UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
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-CEA Update No. 726 for Central and Eastern Africa (Friday 30 July 1999)
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Attempts to reconcile warring tribes
Attempts are underway to reconcile warring ethnic groups in the Bunia region of northeastern DRC, according to Radio Candip in Bunia. IRIN on Thursday quoted sources in touch with the region who reported hundreds of dead and thousands of displaced due to ongoing tribal fighting in the Djugu area. Radio Candip on Friday said a reconciliation meeting between the Walendu and Wahema (Wagegere) groups began on Thursday with some 450 people present, and was due to continue Friday. The governor of the newly-declared "autonomous province" of Kibali-Ituri addressed the session, according to the radio. The rapporteur for the Kisangani-based rebel Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD), Jacques Depelchin, told IRIN on Friday that while his group was in control of the Bunia region, it had not declared an "autonomous province" to create a power base there. The deputy governor of Kisangani was sent to the area to "cool tensions", he said.
RCD-Kisangani denies losing support
Depelchin also denied claims that the group no longer had any followers nor military support. He told IRIN that faction leader Ernest Wamba dia Wamba still had "thousands" of supporters. Depelchin maintained the group was still the legal representative of the RCD because it still adhered to the movement's original institutions. "The RCD-Goma have changed the organs," he said. "They take their cue from Rwanda." With reference to the recent meeting in Dar es Salaam, he said the Tanzanian authorities were making a "last-ditch attempt" to resolve the issue as to which rebel group should sign the Lusaka peace accord. His group was in favour of three separate signatures by RCD-Kisangani, RCD-Goma and the Mouvement de liberation congolais (MLC). He said there was provision in the accord for appending a third rebel signature. Depelchin further denied reports of secret meetings between Wamba and President Laurent-Desire Kabila. He said Kabila had requested a meeting with Wamba when the two men were in Zimbabwe recently, but the latter had declined.
Kabila bans rebroadcasting of foreign radios
President Laurent-Desire Kabila's government has banned the rebroadcasting of foreign news bulletins, Reuters reported on Thursday. A letter sent to local radio and television stations by Information Minister Didier Mumengi said a monitoring commission had found that the local networks had not fulfilled their licensing commitments for such programmes, especially with regard to "co-production and royalties". Reuters noted the ban affects institutions such as the BBC, Radio France Internationale and the Voice of America. The letter warned that "punitive measures" would be taken against stations that did not comply with the regulation.
South Africa denies supplying arms to rebels
South Africa has denied allegations it is supplying military equipment to rebels operating in DRC. "All weapons sales are vetted by cabinet committee, and any such transaction would be published," foreign ministry spokesman Marco Boni told IRIN. "It is the policy of the South African government only to sell weapons, after careful consideration and vetting, to legitimate governments, and under no circumstances to rebel movements. It is also our policy not to sell weapons to nations at war."
UGANDA: Talks with Zimbabwe envisaged on troop pullout
Foreign Minister Eriya Kategaya has said his country will talk to "Zimbabwe and other interested parties" about withdrawing troops from the DRC so that the Lusaka ceasefire accord can be implemented, the semi-official 'New Vision' reported on Thursday. He also told a parliamentary committee meeting that Uganda was mediating in talks between rival RCD leaders Ernest Wamba dia Wamba and Emile Ilunga, as well as MLC leader Jean-Pierre Bemba so that they "reach a common understanding".
RWANDA: ICTR asked to assure safety of genocide suspect
Lawyers for Theoneste Bagosora, former directeur de cabinet at the Rwandan Ministry of Defence, who is currently awaiting trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), have made an urgent request to the court for special measures to ensure the safety of genocide suspect Bernard Ntuyahaga. They want the Ntuyahaga, a former Rwandan army officer, to appear as a witness for Bagosora. He is currently being held by the Tanzanian authorities, pending possible extradition to Rwanda. Claiming that Ntuyahaga was in potential danger, the lawyers requested that the ICTR take "all necessary steps" to ensure his safety and security until Bagosora came to trial. The defence team also requested the ICTR to order Tanzania "not to extradite or expel Bernard Ntuyahaga to any country, and especially not to Rwanda" because that would make it "extremely unlikely" that he could testify for Bogosora, the independent Hirondelle news agency reported on Friday.
Meanwhile, Ntuyahaga's Belgian lawyer, Luc de Temmerman, said he had "sufficient reports and witness statements to prove that he did not participate at all during the Rwandan tragedy", and that he planned to call several witnesses living in Belgium, including the judge who carried out investigations in Rwanda, for the defence. De Temmerman added that he would do everything in his power to persuade the Tanzanian authorities to reject Rwanda's extradition request and allow him to testify in Belgium, Hirondelle reported.
RWANDA-BURUNDI: Joint Commission lifts mutual visa requirements
The fourth Joint Commission of Rwanda and Burundi, which ended a week-long meeting on Friday, has agreed to remove visa requirements to allow free movement of citizens between the two countries. "The free visa is an innovation which will certainly be appreciated by our respective peoples", Burundi radio quoted Rwandan Foreign Minister Augustin Iyamuremye as saying. Rwanda was also satisfied with the improved security situation on the countries' mutual border and "the common will to eradicate the ideology of genocide", Iyamuremye added.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Ten presidential candidates confirmed
The Constitutional Court in Bangui on Friday published the official list of 10 candidates for the presidential election, the first round of which is scheduled for late August. The country's five leading political figures have declared their candidacy as expected, Radio France Internationale reported. They included President Ange-Felix Patasse, two former heads of state, Andre Kolingba and David Dacko, and two former prime ministers, Enoch-Derant Lakoue and Jean-Paul Ngoupande. The other candidates confirmed were: Abel Goumba, who was unsuccessful in the 1993 presidential elections; Justice Henri Pouzere, a lawyer at Libreville Courts; businessman Joseph Abossolo; former minister Charles Massi; and telecommunications engineer Fidele Ngouanjika.
Nairobi, 30 July 1999, 13:45 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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