IRIN-CEA Update 774 [19991007]

IRIN-CEA Update 774 [19991007]

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 774 for the Great Lakes (Thursday 7 October 1999)


RWANDA: Ministers forced to resign RWANDA: Three dead in meningitis outbreak RWANDA: Former mayor to go on trial BURUNDI: US concerned over regroupment BURUNDI: Rebels masquerading as civilians DRC: MSF concerned by insecurity DRC: Chiluba gets tough DRC: Civil society meeting goes ahead UGANDA: Warning of rebel attack

RWANDA: Ministers forced to resign

Two government ministers have been forced to resign following their involvement in a corruption scandal, the Rwanda News Agency (RNA) reported. Parliament on Wednesday passed a vote of no-confidence in Social Affairs Minister Charles Ntakirutinka and Minister in the President's Office Anastase Gasana who were implicated in a business deal which cost the government about US $1 million, RNA said. Commerce Minister Mark Rugenera narrowly survived the vote, it added. Parliament Speaker Joseph Sebarenzi said the vote was "a clear message that members of the executive will be controlled and sanctions will be taken against them".

RWANDA: Three dead in meningitis outbreak

Three people have died in an outbreak of meningitis in central Rwanda, the World Health Organisation told IRIN on Thursday. Between 1 July and 23 September, a total of 11 cases were identified in the Musasa commune of Kigali Rural prefecture and the Nyabikenke and Kayenzi communes of Gitarama prefecture. High risk communities had received 1,200 doses of vaccine and investigations are still under way, WHO said.

RWANDA: Former mayor to go on trial

The trial of the former mayor of Bicumbi in Kigali Rural, Laurent Semanza, is due to begin at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha next month. The Hirondelle news agency reported that Semanza is charged with genocide and crimes against humanity, including incitement to rape. The trial is set for 10 November. At an initial court appearance on 24 June, Semanza pleaded not guilty to all 14 counts against him.

BURUNDI: US concerned over regroupment

The US State Department has expressed concern over the humanitarian consequences of regroupment in Bujumbura Rural. A spokesman on Wednesday said the State Department welcomed the Burundi government's decision to allow unimpeded access to the sites and called for the "humane transfer" of people in accessible sites to those within reach of humanitarian organisations. "The US condemns all attacks on civilians, from whichever side, government or rebel, that have provoked the spiralling cycle of violence in Bujumbura Rural province and throughout Burundi," the spokesman said. He urged the sides to resort to negotiations, rather than violence.

BURUNDI: Rebels masquerading as civilians

Rebels, unable to flee to the hills surrounding Bujumbura, are reported to be entering the city and masquerading as civilians, sources in the city told IRIN on Thursday. Residents say they can be identified because they are asking the way to certain areas of the city. The army is reportedly cornering and detaining them in various suburbs.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: MSF concerned by insecurity

Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) has said mounting tension and insecurity in eastern DRC is giving cause for concern. In a news update, received by IRIN, MSF said that over the past three weeks, there had been attacks on NGO staff and vehicles around Bukavu. Food prices have doubled due to the war. MSF also said it had opened two more feeding centres in eastern DRC, as the existing three were overstretched. Measles and cholera outbreaks among 50,000 displaced people have been kept under control, and 35,000 children have been vaccinated. MSF said it plans to start a basic healthcare project for 46,000 displaced people in Kichanga, northwest of Goma.

DRC: Chiluba gets tough

Zambian President Frederick Chiluba, who is mediating the DRC peace process, has called on the Joint Military Council (JMC) to begin the immediate implementation of the Lusaka peace accord. The 'Times of Zambia' said he told journalists on Tuesday it was the JMC's role to ensure the peace process was not derailed. "We are saying the JMC must start work now to address the skirmishes where they have been reported," he added, referring to reports of ceasefire violations in DRC.

DRC: Civil society meeting goes ahead

Civil society groups have finally kicked off a delayed workshop on peace and reconciliation in the capital Kinshasa, news organisations reported. Some delegates, particularly those from rebel-held areas, had previously been prevented from attending the meetings by DRC security forces. The workshop, due to start Monday, began on Wednesday and was addressed by Justice Minister Mwenze Kongolo who said civil society groups should be encouraged to play a greater role in the peace process.

UGANDA: Warning of rebel attack

Residents of Bugoge village in Mukono district, northeast of Kampala, say they have received threatening letters warning of impending attack by the rebel Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). The independent 'Monitor' newspaper said a security meeting held in the area recently learnt that villagers had experienced numerous incidents of food and animal theft of late. The Mukono resident district commissioner warned villagers not to harbour "bad elements". Analysts point out the ADF rebels are usually active in western areas bordering DRC, and this would represent an escalation of their activities.

Nairobi, 7 October 1999, 14:00 gmt


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Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 1999

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

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