IRIN Update 690 for 10 June [19990610]

IRIN Update 690 for 10 June [19990610]

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. 690 for Central and Eastern Africa (Thursday 10 June 1999)

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: US concerned over "growing Libyan involvement"

US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Susan Rice has said recent developments in the DRC crisis suggest a shift towards a negotiated, rather than a military, solution to the conflict. In a briefing to a Senate subcommittee on African affairs this week, she took note of the recent Sirte accord, the withdrawal of Chadian troops and a "general avoidance" of fighting by Uganda, along with Rwanda's unilateral ceasefire declaration. Speaking ahead of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in Lusaka later this month, she said Zambian President Frederick Chiluba and the SADC initiative had become the "accepted vehicle" for ending the conflict. With regard to US interests however, she expressed concern over "growing Libyan involvement" in the DRC, as well as Sudan "using the cover of its support for the Congo to provide additional aid to insurgent groups in Uganda".

Reiterating support for SADC and OAU regional initiatives, she said the solution would ultimately have to be found by Africans themselves. All those involved in the DRC crisis were at a "perilous crossroads", and must decide "whether to continue on the present violent path...or work in concert to find a viable diplomatic solution".

Possible merger of peace processes

Meanwhile, diplomatic sources told IRIN on Thursday there may be moves to merge the Lusaka and Sirte peace processes. Rwanda has previously stated it only recognises the Lusaka peace initiative of Frederick Chiluba, but the sources pointed out that countries such as Angola question Chiluba's neutrality. For this reason, there may be attempts to encourage Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano and President Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania to take a higher profile in the mediation.

RWANDA: Transition period extended

Rwanda's transition period, due to end on 19 July, has been extended by four years to the year 2003, the Rwanda News Agency reported. The eight political parties making up parliament and the coalition government took the decision at the end of a meeting in Kigali on Tuesday. During the various debates, all parties were agreed that the transition should be extended but differed on the time limit, with some calling for two years and others for five. The discussions centred on the fact that the government still had some objectives to meet before general elections could be held.

BURUNDI: Rebels kill 13 in southwest

Rebels have attacked Mutambara sector in Rumonge, southwest Burundi, killing 13 civilians and wounding two, the Burundi news agency ABP reported on Wednesday. Many houses were set ablaze during the attack after which the rebels ambushed an NGO vehicle, injuring its occupant, the news agency said.

Meanwhile, reports from Ruziba zone, some 10 km south of Bujumbura, say rebels attempted to attack a military post, but no damage was reported, ABP said. Some of the rebels retreated towards the hills above the Imbo plain as others mingled with the local population. ABP reported on Tuesday that security forces and the local administration, assisted by residents, had regrouped in the surrounding hills to "protect the population against rebel atrocities".

UGANDA: Over 30 arrested in connection with bomb blasts

More than 30 people have been arrested in the last two months in connection with a series of bomb blasts, mostly in Kampala. Quoting State Minister for Security Muruli Mukasa, the semi-official 'New Vision' newspaper said most of the detainees were believed to be rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). The independent 'Monitor' newspaper further said most of those arrested were Muslims.

Museveni urges rebels to accept amnesty

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Wednesday urged rebels in the country to accept his recent amnesty offer, warning them that if more people died despite the concession "then you will see our true colours". Addressing the nation over Ugandan radio on the 10th anniversary of Heroes' Day, Museveni added: "I can assure you that from our side we shall honour our pledge not to do any damage to these criminals if they come back, since we have already given our word." he said. "But if they don't, then we shall solve this problem the way we have solved all other problems before."

Nairobi, 10 June 1999, 14:45 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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