IRIN Update 608 for 12 Feb 1999.2.12

IRIN Update 608 for 12 Feb 1999.2.12

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. 608 for Central and Eastern Africa (Friday 12 February 1999)

SUDAN: MSF evacuated from parts of Bahr al-Ghazal

MSF reported today (Friday) that it has evacuated expatriate staff from five out of 10 locations in Bahr al-Ghazal, and one in Jonglei due to insecurity, which forced its workers to leave their bases at least 12 times since a mid-January ceasefire. On 9 February, the MSF teams in Panthou and Ajak left their locations after seeing frightened civilians fleeing the area and hearing that pro-government militias were nearby. Those in Tioraliet were also evacuated. All told, 16 MSF staff from the three locations were flown out on an OLS security flight.

On 28 January, pro-government militia raided the village of Bararud, killing 10 civilians, including a local MSF staff member. Local witnesses claimed 60 militia on horseback raided the village, plundered medical supplies and food from the MSF health and nutritional structures, abducted women and children and used them as porters to carry their loot. Bararud's population was halved following the raid, the witnesses said. Akobo, in Jonglei, was evacuated on 6 February due to inter-factional fighting.

According to MSF, its programmes in Bahr el Ghazal with expatriate staff are continuing in Achumchum, Ajiep, Mapel, Thiek Thou and Wau. All other locations in the province are now under assessment for security and the teams will return as soon as possible. MSF added that the programmes there were being continued by local staff.

Thousands cross over into Chad

About 10,300 Sudanese refugees have crossed over into Adre, eastern Chad, in the past two weeks, UNHCR said. Half of them arrived in the last 24 hours, and people are still crossing the border, a UNHCR spokesman told IRIN today. According to UNHCR, there are up to 120,000 displaced people on the Sudanese side. "People arriving in Chad are both of Arab and Massalit origin," said the spokesman. Two UNHCR staff are expected to travel to Adre. They arrive in Chad tomorrow (Saturday).

Last May, some 8,500 Sudanese left the town of Al-Geneina under similar circumstances. UNHCR gave the group emergency aid, seeds and food to help them through the rainy season. Although some of the refugees returned home, the majority are still in Adre.

ERITREA: Eritreans granted temporary asylum in Kenya

Thirty-three Eritreans were granted temporary asylum by the Kenyan government today after declining to be flown to Asmara. They were part of a group of Eritreans who escaped from Ethiopia to the Kenyan border town of Moyale en route for Asmara, according to a source in the Kenyan immigration department. However, on reaching Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, they said they could not go home because it was not safe, the source told IRIN today. "UNHCR and IOM requested a temporary stay for them in the country and the government consented. Fourteen have accepted to go to Kakuma refugee camp but the rest are still being persuaded to do so," he added. A UNHCR spokesman in Nairobi told IRIN the refugees were in the process of being transferred to the camps.

Meanwhile, Eritrean embassy spokesman Kidane Woldeyesus said the embassy had taken care of their nationals "dumped" by Ethiopian authorities at Moyale. "We chartered three aircraft between Monday and Tuesday to take about 250 Eritreans to Asmara on a voluntary basis," he told IRIN. "The consul witnessed this. As for the 33, they are not Eritreans and we cannot go after them, it is beyond our jurisdiction."

ERITREA-ETHIOPIA: Civilian deaths

Ethiopia "sincerely regrets" any civilian deaths in the ongoing conflict, the Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) reported yesterday (Thursday) in reaction to the deaths of displaced people at Lailai Deder in Eritrea on Tuesday. However, ENA claimed that Eritrea had placed the civilians dangerously close to the front line. A statement today from the Eritrean news agency ERINA commented bitterly: "They are accusing us of placing our civilians under their bombs."

KENYA: Cholera outbreak kills 14

Fourteen people have died of cholera in the coastal district of Kwale in Kenya. Speaking to IRIN today, WHO epidemiologist Dr Dominic Mutie said a ministry official on the ground explained to him that the situation was stable and not as bad as portrayed in the local press. "Teams are battling to save lives of patients," he said. "There are a lot of intravenous fluids and packs for oral rehydration and all is under control." Poor sanitation and contaminated water are the likely causes of the cholera outbreak. More than 160 people have been admitted in four health centres that serve a population of about 90,000, the local 'Daily Nation' newspaper reported.

RWANDA: Genocide suspect awaits trial in Arusha

Rwandan genocide suspect Eliezer Niyitegeka, arrested on Wednesday by Kenyan police, is now waiting to appear before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha. "We have received him and arrangements are being made for his initial appearance before the tribunal in a few days," ICTR spokesman, Kingsley Moghalu told IRIN today. Niyitegeka, Rwanda's former information minister, was indicted by the UN tribunal for his role in the 1994 genocide. He faces among other counts, a charge that he took part in the massacre of several people in Bisesero, Kibuye region.

IDP Resettlement in the northwest

There are an estimated 650,000 IDPs in north-western Rwanda, UN OCHA-Rwanda has reported in its latest update. About 176,363 were installed in 120 new resettlement sites in Ruhengeri, while 189,051 still required resettlement, according to figures supplied by Rwanda's government, collected and analysed by OCHA and cross-referenced with other reports and field visits, OCHA reported. In Gisenyi, some 118,730 were settled in 43 new sites and 31,340 required resettlement. However, unlike the IDPs in Ruhengeri, most of the estimated 241,848 displaced persons in Gisenyi do not reside in camps.


Please note correction to item 'TANZANIA: IMF approves ESAF loan to Tanzania' in IRIN Update 607. The EU has made a grant rather than a loan to Tanzania of EUR 71.2 million. The first tranche of EUR 35 million or 27 billion Tanzanian shillings is to be paid out this month.

Nairobi, 12 February 1999, 15:00 GMT

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Date: Fri, 12 Feb 1999 20:10:19 +0300 (EAT) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 608 for 12 Feb 1999.2.12

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar,