IRIN-CEA Update 802 [19991116]

IRIN-CEA Update 802 [19991116]

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 802 for the Great Lakes (Tuesday 16 November 1999)


DRC: EU funding for JMC observers DRC: Commonwealth urges speedy UN deployment DRC: MLC denies presence of UNITA troops DRC: Government curfew only applies to Kinshasa DRC: Mission attacked by Interahamwe, Mayi-Mayi DRC: Kivu cattle population reduced DRC: 152,000 accessible IDPs in North Kivu RWANDA: Hundreds protest against Barayagwiza release RWANDA: Genocide suspect reportedly in Britain RWANDA: Malnutrition in some areas RWANDA: Erratic rains affect current crops BURUNDI: Buyoya meets Annan in China BURUNDI: US urges international help BURUNDI: UN missions remain prohibited TANZANIA: Government rejects Burundi's "outrageous allegations"


The European Union said on Monday it would contribute 1.2 million Euros (about US $1.2 million) to help cover the "operational, non-military" expenditure of the Joint Military Commission (JMC) set up under the Lusaka peace agreement. An EU press release said the support would enable the JMC to deploy its observers in the DRC during a period of six months. "The EU considers the Lusaka agreement crucial for the restoration of peace and stability in the DRC and the entire Great Lakes region," the release stated. It said the EU was concerned about the "slow pace" of implementation and reported ceasefire violations. "Once peace is restored, the European Union will be ready to consider long-term cooperation in support of national reconstruction and democratisation," the statement added.

DRC: Commonwealth urges speedy UN deployment

Meanwhile, Commonwealth heads of government on Monday urged the UN to "speedily deploy a peacekeeping force in the DRC" in accordance with the Lusaka accord. The final communique of the 12-15 November Commonwealth meeting in South Africa said the leaders also appealed to the international community to extend support to the OAU and the JMC, urged all the warring parties to adhere to "the letter and spirit" of the agreement, and encouraged the Congolese people to expedite the national dialogue.

DRC: MLC denies presence of UNITA troops

The rebel Mouvement de liberation du Congo (MLC) of Jean-Pierre Bemba has denied that rebel Angolan UNITA troops are fighting alongside its forces. In a statement, send to IRIN on Tuesday, it described the allegations as "subterfuge" by DRC President Laurent-Desire Kabila. The statement accused Kabila of trying to "internationalise" the conflict and invited Angola to send observers to the area to verify on the ground that there were no UNITA troops. The statement also said there had been violent clashes in Makanza and Basankusu in northwest DRC on Saturday. The MLC claimed it repulsed the attacking forces of Kabila, "many of whom drowned" in the nearby Congo river. People are fleeing the areas of Dongo, Makanza and Basankusu, the statement said. The statement reiterated that the MLC "is still bound by the Lusaka accord", while reserving the right to respond to "ceasefire violations" by Kabila's troops.

DRC: Government curfew only applies to Kinshasa

Government spokesman Didier Mumengi has clarified that the curfew announced by the DRC authorities is only applicable to Kinshasa, and not to other areas under government control. In comments broadcast by state television on Monday, Mumengi said the measure was taken to "nip in the bud" the "threat of attack" against the capital, and was aimed solely at "providing total security" for the people of Kinshasa.

DRC: Mission attacked by Interahamwe, Mayi-Mayi

The missionary news agency MISNA said a group of about 60 Interahamwe and Mayi-Mayi warriors attacked and looted a mission in Muhanga, 150 km south of Butembo in eastern DRC on Sunday. Two Italians at the mission were unhurt, but two Congolese women were "viciously beaten", the agency said. The mission's provisions and medicines were all looted.

DRC: Kivu cattle population reduced

An FAO evaluation has estimated that the cattle population in the Kivu provinces was now 174,500 heads, down from 530,000 before the start of the Great Lakes crisis in the early 1990s. The figures represent a loss of 85 percent for North Kivu and 11 percent for South Kivu. In the Ituri area of Province Orientale, the cattle population had gone down from 420,000 to 312,000 during the same period. An FAO report, received by IRIN on Friday, said that cattle deaths due to gastro-intestinal and blood diseases were increasing in eastern DRC due to the neglected state of all dipping tanks and poor veterinary hygiene practices. Anthrax persisted in South Kivu and in parts of North Kivu and Province Orientale, while there was a threat of cattle plague and foot-and-mouth disease in areas bordering Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania, it said. The evaluation mission recommended that emergency cattle vaccination campaigns be organised in the area.

DRC: 152,000 accessible IDPs in North Kivu

A recent registration exercise in North Kivu showed that there were an estimated 152,000 internally-displaced persons (IDPs) in accessible areas of the province, the weekly WFP emergency report said. The total number of IDPs in North Kivu, including those in inaccessible areas, was estimated at 200,000. Only 31 percent of WFP's target population in the area, including the malnourished and vulnerable people, was currently being assisted, it added.

RWANDA: Hundreds protest against Barayagwiza release

Hundreds of people in Kigali on Monday took part in a protest march against the release of genocide suspect Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Rwandan radio reported. The march, which was peaceful, was organised by the genocide survivors' organisation, Ibuka. Officials of Ibuka addressed a rally outside the ICTR office in Kigali.

The Rwandan government temporarily suspended cooperation with the ICTR as a result of its decision to free Barayagwiza. The foreign ministry's secretary-general Seth Kamanzi told the Hirondelle news agency last week the government's decision was taken on legal grounds, not political. "We are challenging the legal basis on which the [ICTR] decision was made," he said. "We are not going to cooperate with the ICTR as long as the question of this dubious not clarified." He said this also applied to cooperation on security for ICTR staff in Rwanda. The chief prosecutor, Gerald Gahima, has issued an international arrest warrant for Barayagwiza - a former foreign ministry official and founder of the extremist RTLM radio. Rwanda says the suspension will remain in force "until acceptable arrangements are put in place to ensure the injustice occasioned by the present decision does not recur".

RWANDA: Genocide suspect reportedly in Britain

Meanwhile, the British daily 'The Times' on Tuesday reported that another genocide suspect is living as a political refugee in London. Colonel Tharcisse Muvunyi was the army commander in Butare and Gikongoro prefectures, where tens of thousands of people were killed in the 1994 genocide. According to the report, the British government - which does not have an extradition agreement with Rwanda - has said the ICTR is investigating Muvunyi and Britain is awaiting its request for extradition.

RWANDA: Malnutrition in some areas

A recent inter-agency assessment mission estimated that the country's cereal food aid requirement will be 7,000 mt per month at least until the next harvest in January 2000, FAO said. In a report, it said deficit food production in the February-July 1999 B agricultural season had led to "grave shortages" in many prefectures, and several areas of the country were currently affected by malnutrition. "Dramatic situations are reported in parts of Kibungo and Umutara prefectures," the report stated. Prime Minister Pierre-Celestin Rwigema on 8 November had appealed for emergency food assistance for tens of thousands of drought-affected families in parts of the country for at least six months.

RWANDA: Erratic rains affect current crops

Meanwhile, the 2-9 November assessment mission found that crops from the current 2000 A agricultural season were "in very bad shape" in eastern and southern zones, which experienced a prolonged dry period between end-September and the beginning of November, the FAO report said. But the mission also found a tangible increase in areas planted this season in the northwest, where crops were scarcely affected by a relatively short dry period.

The assessment team - comprising the ministry of agriculture, FAO, WFP, USAID, the European Union and the Famine Early Warning System (FEWS) - recommended that a further agricultural assessment be conducted in December to determine food aid needs for the period after the January 2000 harvest. FAO also proposed that seeds, tools and livestock be urgently provided to 100,000 vulnerable households.

BURUNDI: Buyoya meets Annan in China

President Pierre Buyoya, currently on a visit to China, has met the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in Beijing, according to Burundi and UN reports. Burundi radio said the two men discussed security and rebel infiltrations in Burundi, regroupment, the economic situation, the peace process and efforts to find a mediator. Buyoya reiterated his concern over the UN's imposition of the "phase four" security status, which means the evacuation of non-essential staff, while Annan expressed concern over the regroupment sites.

BURUNDI: US urges international help

During a Security Council debate on the Burundi issue last Friday, the US representative Nancy Soderberg noted that "hardliners" were trying to derail a "broad-based negotiating process that offers the country's best hope for lasting peace". According to a UN press release, she called on the UN to "reassert its leadership" in protecting the rights of individuals and providing guidance and direction for NGOs operating in Burundi. She said the US urged the Council to "recognise Burundi's desperate economic situation and call for the donor community to expand economic assistance and deliver needed help as soon as possible".

The Canadian representative, Robert Fowler, said that with the movement of Interahamwe and ex-FAR troops from the DRC to Burundi, the frontline in the DRC war "in essence, has now moved into Burundi". "It is imperative that efforts to restore peace throughout the sub-region receive the full support of the international community," he added.

BURUNDI: UN missions remain prohibited

Security conditions have improved in Bujumbura town but remain troubled in eastern and southern parts of Burundi, WFP said in its latest weekly emergency report. Pending the approval by the UN of new security guidelines, UN missions outside Bujumbura are still not permitted, the report said. "WFP food distributions are limited to those programmes implemented by agencies capable of collecting the food from the WFP stores," it added.

TANZANIA: Government rejects Burundi's "outrageous allegations"

The Tanzanian government has rejected "outrageous allegations" by the Burundi authorities claiming those who killed two UN staffers in southern Burundi last month came from Tanzania. In a letter to the UN Security Council last week, Tanzania's representative Tuvako Manongi said his country "believes the recent atrocities committed in Burundi are a continuing manifestation of the instability and insecurity facing Burundi". He said peace in Burundi could only be guaranteed by a political settlement involving all of its citizens. "Tanzania remains committed to supporting Burundi in the search for a peaceful settlement to its political problems," the letter said. "This is a course the government of Tanzania will not alter even in the face of such outrageous allegations purporting to claim that the perpetrators...came from Tanzania, allegations which we reject vigorously."

Nairobi, 16 November 1999, 14:55 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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