IRIN-CEA Update No. 764 [19990923]

IRIN-CEA Update No. 764 [19990923]

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. 764 for Central and Eastern Africa (Thursday 23 September 1999)

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Annan pleased with voter "maturity"

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Wednesday expressed his satisfaction at the peaceful manner in which people participated in the first round of presidential elections last Sunday. "The Secretary-General congratulates all political participants and the people of the Central African Republic on their display of maturity and calm during this democratic event," a spokesman for Annan said in New York. The significant turnout underlined people's desire for stability, democracy and development, he added.

Meanwhile, about 80,000 people cast their votes on Wednesday in some 20 polling stations in isolated areas, where electoral materials could not be delivered by last Sunday, Gabon's Africa Number 1 radio reported. First round election results are due by 3 October.

Refugees in "unacceptable" situation - MSF

Congolese refugees in a temporary camp at Bangui's main port are in an "unacceptable" situation and their health condition continues to deteriorate, MSF-Spain said on Wednesday. In a press statement, MSF said some 2,500 refugees had been waiting for months to be repatriated to Kinshasa. Daily food assistance for the already vulnerable refugees was suspended on Monday, and nine refugees at the port died two weeks ago when a brick wall collapsed on them, the statement added. MSF, which runs a clinic at the site, called on UNHCR and CAR authorities to respect the refugees' rights and "immediately improve" their living conditions.

Lack of "clearance" delaying return

A UNHCR official in Bangui told IRIN on Thursday that the majority of some 2,000 refugees at the port - mainly women and children - had not yet received clearance from the Congolese authorities to allow their repatriation, but a team would be arriving soon to screen them. Meanwhile, funding problems had temporarily disrupted the provision of cooked meals at the port, but "the food situation will be addressed as a matter of urgency," he said. The longer the refugees remained at the port, the more precarious their situation would become, the official noted. "This was a transit arrangement," he said, adding that the refugees did not want to be relocated to the Boubou refugee camp, some 300 km from Bangui, where they could benefit from WFP food assistance.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: EU "deeply concerned" at peace implementation

The European Union (EU) on Wednesday expressed its deep concern at the delay in the implementation of the DRC peace process, as well as "continued military activities and hostile propaganda", and urged all parties to the conflict to fully abide by both the contents and timetable of the Lusaka agreement. "The essential requirements for the implementation of the agreement have not been fulfilled," the statement said, citing as examples the selection of a facilitator for the national dialogue and the appointment of representatives for the Joint Military Commission, a press release from the Finnish presidency of the EU stated. Nonetheless, the EU continued to be willing to support DRC peace efforts, it added.

Rival governorships exacerbate RCD tensions

Ernest Wamba dia Wamba's faction of the rebel Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD) has elected a new "governor" for North Kivu province, rivalling the office of governor Leonard Kanyamuhanga Gafundi who is supported by the RCD-Goma faction, news agencies said on Thursday. The Wamba-allied governor, Kaisazire Mbaki, will be based in Beni. His appointment has again increased tensions between the two factions and threatened to lead to conflict in areas between their provincial strongholds, the semi-official Ugandan newspaper 'New Vision' reported. Wamba's spokesman, Suddin bin Museme, was quoted as saying the decision to hold the election for governor was taken in response to the recent treaty between RCD-Goma and Kigali that effectively "annexed" parts of the DRC to Rwanda.

While Wamba's faction dominated Beni, Bunia and Isiro, and the Goma faction of Emile Ilunga dominated Bukavu, Goma and Rutshuru, tension and civilian fear of clashes were high in areas of potential contest like Mapenga, Kamande, Luofu, Kabasha and Bulindi, the 'New Vision' reported.

Wamba favours Saint Egidio as sole facilitator

Meanwhile, Wamba's group on Thursday announced that it favoured the Rome-based Catholic Saint Egidio Community as "the sole neutral facilitator of the national dialogue" on the country's political future. However, other individuals could be included as "neutral observers of the peace process," the group said in a press statement received by IRIN. A single mediator would "avoid the confusion that may come about if there were two or more facilitators involved," it added.

Father Matteo Zuppi of the Saint Egidio Community and Derlin Zinsou, former president of Benin who is another proposed facilitator, met with President Laurent-Desire Kabila in Kinshasa on Wednesday, news agencies said.

Mayi-Mayi angry about "exclusion"

A group representing the Mayi-Mayi have called on the national debate's facilitators to include them as full participants in the negotiations. In a statement received by IRIN on Thursday, the Forces Patriotiques et Forces d'Auto-Defense Populaires (FAP) said it was "bitter" that the Mayi-Mayi were excluded from the Lusaka ceasefire agreement and DRC peace process. A FAP "crisis committee", led by Joseph Yumbu Ndjo Mwanabo, was created on Monday, the statement added.

BURUNDI: Five killed in attack

Five people were burnt to death and others were injured in rebel attacks on two vehicles some 10 km north of Bujumbura on Tuesday, the Burundi news agency reported. The victims were heading towards Bubanza when the vehicles were attacked in coffee plantations near Kivoga, it said.

RWANDA: Former Cyangugu administrator rearrested on genocide charges

Former Deputy-Governor of Cyangugu District, Theodore Munyengabe, who was freed two months ago after an earlier genocide conviction, has been rearrested on new genocide charges, Rwanda News Agency (RNA) reported on Wednesday. "New charges implicating him in the genocide were found, and he was subsequently rearrested" last Friday, RNA quoted an official from the prosecutor's office in Cyangugu as saying. Munyengabe had been sentenced to death for allegedly playing a key role in the slaughter of people in Kibuye commune in 1994, but he had his conviction quashed and was set free by the Court of Appeal in July.

REPUBLIC OF CONGO: 100,000 displaced remain "unaccounted for"

While most residents displaced by conflict last year have returned to their homes in the Bacongo and Makelekele areas of southern Brazzaville since mid-May, about 100,000 internally-displaced persons (IDPs) remain unaccounted for, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said in a regional situation report. "Humanitarian agencies operating in Brazzaville have expressed great concern over the fate of these 100,000 people who have been without any assistance since December 1998," it said. The Red Cross Movement is currently assisting up to 60,000 displaced persons in Brazzaville, and plans are underway to help 30,000 IDPs and their host families in the southern port city of Pointe-Noire, the report said.

KENYA/UGANDA: Karamojong warriors to be disarmed

Ugandan Prime Minister Apollo Nsibambi told parliament on Tuesday that Kenya and Uganda are to carry out a joint operation to disarm the Karamojong and Turkana groups, the 'New Vision' reported on Wednesday. "Government is liaising along with that of Kenya, Sudan and Ethiopia within the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to carry out simultaneous disarmament in this part of eastern Africa and to stop further influx of weapons into Karamoja," Nsibambi was quoted as saying.

TANZANIA: Over half a million reported to be AIDS infected

A total of 109,863 AIDS cases have been reported in Tanzania but over 550,000 people are believed to be suffering from the disease, Minister of State Edward Lowassa said on Wednesday in Dar es Salaam at the launch of the UNFPA State of the World 1999 Report. Describing HIV/AIDS as the greatest health scourge facing Tanzanians, Lowassa said it had orphaned 300,000 children and already affected more than 10 percent of blood donors in the country, news agencies reported. Over 1.5 million Tanzanians are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, Lowassa added.

Zanzibar police deny orders to arrest opposition party activists

Police in Zanzibar on Wednesday denied a reported statement by Attorney-General Mohamed Ali Omar that he had ordered the arrest of 10 members of the Civic United Front (CUF) opposition political party on treason charges. Zanzibar's Director of Criminal Investigation Ali Omar said his office had not received any order to arrest them.

Nairobi, 23 September 1999, 16:00 gmt


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Item: irin-english-1657

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

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