Great Lakes: IRIN Update 73, 1/7/97

Great Lakes: IRIN Update 73, 1/7/97


Department of Humanitarian Affairs

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IRIN Emergency Update No.73 on the Great Lakes (Tuesday 7 January 1997)

# A statement issued by Zaire and Kenya yesterday after talks between Presidents Mobutu and Moi stressed that national sovereignty, territorial integrity, inviolability of national boundaries and citizenship issues were not negotiable. The one-day meeting in Gbadolite, Zaire, was aimed at briefing Mobutu on the decisions taken by an African leaders' summit in Nairobi last month, which Zaire failed to attend. Kenyan radio reported that the Zairean side stressed its priorities were to "sustain the war effort to put an end to the major obstacle in the occupation of a portion of Zairean territory by the enemy". The joint statement said another priority was to "put the finishing touches to the democratisation process in respect of the electoral agenda". The two leaders deplored the international community's "indecisiveness" regarding the Great Lakes situation and its failure to implement UN Security Council resolutions on the deployment of a multinational force.

# According to AFP, a former Zairean information minister and currently a member of parliament, Anicet Kashamura, has announced his decision to join the rebel Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire. AFP said he made the announcement during a visit to Paris where he called on foreign powers, especially the USA, France and Belgium, to support rebel leader Laurent Kabila.

# An investigation has opened into a German company suspected of exporting arms illegally to Burundi, after customs officers at Brussels airport last month seized engines from former Soviet armoured vehicles, gearboxes and other parts from the Fahrzeugwerke Neubrandenburg firm. A spokesman for the court in Neubrandenburg said the company was suspected of trying to export the goods illegally to Burundi through Belgium after a request for an export licence was turned down by the German authorities in October. However the firm has denied the accusations.

# Burundi's political parties are to take part in a national debate on January 27. The minister for institutional reforms Eugene Nindorera announced that the four-day debate would include about 60 people from across the political spectrum. However the main Hutu rebel group, National Council for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD), will not be invited to take part. The debate will cover five main themes: 1.the causes of the world's divisions and wars 2.the peace process and reconciliation in Africa 3.the nature of the Burundi conflict 4.past debates on national unity and the democratisation of Burundi 5.steps to resolve the Burundi conflict. Burundi radio said a special envoy of US President Bill Clinton arrived in Bujumbura yesterday but the reason for the visit was not yet known.

# Eight assailants died and one was captured after "infiltrators" exchanged fire with Rwandan soldiers in Ruhengeri prefecture over the weekend, Rwandan radio reported. It said one soldier and an unknown number of civilians were also killed. The gunmen apparently hid in someone's house and their intention was to free prisoners from a local jail and force local leaders to give them identity cards. Weapons were captured from the attackers. On Sunday night, a family of six and three children were killed by gunmen in Gitarama, the radio said. IRIN yesterday reported that similar incidents had occurred in the Gisenyi area last month, in which at least 10 people were killed.

# The UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) resumes in Arusha, Tanzania, on Thursday with the trial of Jean-Paul Akayesu. A Tribunal spokesman told AFP that Akayesu, who has already changed lawyers twice, would now be defended by Nicholas Tiangaye, a barrister from the Central Africa Republic who once represented CAR dictator Jean-Bedel Bokassa.

# The authorities in Arusha yesterday ordered the seizure of public transport buses operated by refugees, in a bid to step up efforts aimed at forcing illegal aliens out of the country. The regional administrator, quoted by AFP, accused the refugees of "masquerading" as businessmen to avoid repatriation. He said most foreigners were engaged in the transport business. Local officials were given a month to impound all buses owned by refugees.

# UNHCR repatriation figures for 1996 showed that a total of 1,300,582 refugees returned home last year. Of these, 719,307 returned from Zaire, 483,445 from Tanzania, 88,309 from Burundi and 9,521 from Uganda.

Nairobi, 7 January 1997, 13:40 gmt [ENDS]

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Date: Tue, 7 Jan 1997 17:48:58 +0300 From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Update 73 for 7 Jan 1997 97.1.7 Message-ID: <>

Editor: Ali Dinar,