IRIN Update 663 for 5/4/99

IRIN Update 663 for 5/4/99

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. 663 for Central and Eastern Africa (Tuesday 4 May 1999)

BURUNDI: Peace accord by June "unrealistic"

The International Crisis Group (ICG), a Brussels-based think tank, noting the international community has made the resumption of aid to Burundi conditional on the signing of a peace accord, has pointed out that the timetable of the Arusha peace process is "unrealistic". In its latest analysis of the situation in Burundi, ICG said Burundian diplomacy is now focused on a single objective - resuming international cooperation. "After five years of war, two and a half years of embargo and with no international assistance, the state coffers are empty and the socio-economic situation is catastrophic," the report stated.

However, the timetable suggested by the Nyerere Foundation which is mediating the Arusha peace talks and seeks to have an accord signed by June, could bring about "cosmetic reforms", but fundamental changes needed for true peace have not yet been achieved. ICG cited the security and human rights situation. "The war is not over in Burundi," the report said. "The Arusha process fails to address the impact of the Congo war which could seriously destabilise the young and fragile Burundian peace process." The exclusion in Arusha of the armed wing of the Burundi rebellion leaves its leaders no other choice but violence, which is being conducted in part from Congolese soil. An accord signed in June would have no validity, the report stressed.

The international community should not try and "recreate" the pre-war situation for the resumption of aid. The report said economic reform should accompany the political changes clamoured for by donors. The international community must focus on those responsible for the violence, as well as the victims. And finally, the efforts to hold a dialogue within the country, "however fragile the context", must be supported.

[For full report see]

TANZANIA: DRC crisis to be discussed

Rwandan and Ugandan leaders arrived in Tanzania on Tuesday for talks with their Tanzanian counterparts, news organisations reported. According to the Associated Press, Ernest Wamba dia Wamba, leader of the rebel Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD) was an unexpected arrival. Rwandan President Pasteur Bizimungu and Vice-President Paul Kagame, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa were due to discuss the ongoing DRC conflict.

RWANDA: Government hails Swiss court decision

The Rwandan government has hailed the life imprisonment sentence handed down by a Swiss court to a genocide suspect, Rwandan radio reported. Justice Minister Jean de Dieu Mucyo said an important step had been taken in the pursuit of genocide suspects who fled abroad. The government hoped that other countries would follow Switzerland's example. A court in Lausanne on Friday handed down the sentence on Fulgence Niyonteze, the former mayor of Mushubati commune in Gitarama prefecture, for crimes committed during the 1994 genocide. Niyonteze has appealed against the ruling.

Food aid "pipeline" threatened

Delays in the arrival of pledged cereal contributions and unavailability of maize for local purchases in Uganda are seriously affecting the Rwanda food pipeline, WFP said in its latest weekly emergency report. It said WFP is making arrangements for urgent loans from other operations to cover cereal requirements during the month of May.

Help sought to fight army worm invasion

Army worms have so far infested about one third of Rwanda, with some 100,000 hectares of cereals and 400,000 hectares of pasture land now under attack, according to estimates from the agriculture ministry. Affected areas include some 15 communes in the prefectures of Umutara, Kibungo and Kigali Rural. Humanitarian sources said the invasion could seriously impact this season's agricultural production as well as the country's livestock resources, if no immediate action is taken. The ministry has initiated some control efforts and has requested urgent international assistance to help combat the invasion.

BURUNDI: Concern as army worms spread

The army worm invasion affecting the Kirundo, Ruyigi and Muyinga regions of Burundi since mid-April threatens to significantly reduce agricultural production throughout the country, FAO said on Tuesday. An FAO mission to affected areas found that a mass of army worms covering an estimated 20,000 hectares appeared to be moving westwards and that climatic conditions were conducive for the rapid spread of the infestation.

Nairobi, 4 May 1999, 14:45 gmt


Date: Tue, 4 May 1999 18:11:26 +0300 (EAT) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: CENTRAL AND EASTERN AFRICA: IRIN Update 663 for 4 May [19990504]

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

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