IRIN Update 559 for 3 Dec 1998.12.3

IRIN Update 559 for 3 Dec 1998.12.3

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. 559 for Central and Eastern Africa (Thursday 3 December 1998)

BURUNDI: Twenty killed in displaced camp

About 20 people were killed and 33 others injured yesterday (Wednesday) in a rebel attack on a camp for Hutu displaced persons in Bubanza province. Quoting an army spokesman, AP said the attack on the camp, located at Gihungwe about 20 km north of Bujumbura, was the second since 23 November.

Army operation to counter increased rebel activity

Meanwhile, the army has launched an operation to "chase out" rebel groups trying to occupy areas of Bujumbura-rural and Bururi, AFP said today (Thursday), citing an army spokesman. Local authorities said rebel groups have recently infiltrated from Tanzania, RFI reported yesterday, adding that two military positions about 15 km south of the capital were attacked by rebels on Sunday.

Curfew and travel restrictions imposed in southwest

Humanitarian sources in Burundi told IRIN yesterday that a dusk-to-dawn curfew had been imposed in some towns of Bururi and Makamba provinces and that weapons had been distributed to part of the local populations. The authorities have advised aid agencies not to travel by road to Nyanza-Lac and other areas of the southwest, the sources added.

Nyerere ready to propose end to sanctions

Former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere is prepared to propose that regional sanctions against Burundi be suspended, Reuters reported yesterday. British International Development Secretary Clare Short said Nyerere, facilitator of the Burundi peace process, was ready to recommend the lifting of sanctions at the next round of talks in Arusha, Tanzania. Short told Reuters that Nyerere informed European Union development ministers of his position in Brussels on Sunday. The rebel group CNDD-FDD, in a statement received today by IRIN, has asked the European council of ministers to oppose the lifting of sanctions, accusing the Burundian army of continued civilian massacres.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Traders face difficulties in supplying Kinshasa

Traders are facing difficulties in sending supplies to Kinshasa, aggravating the unstable food situation in the city, WFP said in its latest emergency weekly report. Food deliveries from the port of Matadi and from food production areas are limited due to military activities and transporters have been advised not to enter the city later than 6 p.m., the report said. Traders, who estimate that food stocks in the market will be exhausted at the end of January, have requested government subsidies to stabilize food and fuel prices, the report said.

WFP seeks to replenish stocks

Food aid distributions are coming to a halt in Kinshasa as emergency food stocks are being depleted, the weekly WFP report said. Only 16 mts of food were distributed in Kinshasa over the past week. WFP's emergency operation in the city targets about 120,000 vulnerable people. To replenish stocks,

WFP plans to bring in food by barge from neighbouring Congo-Brazzaville, the report said. Clearance for WFP flights from Pointe-Noire in Congo-Brazzaville was not provided by authorities in Kinshasa, a WFP spokesperson told IRIN yesterday.

Meanwhile, humanitarian sources said that commercial flights operated by the private company TMK between Goma, Bukavu, Butembo and Kampala had resumed last week.

Ugandan army allegedly behind Bemba

Informed sources in contact with Aketi in Province Orientale told IRIN the town was seized by Ugandan soldiers in early November after three days of heavy fighting with Kinshasa-allied Chadian troops. This contradicts earlier claims made by Jean-Pierre Bemba that his Mouvement de liberation congolais (MLC) rebel faction had taken Aketi. The sources said that Bemba, who had been staying in rebel-held Kisangani since 29 September, was flown to Aketi in a Ugandan army helicopter two days after it was captured. The sources added that Ugandan soldiers played the major role in the rebel capture of several other towns in the region, including Banalia on 7 September, Isiro on 20 September and Dulia on 29 October.

Kampala denies providing passports to rebels

Kampala has denied allegations by a member of parliament that DRC rebels are using Ugandan passports in the United States. Minister of Internal Affairs Tom Butime said Ugandan passports are only issued after a rigorous vetting process, the private 'Monitor' newspaper reported. The allegation was made by MP Aggrey Awori who claimed that he had met rebels travelling on Ugandan papers in Washington.

Meanwhile, presidential spokeswoman Hope Kivengere told IRIN today she was unable to confirm reports that DRC rebel leaders were in Kampala to be briefed by President Yoweri Museveni on the Paris ceasefire meeting. She said that Museveni was upcountry and probably would not return to the capital until the weekend.

DRC refugees set up radio station

DRC refugees in western Tanzania's Kasulu district have set up a basic FM radio station to broadcast news and announcements in their Nyarugusu camp. Tanzania's 'The Guardian' newspaper reported the camp commandant as saying the station had proved administratively useful, but would not allow its expansion beyond the 50,000-strong camp without government permission.

RWANDA: Rebel officer killed

A Hutu rebel officer was killed and another taken prisoner in the town of Rushashi, AFP reported yesterday. The two men were part of a band of scouts reconnoitering the area. A member of a civil defence unit was killed in the clash. Meanwhile, the Kigali authorities announced this week the demobilisation of 3,600 soldiers as part of a donor-backed scheme to cut the size of the army to around 25,000 men by 2001. Rwandan radio said the demobilised soldiers includes the aged, the disabled and those who had volunteered.

SUDAN: Turabi resigns as speaker

Sudan's influential speaker of parliament Hassan Turabi yesterday resigned to work full time for the ruling National Congress party, media reports say. His resignation is not expected to reduce his role as the principal Islamic ideologue of the military-backed government of President Omar al-Beshir. AP quoted political analysts as saying his stepping down is a government attempt to appease the opposition before legalising political "associations" next year.

Government recaptures border towns

Sudan said on Monday its troops recaptured two positions from rebel forces near the Eritrean border, news agencies reported. A government communique said the retaking of Teluk and Toqan near Kassala town follows the recapture in the last two weeks of Aqeitai and Itairbah in Red Sea state.

ETHIOPIA: Moscow in US $150 arms deal

Russia is to supply Ethiopia with US $150 million worth of military hardware including fighter planes and helicopters. The Russian Interfax news agency said the equipment is due to be delivered later this month.

Nairobi, 3 December 1998, 13:45 GMT


Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998 17:13:47 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 559 for 3 Dec 1998.12.3

Editor: Ali B. Dinar,