IRIN Update 576 for 29 Dec 1998.12.29

IRIN Update 576 for 29 Dec 1998.12.29

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. 576 for Central and Eastern Africa (Tuesday 29 December 1998)

CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: Aid arrives in Brazzville as bodies collected

Humanitarian assistance is starting to arrive in strife-torn Brazzaville, aid workers told IRIN. A plane carrying rice, beans, sugar, cooking oil and other commodities arrived in the Congolese capital from the port city of Pointe Noire on Friday and medical supplies are also arriving. Thousands of displaced people from the southern Bacongo and Makelekele suburbs of the city are grouped in 14 sites. In addition some 150,000 people are said to have taken refuge at the Ganga Lingolo site and 30,000 at the Kinsoudi site, which remains insecure. A total of up to 250,000 are estimated to have been displaced by the fighting in southern Brazzaville since 18 December.

Meanwhile, the removal of bodies from Brazzaville's streets began late last week, supervised by the interior ministry, the sources said. However Reuters quoted relief workers as saying rotting bodies were still lying on the streets of Bacongo and Makelekele suburbs as of yesterday (Monday). No official death toll has been released.

UN sources told IRIN 21 out of 84 Congolese UN workers in the city are still missing. In the affected southern suburbs, two houses belonging to UN staff burnt down after shells landed on them, and three others were completely looted.

Sassou-Nguesso rules out talks with "criminals"

Congo-Brazzaville President Denis Sassou-Nguesso has ruled out reconciliation with politicians behind the recent clashes in the capital, state radio reported on Sunday. Government spokesman Francois Ibovi told the radio that dialogue would not take place with former president Pascal Lissouba and prime minister Bernard Kolelas. A reconciliation appeal made at the end of the civil war last year, should "not be mistaken for any negotiation with criminals who plundered the country", he said.

UGANDA: Protected villages policy "not working"

Uganda's policy of protected villages in the north to defend local people against rebel attacks is not working, according to the 'New African' monthly. Following a visit to northern Uganda, the magazine noted that Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels "still attack at will" and kidnap villagers "who would rather chance their luck and return home". Labongogali, a protected camp 30 km northwest of Gulu, houses some 5,000 people "living in a squalid mass of mud huts", the 'New African' said. Health and education are inadequate and rebels still attack the camp. The nearby camp of Amuru is the largest in the area with 32,000 people crammed into a single square mile of land. 'New Africa' quoted local council chairman Olyee Atwone as saying most of the children were malnourished and the search for food was taking people away from the camp and into rebel territory.

Kony holed up on Sudan border - paper

LRA leader Joseph Kony is holed up on the Sudan border after losing two of his top commanders in recent clashes with the Ugandan army, the 'New Vision', quoting a captured rebel, reported today (Tuesday). According to the semi-official daily, Kony is in the Lamwaka Hills but has been blocked from reaching his objective, his shrine at Awere Hills near Gulu. The 'New Vision' said that new rebel bands entered Uganda last week and broke into smaller groups to intimidate local communities in Agago and Aru counties.

Museveni orders arrest of corrupt officers

President Yoweri Museveni has ordered the arrest of Ugandan officers involved in illegal business activities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the 'New Vision'. The newspaper, citing a military source, reported today that Museveni had directed that the officers be returned to Uganda and their merchandise seized. Opposition politicians have alleged that some army officers are involved in gold and timber trading in the DRC. Meanwhile, Museveni returned yesterday from a three-day visit to Tripoli where he discussed the Congo conflict with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, news reports said.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Rebels say no peacekeepers behind their lines

Rebel Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD) foreign minister Bizima Karaha told Radio France Internationale yesterday that the movement would not allow the deployment of a proposed peacekeeping force behind its lines. Karaha said what was required first were negotiations on a truce, and then talks on a political settlement. "Only at that time will one know where this peacekeeping force will be deployed. One thing is clear: There will never be a force deployed behind our lines." Karaha reiterated the RCD's insistence that they be involved in ceasefire talks, otherwise: "We will be forced to advance and this will mean the end of [President Laurent-Desire] Kabila."

BURUNDI: Four more killed by rebels

The authorities in Bujumbura-rurale province called for vigilance as more people were killed by rebels on Sunday night. Four people were killed in Buhonga commune, and a further three injured, Burundi radio reported yesterday. Provincial governor Stanislas Ntahobari said he believed the Forces nationales pour la liberation (FNL), the armed wing of the PALIPEHUTU rebel group, were responsible for the attack as they were spreading "subversive leaflets" and "threatening people who do not share their ideology".

Nairobi, 29 December 1998, 11:45 gmt


Date: Tue, 29 Dec 1998 18:09:02 +0300 (EAT) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 576 for 29 Dec 1998.12.29

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

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