UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
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. 560 for Central and Eastern Africa (Friday 4 December 1998)
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Nutritional and health concerns in Kisangani
An interagency assessment mission which visited Kisangani this week identified humanitarian needs that should be urgently addressed, but no acute emergency situation. It expressed concern over the nutrition situation, the lack of water treatment chemicals and of medicines in the town.
The local economy has been severely affected by the war, mainly because of the interruption of usual supply routes since rebels captured Kisangani on 23 August. Prices have dramatically increased and the local population is facing major difficulties in meeting medical costs and buying basic foodstuffs. While a comprehensive nutrition survey could not be conducted, the mission found that cases of severe and moderate malnutrition treated in health centers had notably increased. It acknowledged that an additional caseload was most probably not being served.
The security situation in the Province Orientale capital is calm, despite sporadic incidents. According to testimonies collected in the town, life has returned to normal over the past two weeks, with markets open and people circulating in the streets.
Allied forces repulsed at Kabalo, rebels claim
Allied forces attacked the rebel-held town of Kabalo yesterday (Thursday) but were driven off, according to rebel leader Ernest Wamba dia Wamba. He told AFP that the assault by Zimbabwean and DRC forces led to heavy fighting. "This shows that nobody has taken the [Paris ceasefire] accord seriously," he added. Wamba is in Uganda with other rebel leaders and is expected to meet President Yoweri Museveni at the weekend, media reports said.
Bizimungu says ceasefire not formalised
Rwandan President Pasteur Bizimungu said yesterday there was consensus on a "general wish" for a DRC ceasefire at the Paris summit, but a truce was not agreed. "Everyone agreed on the necessity of a ceasefire but everyone did not agree on how it should be carried out. That's all that happened in Paris," he told a press conference in Kigali. He said Rwandan troops would remain in the DRC as long as Kigali's security interests were threatened. He also denied any rift with Kampala over the DRC intervention.
Meanwhile, Ugandan presidential spokeswoman Hope Kivengere told IRIN it was "very clear" at the Paris meeting "that nobody really wants to fight". She said once a ceasefire is agreed politically by all sides, "a troop standstill is the easiest thing to do and shouldn't take long. It takes more energy to fight than not to fight."
Instability affecting mining loans
Chase Manhattan Bank will not lend money to foreign mining companies in the DRC, possibly for the next two or three years, due to the unstable political situation, Reuters said yesterday. "We've been asked to take a look at projects in the Congo and...the answer is no," Reuters quoted a senior bank official as saying in Johannesburg. Chase Manhattan Bank was the world's biggest lender to mining projects in 1997.
RWANDA: Poor conditions for displaced in 17 camps
The conditions under which hundreds of thousands of displaced persons are living in northwest Rwanda remain poor and more assistance is required to avert a humanitarian catastrophe, according to UN agencies in Kigali. In a UN press statement received yesterday by IRIN, the agencies said although nearly 3,000 mt of food was delivered to the displaced in November, there was still an urgent need for shelter, health, water and sanitation inputs in the camps.
The statement said there are currently an estimated 592,700 displaced persons in Ruhengeri and Gisenyi, of whom 416,410 are in 17 makeshift camps. While some government resources and donor contributions have been made available, humanitarian requirements are still far from being met, the statement added.
World should act on genocide "early warnings" - Rwanda
The UN should heed the early warnings of genocide and act with speed to contain leaders who incite populations to exterminate their own citizens, the representative of Rwanda told the UN General Assembly on Wednesday. Public statements on radio and television spark off waves of genocidal killings, especially if those come from the highest authorities in governments, the representative said. The Rwandan representative was speaking before the Assembly adopted a resolution calling on states to overcome obstacles for the implementation of the 1948 Convention on the
Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Rwanda has recently accused DRC President Kabila of "preaching genocide" to the Congolese people.
CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: Continued violence linked to regional conflict
Political and economic instability in Congo-Brazzaville since the end of the 1997 civil war is closely linked to the wider central African conflict, according to an analysis by Oxford Analytica. President Denis Sassou-Nguesso does not enjoy close relations with Kabila but is dependent on continued military support from Angola, which currently supports Kinshasa in the DRC conflict, it said. Sassou has also used Rwandan Hutu Interahamwe fighters, thus antagonising the governments of Rwanda and Uganda. The Ninja and Zulu militia groups allied to Sassou's main political opponents have links with the Angolan UNITA rebel group, while DRC rebel forces are present in the southern part of the Congo, Oxford Analytica said. Persistent violence is undermining efforts to return the country to normality, the analysis added.
Rail traffic resumes
WFP is planning to transport some 450 mt of food aid by train from Pointe-Noire to Brazzaville in the coming days, a WFP spokesperson told IRIN on Wednesday. Rail traffic between the two cities resumed last week, the spokesperson said. The rail line had been closed since late September due to insecurity in the Pool region, leading WFP to start airlifting food aid from Pointe-Noire to Brazzaville. The supplies to be shipped by train will be distributed to beneficiaries in both Kinshasa and Brazzaville, the spokesperson said. In Congo-Brazzaville, WFP distributed food rations to 4,424 Rwandan refugees and 3,477 children over the past week, according to WFP's latest weekly emergency report.
UN meeting to focus on crime in Africa
A UN meeting on crime prevention will bring together experts and top government officials from 52 African countries in Kampala next week. The two-day conference, organised by the Vienna-based UN Centre for International Crime Prevention in cooperation with the African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, is to focus on the rule of law and anti-crime strategies. According to a UN release received by IRIN, African countries are facing an upsurge in crime in the wake of major political and economic changes. The conference, hosted by the Ugandan government, takes place from 7-9 December.
Nairobi, 4 December 1998, 14:00 gmt
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Date: Fri, 4 Dec 1998 17:01:38 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 560 for 4 Dec 1998.12.4
Editor: Ali B. Dinar, email@example.com