IRIN Weekly Round-up 28-98 3-9 July 1998.7.10

IRIN Weekly Round-up 28-98 3-9 July 1998.7.10

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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[The weekly roundup is based on IRIN daily updates and other relevant information from UN agencies, NGOs, governments, donors and the media. IRIN issues these reports for the benefit of the humanitarian community, but accepts no responsibility as to the accuracy of the original sources.]

Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Weekly Round-up 28-98 covering the period 3-9 July 1998

UGANDA: Army relocates base to eastern DRC

The Ugandan army has relocated its tactical headquarters in the west to neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo to try and wipe out rebels operating in the Ruwenzori mountains, the state-owned 'New Vision' reported on Saturday. It said the base had been moved from Kiraro in Kasese district to Ntabi in the DRC. Last week Ntabi, which served as rear base for Allied Democratic Forces rebels, was overrun by the Ugandan army although most of the rebels managed to flee.

Over 50 rebels said killed in government offensive

Over 50 rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) have been killed in a new army offensive to flush them from their hideouts in the Ruwenzori mountains, the state-owned 'New Vision' reported on Tuesday. It said an unspecified number of civilian hostages had also been freed. The operation is led by acting army chief of staff Brigadier James Kazini. The newspaper said 15 ADF camps had been destroyed last month.

Meanwhile, the Bundibugyo district commissioner told AFP an estimated 100 rebels overran Congolese troops at a camp in Kikura on Saturday, killing two people and abducting a number of others.

Repatriation of DRC refugees "smooth but slow"

The repatriation of 9,000 DRC refugees from Kyaka II settlement in western Uganda is going smoothly but slowly, due to bad weather and road conditions, a UNHCR spokesperson told IRIN on Tuesday. The refugees have registered for voluntary repatriation, and 4,900 of them have already been repatriated to their home area, Kamango. UNHCR noted there was only one mountain road leading to Kamango situated in an enclave between Uganda and the Virunga park in North Kivu. The spokesperson said security had to be reinforced following rebel activities in Uganda's Kabarole district. According to an OCHA report on affected populations in the Great Lakes region, Uganda hosts some 188,573 refugees, including 161,500 Sudanese.

Over 2,000 homeless in flash floods

Flash flooding in Kyoga county of Lira district has left 2,200 homeless, according to a preliminary assessment by the local government. Disaster Preparedness Minister Paul Etiang has appealed for urgent food and shelter assistance. WFP told IRIN it was unknown to what extent non-food relief items were needed, but it was planning to send a month's supply pending a more in-depth evaluation.

74 deaths confirmed after clashes near Kenyan border

At least 74 people were confirmed dead after heavy fighting between ethnic communities inside Ugandan territory last week, Kenyan KTN television reported on Friday. It said violence broke out after Kenyan Pokot cattle raiders crossed into Ugandan territory and clashes ensued with Karamojong warriors there. West Pokot District Commissioner Nathan Hiribae was quoted as saying 36 "heavily-armed" Pokots and 38 Karamojong died. According to AFP, Kenyan Rift Valley Provicincial Commissioner Francis Baya said peace meetings would soon be convened between the two sides.

Kony returns to Sudan

Joseph Kony, leader of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), has returned to his rear bases in Sudan after earlier entering Uganda, the 'Sunday Vision' reported. According to the paper, his group took with it several abductees, including five schoolgirls. The paper said the return to Sudan was due to "mounting pressure" by the Ugandan army. Meanwhile, the 'New Vision' on Monday reported that five Ugandan rebel groups had met in Khartoum to form a joint leadership. It said they included the LRA, the Ugandan National Rescue Front II (UNRF-2), the West Nile Bank Front, the ADF and a new group the former Uganda National Army (FUNA) which was reportedly launched last month.

SUDAN: SPLA denies reports of ceasefire agreement

The Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) on Thursday denied Sudanese media reports it had agreed to a ceasefire with the govenment at a meeting mediated by the regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Nairobi last week. An SPLA official in Nairobi told IRIN "there is nothing official about it and none of the people at the top attended any such meeting or are aware of it".

According to AFP, press reports in Khartoum on Wednesday quoted an "informed" south Sudanese source as saying the rebel movement had accepted "in principle" a ceasefire at a meeting with an IGAD delegation in Nairobi. The source further said an IGAD delegation would arrive in Khartoum within the next two days for discussions with Sudenese government officials on the ceasefire proposal and arrangements for a next round of negotiations. However, the head of the IGAD Secretariat in Nairobi, Bruce Madete, told IRIN he was not aware of IGAD's involvement in such a meeting last week. "I think this is pure fabrication " he said.

Rebels claim 19 fighters killed in east

The rebel Sudan Alliance Forces (SAF) have said they killed 19 Sudanese government troops and Eritrean militiamen in two separate attacks. According to news reports, an SAF statement on Wednesday claimed 11 Eritrean jihad members were killed in a dawn attack on their vehicle about 85 km west of the eastern Sudanese town of Kassala. In another attack on a government surveillance site some 32 km southwest of Kassala, eight soldiers were killed, the statement said. Three SAF fighters were reportedly wounded.

Foreign aid agencies banned from Eritrean border area

Sudanese press reports on Tuesday said foreign relief agencies would no longer be allowed to operate among Sudanese displaced people on the border with Eritrea due to anti-government incursions. AFP cited the official 'al-Anbaa' daily as saying some NGOs in the Kassala area were "interfering in the country's domestic affairs by perpetrating non-humanitarian activities". The state legislative council had decided instead to encourage "self-reliance". Aid would be offered by federal and state institutions and national relief agencies, the paper was quoted as saying.

Insecurity hampering assistance in south, MSF says

MSF has warned that insecurity in south Sudan is seriously hampering food deliveries urgently needed in the region. In a news release, received by IRIN on Tuesday, the NGO said humanitarian agencies were forced to pull out of Western Upper Nile state on 29 June due to fighting in the area, leaving 751 children without life-saving supplementary and therapeutic food. Reports from Leer town indicated that a number of buildings had been burned to the ground and aid workers' compounds looted. MSF said peace was essential if humanitarian assistance was to prevent further starvation. Meanwhile, the German government announced it had earmarked US $1.4 million in aid for south Sudan.

Alleged bomb suspects detained

The Sudanese interior ministry announced late Friday that those involved in a string of bomb attacks in Khartoum last week have been detained, AFP reported. According to the ministry, security officials rounded up a number of suspects and obtained full confessions. President Omar al-Bashir meanwhile has accused opposition members of being behind the attacks which targeted power and other vital installations. The Cairo branch of the Sudanese Human Rights Organisation (SHRO) issued a list of those it says are detained by the Khartoum authorities. They were questioned "about their opinion of the new constitution and their refusal to work within the governmental organisations". The SHRO called for the immediate release of detainees and for those accused to be brought to trial.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Angolan refugees converging on three provinces

Humanitarian sources on Thursday confirmed to IRIN there are an estimated 20,000 Angolan refugees in the Dilolo district of Katanga province. Most of them have fled fighting in Luau in Angola's Moxico province. Of these, 12,000 have been accommodated in the Kivuma, Kisengi and Tshbumbulu sites which were set up for the old caseload Angolan refugees. Katanga Governor Augustin Katumba Mwanke, who visited the sites this week, assured the refugees that measures will be taken to provide adequate housing and healthcare, the Agence congolaise de presse (ACP) reported.

Tshisekedi agrees to work with Kabila

Opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi on Tuesday agreed to work with President Laurent-Desire Kabila on devising a new constitution for the country, but urged the Congolese to resist attempts to install a "new dictatorship". According to Reuters, he told a news conference that Kabila should be pressured to ensure the rule of law. The leader of the Union pour la democratie et le progres social (UDPS), recently released from internal exile, said his supporters "must work with the ADFL". "We'll work together within the framework of a news constitution we'll design together," he said.

RWANDA: Agreement with Tanzania to boost economic ties

President Pasteur Bizimungu on Tuesday returned home from a three-day state visit to Tanzania during which he signed an agreement on political and economic cooperation, Rwandan radio reported. He said the Rwandan government had been granted a piece of land in Dar es Salaam where it would build its own warehouses to facilitate port arrivals and departures. The two sides agreed to improve road and rail links between their countries. Bizimungu reiterated his call to the international community to help Rwanda's rehabilitation.

Tanzania to arrest genocide suspects

In another development, President Benjamin Mkapa said Tanzania planned to arrest some genocide suspects after receiving a list from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, AP reported. He told a news conference Tanzania was currently following legal procedures to carry out the arrests. "But be assured we will do it very soon," he said.

Kagame calls for non-ethnic democracy

On Saturday, Rwanda celebrated the fourth anniversary of Kigali's liberation with a call by Vice-President Paul Kagame to build a democracy "based on people and not on ethnicity". According to the Rwanda News Agency, he condemned "those who want us to move backwards". At a rally, he called for "sweeping away the political dirt in our country". In his speech, President Pasteur Bizimungu took issue with corruption, laziness, incompetence, genocide ideology and the justice system. He said those "who think the liberation was carried out for them alone are wrong as are those who think the liberation does not concern them".

Three nuns kidnapped by rebels

Three nuns, two Rwandans and one Canadian, have been kidnapped during a raid by suspected Hutu rebels in Byumba province, the BBC reported. It said the insurgents raided Bugwe in Kivuye commune on Tuesday night, reportedly killing a local official and robbing a bank, as well as attacking a religious compound.

Government convinced Horn conflict will be resolved "soon"

The Rwandan government has expressed optimism regarding a resolution of the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea. In an interview with the Rwanda News Agency, the minister at the presidency, Patrick Mazimhaka, declared that relations between the two countries "could be re-established in the very near future". He said that despite Rwanda's withdrawal from the OAU mediation team, Kigali was continuing its intervention at bilateral level "through direct negotiations with leaders of the two countries and via diplomatic channels". According to Mazimhaka, both Eritrea and Ethiopia were in agreement on the "basic issues" and were "only divided over one point". "There will be no war," he stated.

Ugandan President Yoweri Musveni meanwhile embarked on a mediation mission this week, with visits to Asmara and Addis Ababa before going on to South Africa for talks with President Nelson Mandela.

BURUNDI: 19 killed in rebel attacks

At least 19 people, including 10 rebels, have been killed in two separate rebel attacks in southern Burundi, state radio reported on Monday. An army spokesman was quoted as saying five civilians were killed in Makamba province on Saturday, while four civilians were killed on "route nationale 3" when their minibus came under fire. In the first incident, security forces intervened killing some 10 rebels, the spokesman added. The violence comes after 17 sides in the Burundi conflict, including the government, signed an accord in Arusha last month pledging to cease hostilities from 20 July.

Minister warns sanctions may harm peace process

Foreign Minister Severin Ntahomvukiye has warned that continuing sanctions may jeopardise peace efforts currently underway in Burundi. Addressing the diplomatic community in Bujumbura on Tuesday, he stressed lifting the embargo was an "urgent necessity for the smooth running of the peace talks", ABP reported. He asked how could the peace process succeed, while the "erosion" of living standards risked leading to an implosion of society.

KENYA: ICRC helps displaced in Rift Valley

ICRC said in a newsletter received by IRIN on Thursday that it had completed relief distributions to over 5,000 displaced persons in Kenya's Rift Valley, most of them women and children.

It was the second round of distributions for thousands of uprooted Kenyans in the Nakuru and Laikipia districts. With support from the ICRC, the Kenya Red Cross Society had already given them emergency aid in February and March and begun to provide longer-term assistance in May, it said. At present calm has returned to Laikipia, but tension is still rife in some areas of Nakuru and the ICRC said many people were reluctant to return to their homes. Living conditions in these camps have been deteriorating and inadequate sanitation and overcrowding pose a constant threat of infectious diseases.

CHILDREN: Third of world's infants unregistered

UNICEF has said nearly a third of the world's children risk missing out on education, healthcare and voting rights because their births are not registered. In a report, it notes around 40 million children are affected, especially in southeast Asia, the Pacific and sub-Saharan Africa. The latter has one of the lowest registration rates, with millions of children missing from population statistics, which affects the way government and international organisations plan essential services.

Nairobi, 10 July 1998


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Date: Fri, 10 Jul 1998 12:15:58 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Weekly Round-up 28-98 3-9 July 1998.7.10 Message-ID: <>

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

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