IRIN Update 578 for 31 Dec 1998.12.31

IRIN Update 578 for 31 Dec 1998.12.31

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. 578 for Central and Eastern Africa (Thursday 31 December 1998)

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Allies claim battlefield successes

Pro-government allied forces claimed yesterday (Wednesday) to have captured the DRC towns of Fizi in the east and Businga in the north. A statement by the Zimbabwe ministry of information said the capture of Fizi near the Burundi border "effectively cuts off the main enemy supply routes linking Goma, Bukavu and Uvira to Kalemie and Kabalo, as Lake Tanganyika is effectively patrolled by allied forces," AFP reported. The statement also said that allied air raids beginning on Christmas Day on rebel positions along the Congo river and at Kongolo, north of Kabalo, Falanga and Kalembelembe had inflicted heavy losses. It added that among rebels captured were former Interahamwe militia released from Rwandan prisons on condition they fight in the DRC.

SUDAN: Food aid needed in spite of record harvest

Total cereal production in Sudan for the 1998/99 agricultural season is forecast at 6.5 million mt, which is 46 percent more than last year and the highest crop on record, according to FAO. In a report on the FAO/WFP crop and food supply assessment mission conducted in November/December, FAO said the improved production, due mainly to favourable rains, will include 4.9 million mt of sorghum, 1.1 million mt of millet, 444,000 mt of wheat and 52,000 mt of maize. The overall favourable situation, however, "masks serious deficits at local level", with large-scale food aid interventions needed to help populations affected by the on-going civil war, FAO said in the report, received by IRIN.

Five southern states including north Bahr al-Ghazal will face cereal deficits, displaced people in several areas of the north including Kassala will need food aid and the nutrition situation in chronic food-deficit North Kordofan will require close monitoring in the coming months, the report said. During 1999, over 2.3 million people - out of a projected mid-1999 population of 30.3 million - will need about 173,500 mt of emergency food aid, it said.

Sorghum exports planned

Meanwhile, the record harvest will allow "large quantities of grain to be exported" from Sudan in 1999, FAO said in the report. A three-year government ban on sorghum exports, lifted in October, has created carryover stocks, further increasing the supplies now available for export, it said. Reuters reported earlier this month that Sudan had already signed 10 contracts to export 200,000 mt of sorghum to Middle East and European countries, while one exporter was selling 100,000 mt of sorghum to Eritrea. However, the FAO report said that no export permit had been granted as of late November because the government was still determining the minimum export prices to be applied.

TANZANIA: Maize prices double

The price of the staple maize has doubled over the year in Tanzania, deepening the country's food security problems, humanitarian sources told IRIN today (Thursday). The price of a 100 kg bag has risen from the equivalent of roughly US $19 to US $37. Less than expected yields, hoarding, infrastructural problems and grain exports have contributed to shortages in local markets, the sources said.

CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: Clashes reported south of Brazzaville

The BBC yesterday reported fierce clashes between the army and Ninja militia in the areas of Ganga-Lingolo and Linzolo south of Brazzaville. Congo-Brazzaville military officials said the fighting began when the rebels attacked an army convoy.

BURUNDI: Rebels kill 8

Burundi rebels killed eight people and wounded another in two separate attacks on Tuesday night in Muramvya province, AP reported government officials as saying. The attacks, 50 km west of Bujumbura, followed a raid on Sunday on the town of Buhonga 8 km from the capital in which the rebels killed four people.

UGANDA: LRA attack Gulu

Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels yesterday raided three Gulu suburbs, abducting people including 10 children to carry away looted property, the semi-official 'New Vision' reported. The paper said that around 40 LRA attacked the town's outskirts and abducted 30 people, 25 of whom were rescued by the army who ambushed the retreating rebels.

Nairobi, 31 December 1998 11:00 GMT


Date: Thu, 31 Dec 1998 13:56:50 +0300 (EAT) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 578 for 31 Dec 1998.12.31

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

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