IRIN-CEA Update 797 [19991110]

IRIN-CEA Update 797 [19991110]

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 797 for the Great Lakes (Tuesday 9 November 1999)


DRC: Kabila's "boasting" could be the end, rebels warn DRC: Four JMC working groups to work on crucial issues DRC: UN peace envoy in Kinshasa DRC: No flight clearance for survey team DRC: France seeks security guarantees for observers DRC: Journalist, nun arrested UGANDA: Troops sent to "flush out" rebels in west UGANDA: Rwanda, Uganda agree to improve ties RWANDA: Pledge to help rebels form united front against Kabila RWANDA: Kinshasa protests meeting venue RWANDA: Genocide suspect arrested in Tanzania RWANDA: "No confidence" in Tribunal RWANDA: HRW deplores freeing of genocide suspect RWANDA: Government requests emergency food aid RWANDA: Results of latest assessment awaited RWANDA: Premier holds talks with UN official BURUNDI: 13 killed in ambush BURUNDI: Children separated from their families

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Kabila's "boasting" could be the end, rebels warn

The second vice-president of the rebel Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD), Moise Nyarugabo, has said RCD troops are ready if Kabila's forces launch an attack against them. He told the BBC Kinyarwanda service on Monday that Kabila was "preparing for war", and while the RCD would not be the first to attack, it would fight back if attacked. "We believe that those agreements [Lusaka] are useful, but it all depends on the international community condemning Kabila and stopping him from launching attacks, insulting others, boasting and threatening," Nyarugabo added. "If they don't tell him to stop, he will attack first, but then we shall fight him. His boasting could be the beginning of the end."

DRC: Four JMC working groups to work on crucial issues

The Joint Military Commission (JMC) charged with implementing the Lusaka ceasefire agreement has established four working groups on its crucial aspects, which are expected to present their findings to the next full JMC meeting in the Zimbabwean capital Harare from 30 November. The different groups are to consider: the determination of humanitarian corridors and the exchange of prisoners of war; mechanisms for the disarmament of armed groups and civilian Congolese in illegal possession of arms; mechanisms for the disengagement of rival forces; and for the orderly withdrawal of foreign forces, according to a press release from the JMC meeting held in Lusaka from 31 October to 5 November.

DRC: UN peace envoy in Kinshasa

The UN Special Envoy for the DRC Peace Process, Moustapha Niasse, has arrived in Kinshasa for three days of talks with the government, UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said on Monday. His consultations will focus on the deployment of UN personnel to help implement the Lusaka ceasefire agreement, and other issues related to the peace process, the spokesman said. While in Kinshasa, Niasse will also meet with representatives of the unarmed opposition and civil society, he added.

DRC: No flight clearance for survey team

Meanwhile, a UN technical survey team on Monday was denied clearance to fly to Goma and other locations in the DRC, Eckhard said. The team, charged with preparing the ground for any future UN presence under the Lusaka peace plan, spent the day waiting at Kinshasa airport but "did not receive the green light from DRC authorities", he stated.

DRC: France seeks security guarantees for observers

The French government on Monday called on the DRC and all parties signatory to the Lusaka accord to provide security guarantees for deploying UN personnel in the country, AFP reported. "In order to allow for the rapid deployment of these liaison officers, France calls on all parties that signed the Lusaka ceasefire accord, particularly the government, to quickly provide the security guarantees demanded by the UN Secretary-General," it quoted foreign ministry spokeswoman Ann Gazeau-Secret as saying.

DRC: Journalist, nun arrested

The director of the Kinshasa publication 'Solidarite' was arrested at his home on Saturday by eight armed men over an article which claimed Finance Minister Mawampanga Mwana Nanga had been arrested, according to the journalists' rights group, Reporters sans frontieres. The group condemned the arrest of the journalist, Polycarpe Honsek Okwoy, saying it was a violation of human rights.

In another incident, a Congolese human rights group - le Centre des droits de l'homme et du droit humanitaire (CDH) - said a nun was arrested by the DRC security service, l'Agence nationale de renseignements (ANR) at Likasi, near Lubumbashi. In a statement received by IRIN, it said Sister Antho Fari of the Ursulines order was taken to the ANR provincial headquarters in Lubumbashi on Saturday. CDH said the nun had access to Buluo prison where she was in charge of providing food rations and medical care. It added that no reasons were given for her detention.

UGANDA: Troops sent to "flush out" rebels in west

More than 6,000 Ugandan soldiers, specially trained in mountain warfare, have been deployed to the Ruwenzori mountains to "flush out" rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). The 'New Vision' newspaper quoted army Chief of Staff Brigadier James Kazini as saying on Monday that the operation, which started on Saturday, would deal the "final blow to the rebels". Kazini reportedly said the operation was the final stage in the war against the ADF rebels, which included destroying rebel camps in the mountains and sealing off their bases in neighbouring DRC.

UGANDA: Rwanda, Uganda agree to improve ties

Uganda and Rwanda have resolved to promote closer cooperation between the two countries. A meeting between Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his Rwandan counterpart Pasteur Bizimungu in Kabale, southwestern Uganda, ended on Monday with the two leaders agreeing on the way forward to resolve outstanding problems between the two countries and to strengthen their alliance. According to a communique received by IRIN from the office of Uganda's presidential press secretary, the two leaders also reaffirmed their full support for the Lusaka agreement and discussed how to bring about its timely implementation in order to establish peace and security in the region.

RWANDA: Pledge to help rebels form united front against Kabila

Rwanda and Uganda further agreed to help RCD rebels form a united front against Kabila, Bizimungu told journalists on arrival from Uganda. According to Rwandan radio, he said the two countries were going to adopt a "common vision" on the DRC problem and set up strategies to help those opposed to Kabila to form a united front instead of being divided. In this regard, the two countries had decided to help the RCD come up with a single representative within the JMC.

RWANDA: Kinshasa protests meeting venue

The Kabila government has protested the holding of an OAU human rights meeting in Kigali, saying it was "inadmissible" that the meeting be held in a country "at the heart of the aggression against the DRC". Speaking on state television on Friday, DRC Human Rights Minister Leonard She Okitundu expressed his government's "deep regret" that the OAU had chosen Kigali as the venue for the 26th session of the African Commission for Human and Peoples' Rights from 1-15 November. "Has the African commission forgotten that war is...a flagrant and large-scale negation of human rights?" Okitundu said. He also questioned whether the commission would be able to properly examine in Kigali the complaint lodged against Rwanda by the DRC.

RWANDA: Genocide suspect arrested in Tanzania

The Tanzanian authorities - acting on a warrant from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) - on Monday arrested genocide suspect, Mikaeli Muhimana, in Dar es Salaam. According to an ICTR press release, Muhimana - a former councillor in Gishyita commune, Kibuye prefecture - is charged with having conspired to kill Tutsis in Kibuye and to have participated in attacks on Bisesero hill where thousands of Tutsis sought refuge in 1994. Muhimana has been transferred to the ICTR detention facilities in Arusha.

RWANDA: "No confidence" in Tribunal

Rwanda on Monday registered a "vote of no confidence" in the ICTR, citing the court's "behaviour and output". At a UN General Assembly meeting to review the work of the UN tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, Rwandan representative Joseph Mutaboba said his country's own judicial system had rendered more than 20,000 genocide-related indictments since 1994, compared to the 48 people indicted by the ICTR, a UN statement reported. If the two existing UN tribunals were seen as ineffectual, the international community should reconsider its commitment to creating an international criminal court, which would amount to "a permanent version of a temporary failure, and a permanent United Nations failure for Rwanda", Mutaboba said.

RWANDA: HRW deplores freeing of genocide suspect

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Monday deplored the "prosecutorial incompetence" of the ICTR which resulted in the release of genocide suspect, Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza. "This decision should jolt the prosecutor's office and the international community in general, reminding everyone of the need for prompt and exemplary justice," HRW said in a statement. It recalled that the ICTR's appeals court freed Barayagwiza because the prosecutor's office had failed to inform him of charges against him, had not insisted on his prompt transfer from a jail in Cameroon and had not presented him before the ICTR within the specified time period. "The early bumblings and delays of the poorly funded prosecutor's office have led to a decision that distresses, but should not surprise us," HRW said.

RWANDA: Government requests emergency food aid

Prime Minister Pierre-Celestin Rwigema on Monday said the country faced a 158,000 mt cereal deficit and required US $10 million to provide emergency assistance to some 78,912 families for at least six months, Radio Rwanda reported. Rwigema, addressing diplomats in Kigali, said families in five prefectures were "devastated" by food shortages caused mainly by climate changes, population growth and lack of inter-regional trade. The affected prefectures are Umutara, Gitarama, Kigali-Rural, Kibungo and Butare, the radio said.

RWANDA: Results of latest assessment awaited

Meanwhile, USAID's Famine Early Warning System (FEWS) said in its October regional report that improved crop harvests in recent seasons and better food availability had lessened the need for food assistance in parts of Rwanda. However, it estimated that nearly 330,000 people in the Kagera Valley may need additional food aid if this agricultural season fails. A WFP spokesperson told IRIN on Tuesday that an inter-agency rapid assessment mission was fielded to parts of the country late last week to look into the current drought and vulnerability situation, and the team's findings were awaited. WFP had over the past couple of weeks distributed food aid to some 20,000 vulnerable families in Umutara, Kibungo and Gikongoro, the spokesperson added.

RWANDA: Premier holds talks with UN official

Rwandan Prime Minister Pierre-Celestin Rwigema on Monday held talks with visiting UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Kieran Prendergast on the situation in the Great Lakes region, Rwandan radio reported. It said Prendergast expressed the international community's concern over the resurgence of insecurity in Burundi. Rwigema stressed his government's commitment to a regional initiative for peace in Burundi. Prendergast arrived in Kigali on Monday from Bujumbura, where he held talks with government and opposition officials.

BURUNDI: 13 killed in ambush

Thirteen people, including three soldiers, were killed and 13 others wounded on Monday in an ambush by Hutu rebels in Musenyi in northern Burundi, news organisations reported. According to the BBC Kirundi service, the rebels laid a tree across the main road north of Bujumbura, between Bugarama and Kayanza, in order to ambush vehicles using the highway. The radio added that other people were abducted by the rebels and taken into the nearby Kibira forest, where the rebels hide out.

BURUNDI: Children separated from their families

An estimated 1,500 children in Burundi remain separated from their families, SCF has said. In an emergency bulletin, SCF said the situation was due to the country's war, population displacements, the breakdown of the family, poverty and other factors. An SCF-coordinated family-tracing programme has already reunited 502 unaccompanied children with their families, it said. Meanwhile, some 110,000 children in Burundi have lost one or both parents to AIDS, representing the sixth-highest proportion of AIDS orphans in the world, the report stated. The reluctance of donors to provide funds for anything except emergency projects in the country "undermines the long-term approach to which SCF is committed", it added.

Nairobi, 9 November 1999, 15:00 gmt


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

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