IRIN Update 692 for 14 June [19990614]

IRIN Update 692 for 14 June [19990614]

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. 692 for Central and Eastern Africa (Monday 14 June 1999)

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Rebel factions agree to "present a united front"

The three Congolese rebel factions have agreed in principle to "harmonise their differences and present a united front" in opposition to President Laurent-Desire Kabila for the Lusaka peace talks later this month during a four-day reconciliation meeting in Kabale, western Uganda. "The differences we have are small, but our ultimate goal is the same", a senior figure in one of the rebel groups (RCD - Goma faction), Bizima Karaha, told IRIN on Monday.

"All of us want a political solution. We know what we want, we have the same enemy and the same objectives", he said. The common front would encompass the two factions of the Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie - RCD-Goma, headed by Emile Ilunga and backed by Rwanda, and RCD-Kisangani, headed by Ernest Wamba dia Wamba and backed by Uganda - as well as the Mouvement de liberation congolais (MLC), headed by Jean-Pierre Bemba.

Rebel attempts at harmony to continue

The RCD factions have agreed to set up a reconciliation committee to iron out their differences, and all three groups have agreed to set up a political negotiation committee, comprising three members each, to travel to Lusaka for pre-summit talks, AFP news agency reported. That arrangement will serve Uganda's purposes well as the backer of two of the groups, one observer at the Kabale meeting told IRIN on Monday.

The three groups have convened another meeting for Wednesday 16 June in Kabale to draw up a list of all demands and a strategy for the whole process ahead - a package regarding a cessation of hostilities, a ceasefire, an inter-Congolese debate and a peace conference for the Great Lakes region, according to a report on Belgian RTBF radio on Sunday. The process is intended to ultimately result in the unification of the armed opposition's infrastructures, the report added.

Kabila calls for all-out war on Rwanda

Kabila has called for "total war" against Rwanda on state radio. "The Congolese people must arm themselves. The war must be total ... The Rwandans who believe they can absorb the Congo will be absorbed themselves by the vastness of its territory. Encircled from behind, they will be wiped out," AFP news agency quoted Kabila as having said on Friday. Kabila added that Kampala was ready to sign a ceasefire, but only on the basis of UN Security Council resolution 1234, which calls for the departure of "uninvited" forces from the DRC.

Chiluba expects ceasefire agreement in Lusaka

Zambian President Frederick Chiluba said on Saturday that the Lusaka peace process had reached "a very advanced stage" and that, if all went well, he expected "a summit of heads of state to sign the ceasefire in Lusaka on the 25th of this month, AFP reported on Sunday. A team of experts has visited

DRC, Rwandan and rebel delegations in order to resolve or minimise differences in advance of a pre-summit meeting of ministers in the Zambian capital on 21 June, Chiluba added.

Gadaffi claims Kabila will meet rebels

Kabila has agreed to meet face-to-face with Congolese rebels at the peace talks in Lusaka, Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi claimed in the Zambian capital at the weekend. Gadaffi and Chiluba were reported by the BBC on Sunday to be coordinating their respective efforts to mediate an end to the war, and to be putting the finishing touches to a ceasefire package.

Mandela welcomes coordination of Libya-SADC peace processes

Outgoing South African president, Nelson Mandela, on Sunday welcomed Gadaffi's role as a facilitator in the peace process, saying South Africa appreciated Libya's coordination of its peace efforts with those of SADC, the Southern African Development Community). Mandela said SADC, on the one hand, and Libya on the other "share the view that peace in DRC can only be achieved through the withdrawal of all foreign forces and an inclusive political process of Congolese groups," Xinhua news agency reported.

Mbeki to announce DRC peace initiative

Meanwhile, South African president elect Thabo Mbeki was on Monday reported to be ready to announce a 'framework agreement' for peace in DRC during his inauguration on Wednesday. The framework calls for a ceasefire, to be implemented by South African troops, and further political negotiations, according to a 'Newsweek' magazine article cited by AFP news agency on Monday. Mbeki and senior South African officials are reported to have framed the agreement in talks with the DRC government and nine other African countries who have intervened militarily or financially in the war.

RWANDA: Father and son sentenced to death for genocide

A specialised chamber of Butare court in southern Rwanda on Friday sentenced Nsanzurugo Patrice and his son, Segatasha Daniel, to death after finding them guilty of genocide and other crimes against humanity. Another suspect, Munyakayanza, was given life imprisonment, Rwandan radio reported on Saturday. The three, all of whom had pleaded not guilty, reportedly committed the crimes in Mugusa, Butare commune.

Over 100 held after police round-up

About 110 people are still being held after a police swoop on Kigali and its environs on Sunday in a bid to fight crime, according to Rwandan interior minister, Abdul-Karim Harerimana, According to a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) report on Monday, between 400 and 500 people were arrested - contrary to earlier media reports of about 1,000 arrests - with most of the suspects later released.

WFP facing cereal shortage

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is facing a shortage of cereal rations and intends to prioritise distribution to Ndusu, Gatonde, Cyabingo and Nyarotovu communes, according to a report received by IRIN. "Attempts will be made to continue providing full rations to people in those areas. Half-rations will be distributed in Nyamugali and Nyamutera," WFP-Kigali said.

Humanitarian agencies and NGOs in Rwanda have expressed concern that the caloric intake

of the displaced population is being adversely affected by the shortage of rations, and say people at Mataba in Ndusi have been severely neglected in recent weeks. Until a proposed food distribution last week people in the area had not received assistance since the beginning of May, according to IRIN sources.

BURUNDI: PALIPEHUTU denies links with FDD, calls for united force

Burundi's rebel group, PALIPEHUTU, has denied having any links with another rebel movement, the CNDD-FDD faction. In a press statement, received on Monday by IRIN, it said its armed wing, the Forces nationales de liberation (FNL), was not fighting alongside the Forces pour la defense de la democratie (FDD). "There are no negotiations or collaborations between PALIPEHUTU and CNDD-FDD," the statement stressed. It claimed "only the FNL" was fighting the army in the provinces of Cibitoke, Bubanza, Bujumbura Rural and Ruyigi. "CNDD [FDD] should stop taking the credit for fighting carried out by the FNL, as the FDD are nowhere on the ground," the statement said. "It [CNDD-FDD] should also stop claiming other people's successes as its own."

In the statement, PALIPEHUTU, which forms part of a rebel umbrella group Union nationale de liberation (ULINA), announced the formation of a "single liberation movement", the Forces de liberation nationale (FALINA). It urged all "peace-loving Burundians" to unite together in ULINA, and to bring together their fighting forces. Finally, as PALIPEHUTU had not been invited to the Arusha peace talks, it "reserved the right to continue the armed struggle", the statement said.

Head of independent news agency reportedly detained

Dieudonne Ntakarahera, director of the independent news agency Azania, was reportedly arrested on Friday and detained at the BSR (Bureau Special de Recherche) responsible for national security, the Italian-based Missionary Service News Agency reported on Monday, citing the Burundian Net Press agency. Ntakarahera was allegedly arrested for allowing an opponent of the government's to severely criticise President Pierre Buyoya's proposed political agenda.

KENYA: Malaria outbreak kills 42 in the south west

Forty-two people have died following a malaria outbreak in Trans Mara district, southwest Kenya, in the past three weeks. Kenyan radio on Saturday quoted the area district clinical officer, David Kisha, as saying 500 patients have been treated in various health institutions in the district since the outbreak started in mid-May.

UGANDA: Ugandan army on alert at Sudan border

The Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) are on full alert at the Sudanese border following reports that an unspecified number of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels are planning to enter Uganda from bases in southern Sudan. The intelligence reports were confirmed by military officials in the northern town of Gulu, the semi-official 'Sunday Vision' newspaper reported. Meanwhile, UPDF soldiers in Adjumani district rescued at least 21 people abducted by the LRA rebels from Mahazi refugee camp last week when the rebels fled in the face of an army pursuit, the 'Sunday Vision' added.

TANZANIA: Dodoma area faces food shortages

The initial findings a joint FAO/WFP team currently assessing crop and food supplies in the field suggest that some areas in Dodoma will face food shortages after the harvest in July because of rain shortages during crop ripening, a WFP report has stated. The agency intends to distribute 1,900 of grain supplied by the government to areas affected by drought, including Iringa and Arusha. Meanwhile, over 17,000 Congolese refugees have crossed into Kigoma since the bombings of Goma and Uvira last month; they were registered on arrival at Kibirizi before their transfer to Lugufu camp, WFP added.

REPUBLIC OF CONGO: France hands over alleged assassination plotters

The French embassy in Brazzaville on Friday handed over to the authorities the three mercenaries: Richard Sarda, Fabio Vanotti and Gerard Lastrica who sought refuge there last week after escaping from prison, AFP news agency reported. The three, a Croatian, an Italian and a Frenchman, had been picked up two months ago and charged with plotting to kill President Denis Sassou-Nguesso.

Nairobi, 14 June 1999 15:00 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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