IRIN Update 640 for 3/30/99

IRIN Update 640 for 3/30/99

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. 640 for Central and Eastern Africa (Tuesday 30 March 1999)

RWANDA: Tanzania arrests genocide suspect freed by UN tribunal

Tanzania has arrested Rwandan genocide suspect, Major Bernard Ntuyahaga, just after he was released by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Tanzanian Justice Minister Bakari Mwapachu told the independent Hirondelle news agency today (Tuesday) that Ntuyahaga was detained yesterday (Monday) in Dar es Salaam "for his own security". He is now in police custody. Ntuyahaga, who is accused of the murder of former Rwandan premier Agathe Uwilingiyimana and 10 Belgian UN peacekeepers, is wanted by both Belgium and Rwanda. Mwapachu said Tanzania was examining the extradition requests, adding that "justice must be done". He said the arrest was also to "sort out the immigration issue", as Ntuyahaga had entered Tanzania illegally last June when he handed himself over voluntarily to the Tribunal.

At the trial, the prosecution called for withdrawing its indictment against Ntuyahaga for crimes against humanity so that he could be tried in Belgium. The ICTR granted the request but ruled it had no jurisdiction to deliver him to any national authorities. Yesterday, the Belgian justice ministry issued a statement slamming the ICTR's decision to release Ntuyahaga and threatening to review its cooperation with the Tribunal. The statement, issued before Ntuyahaga's arrest, said the ICTR's actions showed a "cruel lack of responsibility and concern for the proper judicial pursuit" of accused persons.

However Peter Gijsels, an adviser to the Belgian justice minister, told Hirondelle today Belgium was happy Ntuyahaga had now been arrested. He reiterated that Belgium had been "perplexed" yesterday when the former army officer was freed. "We will now wait for the next stage of procedures," he said.

High turnout in local elections

Local elections went into a second day today, after they were suspended in parts of the country yesterday due to heavy rain. Rwandan radio reported a high turnout throughout the country and described the process as "positive". The Rwanda News Agency (RNA) quoted the prefect of Kigali as saying there had been a "massive" response in the capital. There was high security in the troubled northwest prefecture of Gisenyi to avoid trouble by "infiltrators". Fifty people were jailed in the prefecture's Mutura commune for refusing to take part in the poll, RNA said. Rwandans and foreigners are voting to elect officials at the lowest "cellule" level. Tomorrow they will elect officials at the next level, that of "secteur".

Rwandans trickling home

Small groups of Rwandans continue to trickle across the DRC border into Gisenyi, a UNHCR spokesman told IRIN today. He said 558 people had arrived in Gisenyi over the weekend, bringing the total number of registered returnees from the DRC to 6,300 so far this year.

TANZANIA: Armed DRC soldiers arrested in southwest

Police in southwest Tanzania have arrested DRC soldiers reportedly moving arms by boat on Lake Tanganyika, AP said, quoting the Tanzanian 'Guardian' newspaper. "The soldiers were found in possession of sub-machine guns, hand grenades and several rounds of ammunition," said the Rukwa regional commissioner, Captain Jaka Mwambi. The soldiers reportedly told the local authorities they were headed for the Tanzanian port town of Kigoma. Armed soldiers who deserted from the Congolese army have been entering Rukwa since last November.

UGANDA: Kampala reportedly increasing arms manufacturing capacity

Uganda is increasing its capacity to manufacture military hardware in the country as donors press for a reduction in defence spending, 'The EastAfrican' weekly reported yesterday. It said a local engineering company was refurbishing and making spares for some of the 60 used T-55 tanks, imported from Ukraine last November. The Nakasongola arms factory, which has been making bullets and land mines since 1996 with technical assistance from China and North Korea, is reportedly diversifying into gun production, the newspaper added.

Nairobi, 30 March 1999, 14:45 gmt


Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 17:54:19 +0300 (EAT) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: CENTRAL AND EASTERN AFRICA: IRIN Update 640 for 30 March

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

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