UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
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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Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN-CEA Weekly Round-up 41 covering the period 9 October - 15 October 1999
BURUNDI: Non-essential UN staff to leave after killings BURUNDI: Buyoya assures top UN official on security arrangements BURUNDI: Humanitarian conditions in regroupment camps BURUNDI: Arusha talks to resume TANZANIA: 30 days of mourning for Nyerere TANZANIA: Thousands of Burundians flee conflict DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Annan hails JMC meeting DRC: Civil society debate ends in Kinshasa DRC: Bleak picture of life along ceasefire line DRC: Food insecurity affecting over 10 million RWANDA: Uncertain support for villagisation plan RWANDA: ANC, RPF seek closer relationship RWANDA: Kagame slams "new humanitarianism" UGANDA: Kampala accused of muzzling parties UGANDA: Libyan peacekeepers go home REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Over 800,000 displaced and returned persons ROC: Army to help vaccinate children in unsafe areas CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Annan recommends MINURCA extension SUDAN: Government extends ceasefire for three months SUDAN: Kassala-Port Sudan road remains insecure SOMALIA: Top official emphasises new UN commitment SOMALIA: Polio vaccination to proceed in areas of stability DJIBOUTI: 30,000 targeted for emergency food relief ETHIOPIA-ERITREA: Addis Ababa emphasises US mediation ETHIOPIA: 16,000 displaced by flooding in southwest ERITREA: "Poor donor response" to emergency situation
BURUNDI: Non-essential UN staff to leave after killings
The UN has upgraded its security status for Burundi to "Phase IV", following Tuesday's murder of two UN staff members and seven other people by rebels in the southeast province of Rutana. According to a press statement by the OCHA office in Burundi, the incident occurred when a group of about 35 rebels attacked a team of humanitarian workers who were on an assessment mission to a site for 4,000 displaced people at Muzye, some 12 km from Rutana airport. The UN staff members killed were named as Luis Zuniga, the UNICEF representative in Burundi, and Saskia Von Meijenfeldt, a WFP logistics officer.
BURUNDI: Buyoya assures UN official on security arrangements
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. 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".
BURUNDI: Humanitarian conditions in regroupment camps
Only 25 percent of the 38 regroupment camps in Bujumbura Rural are accessible by road, shelter materials are lacking and "crowding is intense," Refugees International has said. "Sanitary conditions are an immediate concern," the organisation said in a statement released on Tuesday. Meanwhile, WFP's food supply for Burundi is "stretched to the limit," a WFP spokesperson said on Thursday. "The needs seems to be growing everyday and we have at this stage limited amount of resources for response," she told IRIN.
Meanwhile, a soldier was arrested after killing six people at a displaced site in Ruyaga near Bujumbura, Burundi radio reported. It said the incident, on 8 October, was due to "confusion".
BURUNDI: Arusha talks to resume
The death on Thursday of former Tanzanian president and Burundi peace talks facilitator Julius Nyerere leaves the Arusha peace process hanging in the balance, according to Burundi analysts. Top officials of the Nyerere Foundation are touring the region to discuss the Arusha process with regional leaders. According to a press release from the Office of the Facilitator, the negotiating committees will reconvene in Arusha in early November.
TANZANIA: 30 days of mourning for Nyerere
Julius Nyerere, a major force behind the Pan-African movement and one of the continent's most revered elder statesmen, died in a London hospital on Thursday at the age of 77, news agencies said. Nyerere, who led his country to independence in 1961 and voluntarily stepped down as president 24 years later, served as the facilitator of the Arusha-based peace process for neighbouring Burundi for the past four years. Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa ordered a 30-day mourning period. Nyerere was diagnosed with leukaemia in August 1998.
TANZANIA: Thousands of Burundians flee conflict
Four thousand new refugees fleeing heavy fighting in Burundi's Makamba province have been registered in western Tanzania over the past two weeks and many more are expected to arrive, UNHCR spokesman Kris Janowski said on 8 October. The refugees reported that government troops were trying to "move civilians forcibly into camps so that young males are not pressed into the rebel ranks", Janowski said. Meanwhile, Burundian rebels are reported to be harassing the population in an effort to drive people into exile, he said.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Annan hails JMC meeting
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has hailed the success of the first full meeting of the Joint Military Commission (JMC) in the Ugandan capital 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: Civil society debate ends in Kinshasa
A civil society debate ended in Kinshasa with a call for national reconciliation, national sovereignty and territorial integrity. The debate brought together civil society representatives from all over the country including rebel-held areas. In a final declaration, received by IRIN on Monday, participants urged the international community to ensure implementation of the Lusaka ceasefire accord and to extend humanitarian assistance to victims of the DRC war. However, members of the Banyamulenge community in eastern DRC complained they had not been invited to the debate. In a statement, received by IRIN, five South Kivu organisations said the age-old anti-Tutsi policy in DRC was continuing.
DRC: Bleak picture of life along ceasefire line
Hundreds of thousands of Congolese are caught up in a daily struggle to remain alive on both sides of a vast ceasefire line, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the DRC said. In a press release, sent to IRIN on Monday, Darioush Bayandor said a UN-NGO-donor team which visited the eastern areas of Moba, Kalemie and Nyunzu last week found severe economic depression, acute malnutrition and deserted towns around the ceasefire line. "We are embarrassed to continue sending out these missions because they create expectations among the badly-hit population that someone is finally coming to their rescue," he said.
DRC: Food insecurity affecting over 10 million
Over 10 million people in the DRC are living in conditions of food insecurity, including some two million seriously-affected inhabitants, FAO said. In an analysis of the situation facing the country at the start of the Lusaka peace implementation process, FAO said those most affected included 831,000 displaced persons, 844,000 vulnerable urban residents and some 300,000 refugees currently in the DRC. Other affected people included 5.1 million living along the front line, 844,000 less vulnerable but still "fragilised" urban residents, and 2.5 million inhabitants of homes hosting displaced people, it said in a report received by IRIN.
RWANDA: Uncertain support for villagisation plan
The Rwandan government is moving ahead with its controversial villagisation effort throughout the country as international agencies grapple with what role they should play in a programme that is expected to have far-reaching implications on Rwandan society, aid officials said. "The policy is clear. In rural areas, every Rwandan is to move into a village for the purpose of proper land utilisation and the provision of basic services," a government official told IRIN. "It's the only alternative we have," she said. But many donors remain sceptical about the programme, citing reports of "coerced" relocations, disappointing experiences of villagisation in other countries, and a lack of population participation in the process.
RWANDA: ANC, RPF seek closer relationship
The ruling parties of South Africa and Rwanda have agreed to build a "closer working relationship" and to work against ethnic and racial intolerance to enable the "African Renaissance" to take root. A statement by South Africa's African National Congress (ANC) on 8 October said a two-day meeting in Johannesburg with a delegation from the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) had discussed efforts to bring peace and stability in the Great Lakes region.
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.
UGANDA: Kampala accused of muzzling parties
Human Rights Watch on Tuesday accused the Ugandan government of "harassment and discriminatory legislation" to suppress independent political party activity in the country. According to a press release, the report said President Yoweri Museveni and his ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) were likely to "entrench this restrictive system even further" in a referendum on political pluralism, scheduled for June 2000. "Uganda has become the darling of the western powers," report author Peter Bouckaert said. "But Uganda is moving away from democracy, not towards it," he said.
UGANDA: Libyan peacekeepers go home
A 35-man Libyan contingent, which has been in Uganda since May on a DRC peacekeeping mission, has now left the country, Presidential Press Secretary Hope Kivengere confirmed on Tuesday. The contingent arrived in Uganda in accordance with an agreement signed by Museveni and DRC President Laurent-Desire Kabila in the Libyan town of Sirte in April. A government statement said the contingent had been recalled since the Sirte initiative had been "integrated" into the Lusaka accord.
REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Over 800,000 displaced and returned persons
The UN country team has produced new working estimates for the total number of displaced and recently returned persons, putting the figure at 810,000. Of these, the team said some 340,000 former urban residents were displaced in December 1998 and January 1999. Some 200,000 have returned, including 150,000 to Brazzaville. It added that a further 140,000 former urban residents have yet to return and remain in the forest and other rural areas in "very difficult humanitarian conditions". Another 440,000 rural dwellers are reportedly displaced within the four most affected regions of Pool, Bouenza, Niari, Lekoumou and also in the coastal town of Pointe Noire. There are additionally some 30,000 refugees outside the country in the DRC and Gabon.
ROC: Army to help vaccinate children in unsafe areas
Meanwhile, a polio vaccination campaign targeting 400,000 children under five years of age is scheduled to take place from 29-31 October, with WHO and UNICEF support, an update from the UN Humanitarian Coordinator said. The army will help cover areas of the country considered unsafe for relief workers to visit, it added.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Annan recommends MINURCA extension
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has recommended the extension of the mandate of the UN Mission in the Central African Republic (MINURCA) to enable it to continue providing assistance in the implementation of "major reforms" and national reconciliation. The mandate is due to end 15 November and would be extended to 15 February, 2000. In his latest report on MINURCA, Annan said the mission's stay would also facilitate coordination with relevant UN agencies and programmes and the Bretton Woods institutions.
SUDAN: Government extends ceasefire for three months
The government on Tuesday extended a comprehensive ceasefire "all over the areas of operations" in the south for another three months, starting on 15 October, news agencies reported. State television said the government's decision was based on its concern to create a "positive" and "conducive" environment for the attainment of peace and was in response to appeals made by "brothers and friends."
SUDAN: Kassala-Port Sudan road remains insecure
Insecurity in northern areas of Kassala State in eastern Sudan continues to hinder WFP activities in Hamashkoreib province, the latest weekly Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) report said. Road communication between Kassala and Port Sudan remains cut, hampering the delivery of food aid in the area, it said.
SOMALIA: Top official emphasises new UN commitment
UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Sergio Vieira de Mello said during a visit to Somalia on Wednesday that the country had been neglected by the international community in recent years but that his visit, specifically requested by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, should be seen as symbolic of a new commitment by the UN to helping Somalis in their search for peace and development. "Africa in general has been neglected. And, within that, Somalia in particular has been neglected," he told IRIN in Baidoa.
SOMALIA: Polio vaccination to proceed in areas of stability
The UN has decided on the phased implementation of a polio vaccination campaign through the more stable and secure areas of Somalia, reaching about 50 percent of an estimated 1.6 million children under 5 years, with insecure areas left to later rounds, an official with the Expanded Programme of Immunisation (EPI) told IRIN this week. The first vaccination round is to be undertaken from 24-26 October.
DJIBOUTI: 30,000 targeted for emergency food relief
The ongoing drought situation in Djibouti on Wednesday prompted WFP to announce a 414 mt emergency feeding programme targeting 30,000 people. Though drought is cyclical in Djibouti, the current cycle was "causing serious food insecurity in five districts of the country, three of which border Ethiopia and Eritrea. Women, children and the elderly are extremely vulnerable" while the country's nomadic population faces increasing hardship, WFP Country Director Sanda Maina said in a press statement.
ETHIOPIA-ERITREA: Addis Ababa emphasises US mediation
Ethiopian President Negasso Gidada said this week that the US had a "paramount role" to play in helping to end the Ethiopia-Eritrea border war, Ethiopian television reported. Receiving the new US ambassador to Ethiopia, Tibor Nagy, Negasso said "aggression should and must not be rewarded and the US government has a paramount role to play in the efforts geared to resolve the border conflict," AFP reported. Meanwhile, senior Eritrean foreign affairs official, Tekeste Tesfamariam, said on Wednesday that Ethiopia was "holding the peace process hostage" by demanding withdrawal from disputed territories.
ETHIOPIA: 16,000 displaced by flooding in southwest
More than 16,000 people have been displaced from their homes in Gambela State in the southwest of the country and were in need of emergency relief after the River Baro burst its banks, the semi-official Walta Information Centre reported this week. Fifteen thousand of the displaced people were residents of 16 villages in the Itang river basin, Walta said.
ERITREA: "Poor donor response" to emergency situation
"The cumulative humanitarian relief response during the last nine months has not been commensurate to the scale and severity of the emergency situation" in Eritrea, and most of the problems faced by vulnerable populations will continue on into the new year and beyond, an appeal from Action by Churches Together (ACT) stated on Wednesday. It cited increasing incidence of malaria, diarrhoea and upper respiratory diseases, especially among children in camps for displaced and deportees from Ethiopia.
Nairobi, 15 October 1999, 15:00 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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