IRIN Update 643 for 4/6/99

IRIN Update 643 for 4/6/99

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

Tel: +254 2 622147 Fax: +254 2 622129 e-mail:

IRIN Update No. 643 for Central and Eastern Africa (Tuesday 6 April 1999)

RWANDA: Troops to stay in DRC as long as security compromised

Vice-President Paul Kagame, vowing that genocide will never occur again in his country, has said his troops will stay in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as long as Rwanda's national security is under threat. Addressing a news conference on Saturday, ahead of the fifth anniversary of the genocide unleashed on 6 April 1994, he said there had been much progress in Rwanda although the scars of the genocide would remain for a long time. Militarily, many of the problems had been solved "by elimination of the insurgency" within the country, he said, according to Rwandan radio. However, there was still a threat from insurgents in DRC. "So we shall be in Congo until a solution is found...and, for as long as security is a problem, we shall have to deal with it," Kagame told reporters.

Premier to be investigated on genocide allegations

Kagame also announced that the government would investigate charges of involvement in the genocide levelled against Prime Minister Pierre-Celestin Rwigema. Such accusations were serious, and must be looked into, he added. The Rwandan News Agency (RNA) noted the allegations had come out in the course of ongoing genocide trials in the country. Rwigema has denied the accusations, blaming them on his political enemies.

Purge in parliament

The Rwandan parliament is undergoing a serious purge, with some members expelled and others asked to resign, RNA reported. Eight parties are represented in the transitional assembly, with the three main ones - Mouvement democratique republicain (MDR), Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and Parti liberal (PL) - affected by the purges. Four sacked MDR MPs have been accused of cooperating with Hutu rebels and fostering the Hutu-Power ideology, RNA said.

World Bank approves loan

Rwanda has hailed a US $75 million loan by the World Bank as a sign of recovered confidence by the donor community, RNA reported on Tuesday. It noted that in the past, donors had been reluctant to disburse financial assistance in case it was diverted to the military. A senior finance ministry official, Prosper Musafiri, said most of the loan - repayable after 40 years - would be used for Rwanda's economic reform programme.

BURUNDI: 11 civilians killed by rebels

Rebels in southern Burundi have killed 11 civilians in a weekend attack at Kayogoro, Makamba province, the Agence burundaise de presse reported. Reporting the same incident, RNA quoted Burundian military spokesman Colonel Mammert Sinarinzi who said five rebels were killed by security forces in the raid which was launched from across the border in Tanzania. "We had hoped that the suspension of the economic embargo would be conducive to improving our relations and hence security along our borders, but there is no sign that this is the case," Sinarinzi was quoted as saying.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Annan appoints special envoy

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Monday appointed former Senegalese foreign minister Moustapha Niasse as his special envoy for the DRC peace process. The envoy will seek to, among other things, identify main obstacles to the signing of a ceasefire agreement and assess progress made so far in the Lusaka peace process, a UN statement, received by IRIN, said. Niasse will establish contacts with DRC political and civic leaders, sound out African leaders on a possible UN role in promoting a negotiated settlement, and determine what support countries outside Africa are prepared to extend towards a settlement, the statement added. Niasse served as Senegal's foreign minister from 1979 to 1984 and again from 1993 to 1998.

Meanwhile, EU special envoy for the Great Lakes region, Aldo Ajello, is scheduled to begin an eight-country tour on 15 April as part of efforts to resolve the conflict, AFP said on Thursday. He will visit Ethiopia, Chad, Angola, Namibia, Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa, it said.

Rebel leadership wrangles

The president of the rebel Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD), Ernest Wamba dia Wamba, has moved from Goma to Kisangani as a result of a "fresh dispute" within the movement's leadership, the weekly 'EastAfrican' newspaper said on Monday. "There is no coup d'etat, but there is some malaise in Goma," Wamba told the newspaper by telephone from Kisangani. "Those who are trying to replace me should do so officially," he added. The 'EastAfrican' quoted Rwandan security sources as saying RCD activities in Goma were currently coordinated by Lunda Bululu and Bizima Karaha.

Meanwhile, the level of disagreement between the RCD and the rebel Mouvement de liberation congolais (MLC) has intensified in Kisangani, sources in contact with the city told IRIN over the weekend. Increased tension in Kisangani last Wednesday, reportedly prompted by the arrest of an RCD commander by Ugandan soldiers, led schools to close early and people to leave markets. Other sources say tension is also evident between some Ugandan soldiers and the MLC.

Civilians victims of "confusing war"

A "climate of hatred" persisted in the DRC, where most victims of the "intense and confusing" war were civilians, including children and babies, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the DRC, Roberto Garreton, said last week. Presenting his report to the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva on 1 April, Garreton said the government had to "acknowledge reality" in that the rebels did exist and respect the wishes of the people for the establishment of democracy. Garreton also told the Commission that the rebels would never have widespread popular backing, a UN press release said.

Garreton said human rights violations were committed by government forces and their allies, the rebel movement and "foreign rebel forces" from Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda, the release said. Garreton recommended that those responsible for gross human rights abuses in the DRC be tried in an international criminal tribunal.

WFP needs resources to help Angolan refugees

WFP needs urgent donor support to respond to the needs of Angolan refugees in southwestern DRC, the latest WFP weekly emergency report said. It said the funding situation for the programme was "critical," with only six percent of the requirements contributed so far. WFP has advanced about US $1.5 million from its "immediate response account" to purchase food supplies until donations are received, the report added. The operation is meant to provide emergency food assistance to some 40,000 Angolan refugees in several camps in the Kisenge area of Katanga province, where 24 percent malnutrition rates were reported among refugee children in February.

UGANDA: Museveni reshuffles cabinet

President Yoweri Museveni has carried out a major cabinet reshuffle, with new appointees including the post of prime minister, media reports said. He retained his controversial vice-president Specioza Kazibwe in her present post, but dropped her as agriculture minister following a parliamentary report of mismanagement in her ministry. Outgoing prime minister Kintu Musoke has reportedly gone at his own request. He is replaced by former education minister Apollo Nsibambi.

Senior LRA member quits

A senior member of the northern rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has resigned, saying the organisation has become a tool of the Sudanese government, the BBC reported on Tuesday. David Nyekorach-Matsanga, who is based in London, said however he would continue to fight the Ugandan government through his own eastern rebel group, the Uganda Salvation Front.

Six killed in ADF attack

Meanwhile in western Uganda, six people were killed by rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in an attack in Kasese district. Press reports said a group of 30 rebels, armed with guns and machetes, attacked the fishing village of Hamukungu over the weekend. They also abducted an unknown number of people and destroyed buildings.

Nairobi, 6 April 1999, 14:35 gmt


Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 17:38:20 +0300 (EAT) Subject: CENTRAL AND EASTERN AFRICA: IRIN Update 643 for 6 April [19990407] From: IRIN - English <>

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

Previous Menu Home Page What's New Search Country Specific