRIN Update 557 for 1 Dec 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. 557 for Central and Eastern Africa (Tuesday 1 December 1998)

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Rebel leader vows to continue fighting

The leader of a DRC rebel faction, Jean-Pierre Bemba, said today (Tuesday) that his forces would continue fighting despite a tentative ceasefire agreement reached in Paris at the weekend. Bemba, leader of the northern Equateur province based Mouvement de liberation congolais, told Reuters he was fighting for the total liberation of the country.

Ugandan defence minister plays down peace deal

Meanwhile, Ugandan Defence Minister Amama Mbabazi has downplayed the significance of the ceasefire deal brokered by French President Jacques Chirac and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. He told AFP his impression was "no new ground" was broken. Mbabazi said that while foreign countries with forces in the DRC may have agreed to a truce, that did not mean an immediate ceasefire as the war was between Congolese combatants.

Annan offers UN help in supervising ceasefire

Annan said yesterday (Monday) that the United Nations could help in a peacekeeping role in the DRC if all sides abided by the proposed ceasefire. Annan told French Radio Europe 1 that he hoped in addition to OAU member states, non-African countries would be prepared to assist with an intervention force. The UN Security Council yesterday expressed its readiness to consider the deployment of UN observers and other personnel to support regional security operations it authorises, and to monitor human rights performance.

Population movements in Katanga

Lubumbashi is currently hosting about 6,000 displaced persons and the influx into the city is continuing, humanitarian sources told IRIN today. A UN official in Kinshasa said that about 600 displaced persons are staying in two sites in Lubumbashi where they are receiving food and medical assistance from ICRC and MSF-Belgium. The rest are living with local families, the official said following a UN assessment mission to Lubumbashi this week. The extra burden placed on host families is a source of growing concern, he said, adding that much of the local population had already been facing food shortages and serious economic difficulties.

Displaced transiting through Zambia

Some of the displaced have crossed into Zambia and re-entered the DRC to reach Lubumbashi. Others are arriving in Lubumbashi from the north by train. Population movements are reported in several areas of Katanga province, including Moba, Pepa, Manono, Pweto and Kasenga, but no figures are presently available. Humanitarian sources said people in Katanga were hiding in forests because they feared insecurity and bombing of towns, with many young men also worried about forced recruitment.

SUDAN: Government slams senior UN official

The Sudan government has criticised Sir Kieran Prendergast, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, for meeting "secretly" with the opposition, AFP cited local press reports as saying today. Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail said Prendergast held an unscheduled meeting last month with the opposition "without permission or knowledge of the government."

Prendergast briefed the UN Security Council on Monday on his recent tour of the Horn of Africa aimed at determining whether the United Nations could play a constructive peace role in the region. The Council called on Khartoum to continue to participate in the IGAD peace process.

Meanwhile, the ripples of the Ethiopia/Eritrea conflict have been felt within IGAD. The organisation's Eritrean executive secretary, Tekeste Ghebray, was denied entry to Ethiopia last week and Djibouti, the IGAD headquarters, the Eritrean news agency Erina reported.

Khartoum squatter area demolished

The demolition of a squatter area housing displaced persons from southern Sudan was continuing yesterday in the Carton Kassala area of Khartoum North, humanitarian sources told IRIN. The area shelters some 5,000 squatter families, three thousand of whom are slated to be relocated to two other sites in the city as part of a government urban renewal plan. Two thousand families are to remain in Carton Kassala.

The demolitions, using bulldozers, started last week. While the demolition operation was proceeding relatively calmly, humanitarian sources expressed concern regarding the absence of basic services at one of the new settlement sites, also located in Khartoum North, and the lack of preparation to receive the relocated families there.

Meanwhile, UN sources said that 95 percent of women held in Khartoum's prisons are southerners. The proportion of displaced women prisoners was incorrectly reported in IRIN item of 24 November headlined "Briefing on Khartoum displaced."

SPLA says beaten off attack on Nuba mountains

The rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) said they have beaten off a government attack in the Nuba mountains. AP quoted an SPLA spokesman in Nairobi as saying that a four-pronged government assault on 11 November was finally driven off on 23 November.

CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: Clean up exercise launched

The Brazzaville authorities have launched a clean-up blitz in the capital to help repair the damage caused by last year's civil war, the BBC reported. Unemployed youths have been put to work to clear away accumulated rubbish and unblock drains in an EU-funded operation.

Nairobi, 1 December 1998, 13:30 gmt


Date: Tue, 1 Dec 1998 17:05:45 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 557 for 1 Dec 1998.12.1

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

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