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Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Weekly Round-Up 40-98 covering the period 25 Sep-1 Oct 1998.10.2
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Radio reports arrival of displaced
Rebel-controlled radio in the South Kivu town of Uvira on Wednesday said the first convoy of displaced people from Katanga province had arrived in a weakened state. The radio, monitored by the BBC, said that the first group of 313 displaced persons to arrive in Uvira included 227 children, 50 women and 36 men. Many of them were ill or malnourished, the radio reported.
Rebels say that up to 20,000 mainly Banyamulenge residents are fleeing the Vyura and Moba areas of Katanga to escape attacks against them.
The rebel Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD) is seeking international support to resettle thousands of displaced people to the Ruzizi plain of South Kivu, humanitarian sources said. Last week, the RCD said that up to 20,000 people, mainly ethnic Tutsi Banyamulenge, were displaced towards rebel-held Kalemie from their homes in the Vyura area of Katanga province following government military activity. Humanitarian sources told IRIN on Wednesday that 400-600 people, including some wounded, had already reached Kalemie. Of this group, between 200 and 300 had been transported to Uvira in South Kivu, the sources said.
No details from SADC talks
Army leaders from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on Wednesday agreed that a threat to any member of the 14-nation regional grouping could justify allied military intervention, as in the DRC, news agencies reported. Ending two days of talks in Angola, the chiefs-of-staff said they had drawn up recommendations for improving regional security, but no other details of the talks were released. President Laurent-Desire Kabila's son, Joseph, was head of the DRC delegation, AFP said.
Rebels claim capture of Punia
Rebels told AFP on Wednesday they had captured the town of Punia about 200 km north of Kindu. Quoting a military aide to rebel commander Jean-Pierre Ondekane, AFP said that an entire company of government soldiers in Punia had joined rebel ranks. There was no independent confirmation of the rebel claim.
Kakudji flees Kinshasa - report
Uganda's 'New Vision' newspaper also reported on Wednesday that DRC State Minister for Internal Affairs Gaetan Kakudji had fled Kinshasa through Uganda and proceeded over the weekend to Brussels. Quoting senior Ugandan security officials, the newspaper said Kakudji, who is Kabila's cousin, fled Kinshasa because he feared that the DRC president was plotting to kill him.
Libyan ambassador speaks of "aggression"
The Libyan ambassador to the DRC said that his country is in contact with "certain Congolese leaders" to resolve the crisis "without blood being spilled", l'Agence congolaise de presse (ACP) said on Wednesday. The ambassador, Abdel Hamid Muhamed Abdou Mashiya, was reported as saying that the DRC was a "victim of aggression." Rebels have accused Libya of financing the deployment of foreign troops to support Kabila. Chad has confirmed sending troops to the DRC, but Sudan denies any military involvement in the conflict.
Chad confirms troops sent
Chad confirmed that it has sent some 1,000 soldiers to the DRC. In an official communique read on Chadian radio and television on Monday, the government said its military support to President Laurent-Desire Kabila was aimed at upholding "the principle of the inviolability of borders," AFP reported. The statement said the troops had left Chad last week, but it did not specify where in the DRC they were deployed. DRC Minister Pierre-Victor Mpoyo told Reuters today that the Chadians would take part in a major counter-offensive to be launched "soon" in the east.
Kenya Airways to start Kinshasa flights
Kenya Airways plans on starting a twice-weekly direct flight between Nairobi and Kinshasa before the end of the year, Reuters reported on Thursday. Pending approval from Kenyan civil aviation authorities, the Kinshasa-bound flights will depart from Nairobi on Wednesday and Sunday evenings, starting on 2 December. Meanwhile, Ethiopian Airlines, which suspended its flights to Kinshasa at the start of the crisis in early August, intends to resume its twice-weekly service next week.
UGANDA: Plane wreck found
The wreckage of a small aircraft that disappeared last week on its way to eastern DRC from Entebbe was found on Wednesday in the Ruwenzori Mountains of western Uganda, news organisations said. However, there was no sign of its pilot or the four passengers, including the brother of Uganda's military chief-of-staff, the reports said. Rebels of the Ugandan Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), who operate in the crash area, claimed on Tuesday that they had shot down the aircraft and it is feared that any survivors may have been abducted by the rebels.
Meanwhile, six civilians were killed in the western Ugandan village of Chiondo near Kasese on Wednesday night during an attack by suspect ADF rebels, AP said. Quoting a Ugandan military spokesman, AP said government soldiers drove off the attackers, killing two of them.
Ugandan troops deployed after border bombing
Conflicting information has emerged on the aerial bombing reported along the DRC-Uganda border on Sunday, news agencies said. A local official told AFP that the village of Bukaka in western Uganda had been bombed by DRC warplanes, without causing any damage or injuries. However, details subsequently provided to news agencies by Ugandan military sources left it unclear whether the aircraft was Congolese or Sudanese or if the bombs fell on the DRC or Ugandan side of the border. Ugandan troop reinforcements were deployed to the border area as a result of the bombing, news organisations reported on Tuesday.
CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: Rwandan refugees
The government of Congo-Brazzaville has requested UNHCR to find another host country for some 11,000 Rwandan refugees presently in the country, Congo's Radio Liberte, monitored by the BBC, reported. A UNHCR spokesperson told IRIN last Friday that UNHCR is "in discussion with the authorities on the subject." However, current insecurity and difficult access in much of the region are complicating efforts to find a more durable solution to the refugee issue, the spokesperson added. Unconfirmed reports say several hundred of the refugees have already crossed over the Congo river and joined Kabila's forces.
DRC-TANZANIA: Refugee population growing in west
Congolese refugees arriving in western Tanzania from eastern DRC appear weaker than those who crossed in early August when the influx started, humanitarian sources report. Some 183 refugees, mainly women and children from the Fizi/Baraka area of South Kivu, arrived in the Kigoma area on 23 September, according to UNHCR. Among them were eight unaccompanied children. These refugees brought the total number of Congolese arrivals in Kigoma to 7,164 people since the beginning of August. There have also been 2,602 Burundian refugee arrivals in Kigoma during the same period.
UNITED NATIONS: Security Council condemns attacks on refugees
The UN Security Council on Tuesday condemned all attacks or use of force against refugees and other civilians, as well as against UN and other humanitarian personnel. The statement followed the Council's open debate on the report of the Secretary-General on Protection of Humanitarian Assistance to Refugees and Others in Conflict Situations. Presenting the report, UN Deputy Secretary-General Louise Frechette said the current situation in the DRC was one example "where the pitiless slaughter of civilians and destruction of their means of survival is commonplace."
RWANDA: Kambanda hits out at ICTR
Former prime minister Jean Kambanda, sentenced to life imprisonment for genocide, has criticised the UN's International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) for failing to provide promised protection for his family. News organisations reported he sent a letter on 11 September to the clerk of the tribunal saying it had agreed in April to protect his exiled wife and two children. Kambanda was sentenced on 4 September for genocide and crimes against humanity. He has appealed against the verdict.
Akayesu asks for forgiveness, maintains innocence
Former Rwandan mayor Jean-Paul Akayesu, convicted of genocide by the ICTR last month, asked for forgiveness on Monday when he appeared at a pre-sentencing hearing. Akayesu asked the court for pardon and expressed regret about the 1994 Rwandan genocide, but maintained he was innocent. He is due to be sentenced on Friday, 2 October.
SUDAN: Khartoum orders general mobilisation
Sudan has ordered its militiamen and students to the front to join the fighting against south Sudanese rebels as part of a general mobilisation ordered to counter what Khartoum termed "Ugandan aggression", news organisations reported on Sunday. Sudanese state television reported that Sunday's weekly cabinet meeting had called on "all the sons of the land capable of bearing arms to report to the general command of the armed forces to participate in the noble act of defending the nation and protecting the things it holds sacred." Meanwhile, state media also reported that President Omar al-Bashir visited the southern capital of Juba over the weekend and urged to stand firm against the rebel Sudan's People Liberation Army (SPLA). Last week, the SPLA said fighting had moved to within about 25 km of the government-held town - for years a strategic objective of the rebels.
UN appeals for aid for flood victims
The UN appealed on Friday for nearly US $9 million to provide shelter, clean water and medicine to some 100,000 Sudanese left homeless by the worst flooding of the Nile for years. OCHA said in its latest report on last month's floods that some 12 out of Sudan's 26 states have now been affected, some 500 villages had been destroyed, the agricultural sector ravaged, and a total of one million people were now suffering from the impact.
Khartoum again calls for inquiry into US bombing
Sudan on Tuesday again called for a Security Council inquiry into the US missile attack on a Khartoum drugs factory which Washington said was used to make chemical weapons. In a speech to the General Assembly, Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail repeated Sudan's assertion that the factory made only medicines and had no link to Saudi Arabian millionaire Osama bin Laden - the man the US says organised the 7 August bombing of Washington's embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
BURUNDI: Refugee numbers detailed
By 23 September, the total number of refugees registered in camps in Cibitoke had increased to 7,822, OCHA Burundi reported. Of these, it said 42 percent were children aged between five and 14, 23 percent were children under-five, a further 24 percent were women and the remaining 11 percent were men. The report added that UNHCR and other agencies were continuing to hold regular contingency planning meetings to ensure that the humanitarian community was prepared as best as possible for a continued and "potentially far larger influx" of people due to insecurity in DRC. The information bulletin also said the number of unaccompanied children in Burundi could now be as high as 4,500.
Nairobi, 2 October 1998
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Date: Fri, 2 Oct 1998 14:19:07 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Weekly Round-Up 40-98 1998.10.2 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.91.981002141651.11033Aemail@example.com>
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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