F IRIN Update 686 for 4 June [19990604]

F IRIN Update 686 for 4 June [19990604]

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. 686 for Central and Eastern Africa (Friday 4 June 1999)

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Bukavu airport targeted

Government forces, which on Wednesday bombed the eastern DRC town of Uvira, also dropped bombs on the Kahuzi Biega national park, near Bukavu, humanitarian sources told IRIN on Friday. They said the intended target was probably the airport, which is close to the park. No injuries were reported. The South Kivu governor Norbert Basengezi Kantintima has warned that any plane overflying the area after 1800 hours will be shot down, the BBC Kirundi service reported. He urged Burundi to remain vigilant "because the bombs being dropped on Uvira could next time be dropped on Burundi as the Kinshasa government recently warned".

National debate to go ahead in Kenya

DRC Foreign Minister Yerodia Abdoulaye Ndombasi has confirmed the national debate will go ahead as planned in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, DRC state television reported on Thursday. He said the date would be fixed with the consent of the Kenyan government.

BURUNDI: Government outlines transition period

The government has unveiled a "plan for society", detailing the country's future institutions which will oversee the transition, referred to as the "period of stabilisation", Burundi's Netpress news agency reported. During this period, the plan envisages a democracy "based on consensus" and the national assembly will be enlarged to include the groups taking part in the Arusha peace process which are currently not represented in parliament. There will also be a Senate whose composition will be "ethnically and regionally balanced", Netpress said. The transition will last 10 years, with the current president Pierre Buyoya remaining in power for five years before handing over to a Hutu leader for the next five years.

RWANDA: Death sentence for two genocide suspects

A military court in Gitarama on Thursday sentenced two people to death for genocide crimes, the Hirondelle news agency reported. It named them as Major Anne-Marie Nyirahakizimana of the ex-FAR and Anglican pastor Athanase Ngirinshuti. The accusations against them included collaboration in crimes committed in Shyogwe and Kabwayi in Gitarama prefecture.

ICTR dismisses defendant's appeal

The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Wednesday threw out an appeal lodged by genocide suspect, Major Bernard Ntuyahaga, according to an ICTR press release. He was asking for an aquittal after the prosecution withdrew the indictment against him and ordered his release. The defendant is now being held by the Tanzanian authorities until a court hearing on his extradition to Rwanda takes place.

New UN representative

Rwanda's new permanent representative to the UN, Joseph Mutaboba, has presented his credentials to Secretary-General Kofi Annan, according to a UN press release. Mutaboba, an academic, researcher, journalist and human rights activist, was previously in Ethiopia as Rwanda's charge d'affaires.

UGANDA: New rebel group attacks police post in north

A policeman died and two others were wounded when six men claiming to belong to a "new" rebel group attacked Boroboro police post, near Lira, in northern Uganda. The rebels, calling themselves "Citizens' Army for Multiparty Politics", left a letter saying they were fighting to restore political pluralism in the country, the independent 'Monitor' reported on Thursday. The paper quoted Lira's resident district commissioner Agondwa Tee as saying four of the attackers were dressed in military uniforms while the other two were in civilian clothes. "This is a surprise attack but we shall pursue them," he said.

GREAT LAKES: UNHCR details refugee movements

Between January and April around 14,000 Rwandans returned to the northwest of the country from North Kivu, UNHCR's June fact sheet quotes the Rwandan authorities as saying. Thousands more could follow. The returnees told UNHCR in Rwanda that local officials in eastern DRC had warned them to go back home, and that the relative calm which now prevails in northwest Rwanda had encouraged them to do so. Rebel authorities in the DRC have warned of renewed military sweeps in the area.

The stream of Congolese from eastern DRC to Tanzania is perhaps the most regular flow of refugees anywhere on the continent at present, the fact sheet also detailed. Almost daily since last August, boats have ferried hundreds of refugees away from the conflict opposing Kinshasa and rebels to the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika. Refugees are paying boat owners for passage. The number of new Congolese refugees had reached 62,000 by the end of May.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Burundi refugees are repatriating each week from Tanzania, UNHCR said. Between January and April, 4,978 Burundians returned to their homes, mostly in the eastern provinces of Muyinga, Ruyigi, Rutana and Cankuzo, despite rebel infiltrations into eastern Burundi from Tanzania. A tripartite meeting on the repatriation planned for late March was postponed after Bujumbura sent Dar es Salaam a "note verbale" on the clashes.

REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Three Europeans accused of plotting to kill president

Three Europeans arrested two months ago in Brazzaville are to be charged with plotting to kill President Denis Sassou Nguesso, news organisations reported. Interior Minister Pierre Oba said the men - a Frenchman, an Italian and a Croatian - were hired by forces loyal to ousted president Pascal Lissouba to kill Sassou Nguesso. They were due to appear in court on Friday.

Nairobi, 4 June 1999, 12:35 gmt


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Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 1999

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

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