IRIN-CEA Update 780 [19991015]

IRIN-CEA Update 780 [19991015]

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 780 for the Great Lakes (Friday 15 October 1999)


BURUNDI: Government condemns "barbaric" killings in Rutana BURUNDI: Non-essential UN staff to leave BURUNDI: Rights group demands probe BURUNDI: Rebels announce truce to mark Nyerere death BURUNDI: Refugees concerned over future of Arusha process TANZANIA: UN praises Nyerere DRC: Annan hails JMC meeting DRC: Rebels impose restrictions on mining activities DRC: Rebels ban honorifics DRC: Minister urges vigilance against "suspicious individuals" RWANDA: Kigali, Kampala to support one DRC rebel group RWANDA: Kagame slams "new humanitarianism"

BURUNDI: Government condemns "barbaric" killings in Rutana

The Burundi government has expressed "profound shock and horror" over the killings of two UN expatriate staff and seven Burundians at Muzye in Rutana province on Tuesday. In a statement, received by IRIN on Friday, the government described the murders - widely believed to have been carried out by rebels of the Forces de defense pour la democratie (FDD) - as "barbaric acts". Expressing condolences to the UN, the government urged humanitarian organisations "not to be intimidated by these terrorists". It vowed to take all necessary measures to protect humanitarian workers and reiterated its call, particularly to Tanzania, for "regional cooperation in combating and neutralising this terrorism". Finally, the government said it would conduct a thorough investigation into the incident and bring those responsible to justice.

BURUNDI: Non-essential UN staff to leave

The UN has reacted by upgrading the security phase under which staff operate in Burundi. "Phase Four" has been imposed which means that non-essential international staff will leave the country, according to a UN statement. The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Sergio Vieira de Mello, who visited Burundi on Thursday met government officials and President Pierre Buyoya who assured him they would do all they could to improve security arrangements for humanitarian workers. According to a press statement by OCHA-Burundi, Vieira de Mello said violence against humanitarian staff was a violation of international law and stressed that the UN could not continue working in situations where there were no security guarantees.

BURUNDI: Rights group demands probe

The main Burundian human rights organisation, Ligue Iteka, called for an investigation into "administrative responsibility and possible negligence" which led to the Muzye murders "in a province where the precarious security conditions were known". In a statement, received by IRIN on Friday, it condemned the "brazen impunity" with which war crimes were perpetrated in Burundi. It called on the government and international community to take concrete measures against this impunity.

BURUNDI: Rebels announce truce to mark Nyerere death

Meanwhile, the rebel CNDD-FDD has announced a 48-hour ceasefire in honour of former Tanzanian president and Arusha peace process facilitator, Julius Nyerere, who died on Thursday, according to a statement issued in Brussels.

BURUNDI: Refugees concerned over future of Arusha talks

Burundian refugees living in camps in Tanzania expressed sorrow over Nyerere's death and concern for the future of the peace process. Interviewed by the BBC Kirundi service, one refugee said Nyerere had died "before the [Arusha] talks reached a meaningful phase, before the signing of a peace agreement". FRODEBU (internal) Secretary-General, Augustin Nzojibwami, said the Arusha talks would go on and another mediator would be chosen. "The urgent issue now is to stop the fighting," he told the radio. The private news agency Azania cited a diplomat in Bujumbura as saying Nyerere's death meant the facilitators were now obliged to seek fresh alternatives for the Arusha process. Noting that the process had reached a "sort of stalemate", the diplomat said "the prospect of a change gives a ray of hope". Top officials of the Nyerere Foundation are currently touring the region to discuss the future of the Arusha process with regional leaders.

TANZANIA: UN praises Nyerere

Tributes to Nyerere have been pouring in from all over the world. On the UN side, Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who arrived in London on Thursday, expressed sadness and said Nyerere had always given him good advice. "He struggled for his country and fought for independence," Annan said. "He tried to reform his country which was a major challenge. Some may think that he did not take the right route in terms of economic reforms, but he was a statesman from a region where leaders do not know how to leave office willingly." UNICEF said his death "is one of these moments which makes time stand still". In a press release, UNICEF said Nyerere "managed to forge a country which transcended ethnicity". He is to be buried on 23 October, according to Tanzanian state radio.


UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has hailed the success of the first full meeting of the Joint Military Commission (JMC) in Kampala this week. In a statement, he said the UN looked forward to working with the JMC towards the restoration of peace in the DRC. The security guarantees given in Kampala would allow the UN to proceed with the deployment of military liaison officers and civilian personnel to rear and field headquarters in the DRC, Annan said. A technical survey team would also be sent there soon to review conditions on the ground which would hopefully lead to the eventual deployment of UN peacekeepers.

DRC: Rebels impose restrictions on mining activities

The department of mines in rebel-controlled areas has issued a decree banning traders from "engaging any mineral-related activity in the entire liberated territory until a new order is given". Rebel-run Goma radio said the decree was issued due to the "urgent need to put the mineral and craft sector in order". Traders had failed to submit monthly statistics on the purchase and sales of mineral products and taxes had not been paid, the radio said.

DRC: Rebels ban honorifics

The radio also said the rebel authorities had banned the use of honorifics, both in rebel-held territory and the rest of the country. "Mr Laurent-Desire Kabila, no longer being the president of the DRC, can no longer be called excellency or president of the republic," the radio said. He could be referred to as "Mr president of the People's Power Committees of which he is the founder" or simply as "Mr Kabila". The title "excellency" was no longer applicable to members of the rebel Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD), the radio added.

DRC: Minister urges vigilance against "suspicious individuals"

DRC Interior Minister Gaetan Kakudji has called on Congolese to "remain vigilant" regarding "suspicious individuals in the streets". According to DRC state radio, he said the Security Commission had discussed the issue "to avoid an irreversible situation". "Suspicious and unknown individuals" had been noticed in Kinshasa recently. "We do not want what took us by surprise a year ago to happen again," he said. "Several foreigners are now arriving in our country. Although their stay is quite peaceful, all citizens should be vigilant so that nothing can trouble our people again."

RWANDA: Kigali, Kampala to support one DRC rebel group

Rwanda and Uganda have pledged to support a single rebel liberation movement in DRC, Rwandan radio reported on Thursday. The agreement followed a visit to Rwanda by a top-level delegation from Uganda as part of ongoing efforts to mend strained relations between the two countries after their armies clashed in Kisangani in August. "The fact that we support many different rebel groups means we lost lots of money and resources and this probably makes the help we give much less effective," Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) secretary-general Charles Murigande was quoted as saying.

RWANDA: Kagame slams "new humanitarianism"

Vice-President Paul Kagame has lashed out at the "new humanitarianism", questioning the effectiveness of international relief agencies. Opening a workshop on "humanitarianism and conflict in Africa", being held in Kigali, he said international agencies and NGOs dominated the humanitarian landscape. "But how disinterested and apolitical are they?", he asked, according to Uganda's 'Monitor' newspaper. "How effective are they in empowering the African people to take charge of their own destiny?" Kagame said humanitarianism sometimes became a "pretext for blatant military intervention", citing France's 'Operation Turquoise' in Rwanda in 1994. He also condemned the international community's "double standards" as highlighted by events in Bosnia, Kosovo and East Timor. "We are yet to witness a similar level of interest in Africa," he said.

Nairobi, 15 October 1999, 13:50 gmt


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Item: irin-english-1788

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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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