IRIN-CEA Update 791 [19991101]

IRIN-CEA Update 791 [19991101]

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 791 for the Great Lakes (Monday 1 November 1999)


DRC: Four "operational zones" established by JMC DRC: Pledges to JMC top requirement DRC: Chiluba reiterates warning on pace of progress DRC: UN calls for written security guarantees DRC: Peace process facing deep problems DRC: Kabila calls for peace with Museveni DRC: Ugandan army in shoot out with DRC rebels DRC: War slashes government's export revenues UGANDA: Government tightens security in southwest RWANDA: Defence lawyers concerned over ICTR Rwandan appointee RWANDA: ICTR jurists due in Kigali RWANDA: Genocide suspect sentenced to death RWANDA: Premier accused of embezzlement BURUNDI: Goups float four names for facilitator BURUNDI: Refugee camp resupplied

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Four "operational zones" established by JMC

The Joint Military Commission (JMC), established under the Lusaka peace deal, on Sunday divided the country into four operational zones covering territory controlled by both the government and rebels, the independent Ugandan 'Monitor' newspaper reported on Monday. Each zone will be chaired by a military officer from a neutral African nation, identified by the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and approved by the parties to the conflict, it added.

DRC: Pledges to JMC top requirement

Eric Silwamba, Presidential Affairs Minister of Zambia which is mediating the DRC peace process, said on Saturday the JMC had sufficient money to pursue its work. The JMC chairman, Algerian general Rachid Lalali, was reported to have complained previously that it had no money for the manpower or equipment needed to implement the Lusaka ceasefire agreement. "We estimated the costs of the commission's work at US $5 million. We have raised a little more than that and expect more pledges, but money is never enough," AFP news agency reported Silwamba as saying.

DRC: Chiluba reiterates warning on pace of progress

Zambian President Frederick Chiluba, chief mediator of the Lusaka process, on Friday warned that the slow rate of progress was threatening the momentum for peace, news media reported. "While the countries of the region and all the parties to the agreement have demonstrated their commitment and willingness to implement it, we are concerned that progress has been slow," President Chiluba said at a state banquet.

DRC: UN calls for written security guarantees

The UN has called on the DRC government to provide written security guarantees ensuring freedom of movement for a UN technical survey team currently in the country. "None of the scheduled visits have taken place because of the refusal by the DRC to provide written security guarantees and freedom of movement by UN personnel to previously proposed sites," a UN spokesman said. The UN intended to press for these conditions at a meeting of the Joint Military Commission (JMC) in Lusaka on Sunday. Sources in Kinshasa confirmed to IRIN that the necessary guarantees had not been received for the technical survey team, although two military liaison officers - based outside DRC - had travelled to parts of eastern DRC.

DRC: Peace process facing deep problems

In the short term, the biggest problem facing the peace process was Kabila's refusal to allow the UN observer team to the Congo (MONUC) deploy in government-held areas, regional analyst Richard Cornwell of the Institute of Security Studies in South Africa told IRIN on Monday. In broader terms, the JMC faced the potentially crippling problem that it had been given, or taken upon itself, "massive jobs", such as tracking down and disarming ex-FAR and Interahamwe forces, but there was absolutely no guarantee of the sizeable UN peacekeeping force it envisaged taking them over. As a result, the JMC has been "left hanging in the air - it can't go forward and can't go back," Cornwell added.

DRC: Kabila calls for peace with Museveni

A letter from President Laurent Desire-Kabila to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni last week, which became the source of much media speculation, was "a personal message of peace" and contained an invitation for an intensification of dialogue on how to reach peace and enforce the Lusaka accord, news organisations reported on Monday. DRC Justice Minister Mwenze Kongolo reportedly told the independent Ugandan 'Monitor' newspaper that a bilateral meeting with Uganda would soon be held in Kinshasa, but there would be nothing of the kind with Rwanda "because it believed only in military force".

Regional analyst Richard Cornwell told IRIN on Monday there was "a very good chance" Kabila was trying to exploit a perceived rift between Uganda and Rwanda, in light of the damaging Kisangani clashes between their respective armies as well as apparently diverging strategic interests and policies.

DRC: Ugandan army in shoot out with DRC rebels

A Congolese rebel soldier was reportedly killed on Thursday following a shoot-out in Bunia between the Ugandan army and rebels of the Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie-mouvement deliberation (RCD-ML) led by Ernest Wamba dia Wamba. According to the Ugandan semi-official 'New Vision', trouble started after a large group of Uganda-trained Wamba rebels moving on foot from Beni were mistaken for Mayi Mayi militias. The paper said "poor communication" between the forces has been blamed for the chaos, which resulted in thousands of civilians fleeing into the jungles. Wamba on Friday said the incident was being investigated.

He added that as many as 3,000 of his forces have been deployed in the Ituri region to "stop the bloody conflict" between Wahema and Balendu ethnic groups over land, a conflict which erupted in July.

DRC: War slashes government's export revenues

Minister of State for Planning and Commerce Badimany Bilembu has reported a drop of over 60 percent in annual export revenues due to the war. "Most products intended for export are concentrated in rebel-held areas," state television reported Bilembu as saying. The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has predicted for 1999 and 2000 that the government will continue to struggle to raise the foreign exchange revenue it desperately needs to pay for imports. The shortage of foreign exchange would cause recurrent fuel shortages to continue, contributing to the steady depreciation of the Congolese franc and feeding inflationary pressures, since most goods are imported, the EIU added.

UGANDA: Government tightens security in southwest

The Ugandan government has tightened security in the Ibanda sub-district of Mbarara region after reports that the rebel Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) had "infiltrated" the area. The 'New Vision' quoted divisional police commander Charles Nuwagira as saying on Saturday that security checkpoints were set up in areas adjacent to Ibanda town as a "precautionary measure". He said the police had received constant reports of rebel infiltration, but there was no need for the public to worry.

RWANDA: Defence lawyers concerned over ICTR Rwandan appointee

Defence lawyers at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) have expressed "grave concern" over the appointment of a Rwandan representative to the court, the Hirondelle news agency reported. A letter, signed by 14 defence counsels, to the ICTR registry last week said it was "extremely strange that the ICTR, not being a state, should assume the power to accredit an official representative of a country". The letter said the defendants were "seized by panic". "They are expressing reticence, saying they will not testify as long as the Rwandan government representative is present," the letter added. The Rwandan representative, Martin Ngoga, was appointed last month in a move hailed by both the Rwandan government and the ICTR. The tribunal's spokesman Kingsley Moghalu told Hirondelle the concerns were "understandable, but a bit misplaced". He said the ICTR would not allow any situation in which its independence was compromised.

RWANDA: ICTR jurists due in Kigali

Judges, prosecutors and defence lawyers from the ICTR were due to visit Rwanda on Monday - the first working visit by the court to the country. The Hirondelle news agency said the jurists were working on the case of former mayor, Ignace Bagilishema, and would visit massacre sites in western Rwanda in connection with his trial. According to a press release from the ICTR, there would be no protocol visits to Rwandan officials in order not to compromise the case. The visit was requested by Bagilishema's lawyer, Francois Roux.

RWANDA: Genocide suspect sentenced to death

One genocide suspect was sentenced to death by a court in Gikongoro on Saturday for his involvement in the 1994 massacres, Rwandan radio reported. Fourteen others received life imprisonment, while other co-accused received lesser sentences. Two defendants were acquitted.

RWANDA: Premier accused of embezzlement

Rwandan Prime Minister Pierre Celestin Rwigema has been accused of embezzling World Bank funds by a parliamentary commission, Rwandan radio reported, according to news organisations. The commission, which was investigating mismanagement of an educational project, also accused the secretary of state in the agriculture ministry, Laurien Ngirabanzi, and some deputy governors and mayors. Rwigema was accused of diverting funds to build two new schools in his home prefecture of Gitarama, which were not envisaged in the US $26.9 million project. Parliament now has to take a decision on whether to prosecute. Rwigema has denied any involvement.

BURUNDI: Goups float four names for facilitator

The names of four prominent Africans have been proposed by Burundian groups seeking a replacement for the peace talks facilitator, Julius Nyerere. 'The EastAfrican' newspaper reported on Monday that delegates from CNDD, PARENA and FRODEBU, who met in Dar es Salaam last week, put forward the names of former Botswanan president Ketumile Masire, former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda and former Tanzanian premiers John Malecela and Judge Joseph Warioba. The names are expected to be submitted to a Great Lakes summit to be held later this month in Arusha. "It is only the regional summit that will decide the way forward. We are still consulting on the exact date but it will definitely be this month," Tanzanian Foreign Minister Jakaya Kikwete was quoted as saying. The paper said the Burundi government and UPRONA party did not attend the Dar consultations and would not do so "until a facilitator was found".

BURUNDI: Refugee camp resupplied

UNHCR and the NGO, CONCERN, on Thursday delivered a six-week food supply to a camp of Congolese refugees in the northwest Cibitoke province, according to a UNHCR briefing. The convoy travelled under military escort and returned safely to Bujumbura the same day. UN humanitarian operations in the country are still limited to emergency activities, with almost all projects outside Bujumbura suspended since the killing of two UN staff on 12 October. "The camp of 300 Congolese has no other means of supply," UNHCR said. It added that there had been an upsurge of Burundian refugees arriving in western Tanzania since late September.

Nairobi, 1 November 1999, 15:00 gmt


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

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