IRIN-CEA Update 790 [19991029]

IRIN-CEA Update 790 [19991029]

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 790 for the Great Lakes (Friday 29 October 1999)


DRC: RCD reshuffles departments DRC: Tens of thousands flee ethnic clashes in Bunia DRC: UN mission clouded by controversy DRC: Kabila addresses "new army" DRC: Concern over continued harassment of Tutsis BURUNDI: UN official to assess "vacuum" in peace process BURUNDI: Regional summit mooted BURUNDI: Army kills 20 rebels BURUNDI: CNDD-FDD again warns of army "attack" on Tanzania BURUNDI: Belgium pledges humanitarian aid BURUNDI: Some sites remain inaccessible RWANDA: Slow juvenile justice system

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: RCD reshuffles departments

The rebel Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD-Goma) has reshuffled its administration, reducing the number of departments from 24 to 16. According to a list received by IRIN on Friday, the men at the top stay the same with Dr Emile Ilunga as president, Commander Jean-Pierre Ondekane as first vice-president and Maitre Moise Nyarugabo as second vice-president. A press statement issued by the RCD said the changes were made after a meeting of the political bureau on Tuesday. The reshuffle was necessary for reasons of "efficacy", the statement said. The new team had three main objectives: 1. better mobilisation to explain the RCD struggle to the people; 2. better use of human, material and financial resources to enhance the rebels' Armee nationale congolaise (ANC); 3. to use diplomacy and the media to better inform Africa and the world about the RCD. [See separate IRIN item for the new RCD administration]

DRC: Tens of thousands flee ethnic clashes in Bunia

The ICRC has reopened its office in the northeast Bunia region following ongoing ethnic clashes between the Wahema and Walendu people which, according to local sources, have claimed thousands of lives. In a statement, the ICRC said the office, situated in the district of Ituri near the Ugandan border, had been closed since August 1998. Many villages have been destroyed since July, and the ICRC and MSF-Holland estimate 100,000-150,000 people have fled their homes. Several thousand have found refuge in the town of Bunia. The ICRC plans to assist 25,000 people in the coming weeks.

DRC: UN mission clouded by controversy

Controversy still surrounds the deployment of members of the UN observer mission, MONUC, to parts of the DRC. DRC Interior Minister Gaetan Kakudji this week authorised MONUC to visit the rebel-held areas of Goma, Bukavu, Kisangani, Gbadolite, Lisala, Pepa, Isiro, Kabalo, Bunia, Pweto, Bumba, Kalemie, Moba, Kongolo and Kindu. However, according to a report on state television, the mission is "formally banned" from going to the government-held areas of Mbandaka, Mbuji-Mayi, Lubumbashi, Kananga, Matadi and Kamina. Two UN military liaison officers reportedly arrived in Goma in Thursday. MONUC officials say they are still awaiting security guarantees from the DRC authorities for free movement around the country.

DRC: Kabila addresses "new army"

Recruits undergoing "commando training" at the Kamina military base in Katanga province have been told by President Laurent-Desire Kabila the country is now in the process of "setting up a true army". State television said Kabila visited the base this week where soldiers have been trained by instructors from the Southern African Development Community (SADC). "We decided you needed retraining to prepare you for the task awaiting you," Kabila told the soldiers. "Your mission is to take the place of the former army which did not serve the nation honourably." The "Seventh Commando Brigade" will be led by Colonel Adruma Nsuka, the television reported.

DRC: Concern over continued harassment of Tutsis

The civil society group, la Voix des sans Voix, has expressed concern over the continued harassment of Tutsis in Kinshasa. In a statement issued this week, it called on the Kinshasa authorities to speed up the registration of Tutsis who wanted to leave and to improve conditions at the Mongafula camp where some 800 displaced Tutsis are currently living, for fear of persecution. Gabonese radio, reporting from Kinshasa, said many non-Tutsis were "flocking daily" to the DRC human rights ministry to try and register for evacuation. The radio quoted la Voix des sans Voix as saying ministry officials were exposed to corruption by Congolese individuals seeking to pressure them over the selection process.

BURUNDI: UN official to assess "vacuum" in peace process

The UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Kieran Prendergast, was due in Kenya on Friday, ahead of a visit to Burundi and other concerned African countries to discuss the Burundi situation. According to a UN spokesman, Prendergast's mission is aimed at obtaining a "first-hand understanding" of the situation and establish how the UN can help keep the peace process on track, following the death of the facilitator, Julius Nyerere. He is due to meet both Burundi government and rebel leaders. The spokesman said Nyerere's death had created a "vacuum" in the peace process which was "dangerous because of the deteriorating situation in Burundi".

BURUNDI: Regional summit mooted

Tanzanian Foreign Minister Jakaya Kikwete has indicated that a meeting of regional leaders is scheduled to take place to choose a new facilitator for the Burundi peace process, the Tanzanian 'Guardian' daily reported on Thursday. However, no date has yet been set for the meeting. In a letter to the Tanzanian government, the Burundi authorities have reportedly pledged their readiness to continue with the process, the newspaper added. Burundi is in favour of South African mediation, and some analysts believe a deal may already have been struck to bring South Africa on board.

BURUNDI: Army kills 20 rebels

The army on Wednesday night killed 20 rebels after detecting their hiding place near the capital Bujumbura, news organisations reported. Army spokesman Colonel Longin Minani was quoted as saying the hideout was discovered at Ruziba in Bujumbura Rural, from where the rebels were trying to infiltrate a nearby regroupment camp.

BURUNDI: CNDD-FDD again warns of army "attack" on Tanzania

The rebel CNDD-FDD has again claimed the Burundi army is planning to attack Tanzania "under the pretext that Tanzania is harbouring" Hutu rebels. In a statement, CNDD-FDD said Tanzania should be aware, and "not express regret afterwards for any negligence". Burundi has denied repeated allegations by the rebels that it is planning to attack Tanzania.

BURUNDI: Belgium pledges humanitarian aid

Belgium has disbursed FB 50 million (about US $1,316,000) in humanitarian aid to Burundi, within the framework of the UN's consolidated appeal. According to a statement issued by the Belgian embassy in Bujumbura, the aid is aimed at meeting the most urgent needs of affected people in the country, including those in regroupment camps. In the statement, Belgium expressed its opposition to "forced regroupment" and urged the Burundi government to allow humanitarian workers access to all the regroupment camps in the country. It also expressed support for both the internal and external peace processes.

BURUNDI: Some sites remain inaccessible

Up to 13 of the 35 newly-established regroupment sites in Bujumbura Rural remain inaccessible, WHO said. In a report received by IRIN on Friday, it said over 300,000 people were now in Bujumbura Rural's 53 regroupment areas, which included 18 previously-existing sites. In the Buhonga and Ruyaga sites, malaria was the most prevalent disease, followed by acute respiratory infections, diarrhoea and measles, the report added.

RWANDA: Slow juvenile justice system

Only 28 of the estimated 5,000 detained minors in Rwanda have gone to trial in the past five years, UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Olara Otunnu said in an annual report. Otunnu said the slow pace of the country's juvenile justice system was a source of concern. However, Otunnu added he was encouraged by efforts to address the problem of the treatment of juveniles accused of participating in the 1994 genocide. Those efforts included the establishment of a special bench for minors and separate prison wings for children. The situation of Rwandan children, 20 percent of whom are estimated to be severely traumatised, "presents an extraordinary challenge," Otunnu said in his report, presented to the UN General Assembly this week. "As they grope towards some healing and rebuilding, the people of Rwanda will need much understanding and support from the international community," the report added. Otunnu said a growing number of the world's children - now in the millions - remained the victims of war, "as its targets or as its instruments".

Nairobi, 29 October 1999, 14:00 gmt



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Item: irin-english-1882

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

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