Great Lakes: IRIN Update 63, 12/20/96

Great Lakes: IRIN Update 63, 12/20/96

Department of Humanitarian Affairs
Integrated Regional Information Network

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IRIN Emergency Update No.63 on the Great Lakes (Friday 20 December 1996)

According to unconfirmed reports, President Mobutu is slated to return imminently to Europe. The Zairean leader yesterday called for the formation of a new crisis government within two days. Government and opposition leaders, who met Mobutu yesterday, said he had asked them to present "suitable candidates" to Prime Minister Kengo wa Dondo. AFP said opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi went to the meeting, but then refused to take part saying he had been expecting "something else". He had been tipped as a possible contender for the premiership, but a ruling party spokesman - quoted by AFP - said Kengo should remain in his post "because you don't change horses in midstream". The new army chief General Mahele Bokoungo Lieko, after meeting Mobutu yesterday, told reporters he had pledged to safeguard national integrity, AFP added.

UN reports from Tingi Tingi camp, near Lubutu, said the camp stretched for 3km along the Walikale/Kisangani road and was highly organised along prefecture, commune and cellule lines. The refugees are registering new arrivals and establishing lists. The local authorities have discussed the possibility of moving the refugees to another site at Amisi, 70kms in the direction of Walikale, where there is an abandoned plantation along a river. Amisi also has an airstrip which is being cleared.

Tanzanian radio said yesterday a large column of 100,000 Rwandan refugees was heading home from the Ngara region. According to the radio, they were coming across some problems including threats by Hutu extremists who were trying to force the refugees to head for the bush. As yet there had been no arrests, the radio said. Aid workers said they expected a large number of refugees to cross the border today. The Tanzanian authorities have ordered refugees in the Karagwe camps to leave today, the DHA Information Centre in Kigali reported. The military and police will be involved in the operation. Meanwhile, the authorities in Morogoro, eastern Tanzania, ordered a search of the entire region with a view to arresting Rwandan and Burundian refugees believed to have infiltrated the region in large numbers.

The first trial of genocide suspects gets underway in Kigali on 30 December, a Rwandan judge announced. A former deputy state prosecutor Silace Munyagishali and a former local government official Theodomire Ruzirabwoba will be the first two people to appear in court in connection with the 1994 genocide. "They are accused of genocide and crimes against humanity," said judge Jariel Rutaremara. "Therefore they risk the death penalty." He added that another four cases would be dealt with early next year. The Rwandan authorities recently published a list of 2,000 people suspected of genocide or crimes against humanity.

Some 200 Rwandan refugees have been arrested and accused of genocide after returning home from Tanzania, UNCHR announced in Geneva today. It said they had been denounced by local people after returning to their villages in the Murambi and Nyagatare regions. AFP quoted a UNHCR spokesperson as saying people in that area "had a tendency to take the law into their own hands and that those identified by the public could be in severe risk if they were taken into custody by the local authorities."

Rwanda is reported to be strictly enforcing visa requirements, deporting all foreigners who enter the country without a visa purchased abroad. Reuters said a senior immigration officer at the airport confirmed that people had been turned away because they arrived without visas. Previously it had been possible to obtain temporary visas on arrival from some locations. The official said procedures had been tightened up to stop "undesirables and people with questionable motives" from coming into Rwanda.

Some 30,000 civilians have fled fighting between the Ugandan army and rebel forces in the Ruwenzori mountains bordering Zaire, the state-owned 'New Vision' newspaper reported today. In two separate battles yesterday, 2,000 soldiers pursued about 800 rebels from the Allied Democratic Front (ADF) who attacked villages in Bokonzo county, prompting the exodus. According to AFP, military intelligence director Col Fred Tolit rejected claims that the fighting was serious. "For the last week, the UPDF has deployed troops to clear the rebels off the mountains, but the fighting is not serious," he said.

Iranian-mediated peace talks between Uganda and Sudan, due to take place in Kampala this week, have been postponed until January because Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati is unable to travel to Uganda until then, Ugandan Minister of State for Regional Cooperation Rebecca Kadaga said. She added that the January talks would be attended by the foreign ministers of Uganda, Sudan, Malawi and Iran. On Tuesday, President Museveni had announced the resumption of talks in Kampala this week.

Nairobi, 20 December 1996, 14:30 gmt [ENDS]

[Via the UN DHA Integrated Regional Information Network. The material contained in this communication may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. UN DHA IRIN Tel: +254 2 622123 Fax: +254 2 622129 e-mail: for more information. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer.]

Date: Fri, 20 Dec 1996 17:44:38 +0300 From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Update 63 for 20 Dec 1996 96.12.20 Message-ID: <>

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

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