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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 43 covering the period 23 - 29 October 1999
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: UN mission clouded by controversy DRC: MONUC mandate up next week DRC: US funding for JMC DRC: RCD reshuffles departments DRC: Tens of thousands flee ethnic clashes in Bunia RWANDA: "Historical" year for genocide court RWANDA: ICTR judges to make first working visit inside country RWANDA: Potential new drought in east RWANDA: Increase in DRC returnees BURUNDI: Top UN official to visit BURUNDI: Regional summit mooted BURUNDI: Belgium says peace accord not necessary for aid GREAT LAKES: Rwanda, Burundi challenge admissibility of ICJ case TANZANIA: Mkapa stresses unity UGANDA: Drought-related malnutrition less than feared SUDAN: US upholds IGAD initiative CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Peacekeeping force extended REPUBLIC OF CONGO: MSF details atrocities ERITREA: Deportations by Ethiopia condemned ETHIOPIA: Security accord signed with Yemen SOMALIA: Aideed has "difficult" talks in Addis SOMALIA: Humanitarian conditions worsening
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: UN mission clouded by controversy
Controversy still surrounds the deployment of members of the UN observer mission, MONUC, to parts of the DRC. DRC Interior Minister Gaetan Kakudji this week authorised MONUC to visit Goma and other rebel-held areas. However, according to a report on state television, the mission is "formally banned" from going to the government-held areas of Mbandaka, Mbuji-Mayi, Lubumbashi, Kananga, Matadi and Kamina. Two UN military liaison officers reportedly arrived in Goma in Thursday. MONUC officials say they are still awaiting security guarantees from the DRC authorities for free movement around the country.
DRC: MONUC mandate up next week
The UN observer mission's initial three-month mandate finishes on 6 November, after which the UN Security Council will have to approve its renewal. At present, there are fewer than 45 military liaison officers in the field, from an approved Security Council deployment of 90, UN sources told IRIN. Some are in the regional capitals of Kampala, Kigali, Bujumbura, Harare, Lusaka and Windhoek, while the bulk of their number is still at the advance headquarters in Kinshasa.
DRC: US funding for JMC
Meanwhile, the United States intends to provide US $1 million to support the operations of the Joint Military Commission (JMC) charged with overseeing implementation of the Lusaka accord, the State Department said.
DRC: RCD reshuffles departments
The rebel Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD-Goma) has reshuffled its administration, reducing the number of departments from 24 to 16. According to a list received by IRIN on Friday, the men at the top stay the same with Dr Emile Ilunga as president, Commander Jean-Pierre Ondekane as first vice president and Maitre Moise Nyarugabo as second vice-president. An RCD press statement said the reshuffle was necessary for reasons of "efficacy".
DRC: Tens of thousands flee ethnic clashes in Bunia
The ICRC has reopened its office in the northeast Bunia region following ongoing ethnic clashes between the Wahema and Walendu people which, according to local sources, have claimed thousands of lives. In a statement, the ICRC said the office, situated in the district of Ituri near the Ugandan border, had been closed since August 1998. Many villages have been destroyed since July, and the ICRC and MSF-Holland estimate 100,000-150,000 people have fled their homes.
RWANDA: "Historical" year for genocide court
The past year has been "historical" for the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), according to its fourth annual report, issued at UN headquarters on Monday. The report, covering the period July 1998 to June 1999, said the Tribunal's first four convictions of genocide suspects had been delivered during the year, "thereby beginning the process of transforming aspirations for international criminal justice into reality". Thirty-one indicted people were now in custody awaiting trial in Arusha in connection with the 1994 genocide, the report said. Meanwhile, the availability of prison facilities for people convicted by the ICTR remained "a serious concern," the annual report said. Mali and Belgium had offered to provide prison facilities for the enforcement of Tribunal sentences, and discussions with other states were continuing, it said.
RWANDA: ICTR judges to make first working visit inside country
ICTR judges are scheduled to visit Rwanda for the first time in a judicial capacity from 1 to 4 November when they will tour four sites in Kibuye prefecture, where crimes in the case against former mayor of Mabanza, Ignace Bagilishema, are alleged to have taken place. The case against Bagilishema, who has pleaded not guilty to charges of genocide, complicity in genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, started on Tuesday. Meanwhile, ICTR registrar Dr Agwu Okali on Wednesday announced the lifting of a ban on the assignment of French and Canadian lawyers.
RWANDA: Potential new drought in east
About 100,000 vulnerable people in drought-affected eastern and southern prefectures require food aid, OCHA-Kigali, citing WFP estimates, said in its latest humanitarian update. Meanwhile, should lack of rain persist in the coming weeks, some parts of Rwanda may experience serious food shortages by December or January, it said.
RWANDA: Increase in DRC returnees
The number of Rwandan refugees returning from eastern DRC has increased in September-October to an average of 500 per week, the OCHA-Kigali report said. The total number of returnees registered since January was now about 27,700, it said, citing UNHCR figures.
BURUNDI: Top UN official to visit
The UN Security Council last Friday expressed concern over the violence in Burundi, saying it supported Secretary-General Kofi Annan's attempts to revive the Arusha peace process. In a statement, it said this included urgently finding a replacement for talks' facilitator Julius Nyerere, who died on 14 October. UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Kieran Prendergast is due to visit Burundi and other countries of the region from 1 November to discuss the situation.
BURUNDI: Regional summit mooted
Tanzanian Foreign Minister Jakaya Kikwete has indicated that a meeting of regional leaders is scheduled to take place to choose a new facilitator for the Burundi peace process, the Tanzanian 'Guardian' daily reported on Thursday. However, no date has yet been set for the meeting.
BURUNDI: Belgium says peace accord not necessary for aid
Belgium has said resuming cooperation with Burundi is not conditional on the signing of a peace accord in Arusha, according to Burundian media sources. Secretary-General in the Belgian foreign ministry, Jan de Bock, held talks on Monday with President Pierre Buyoya. "Belgium is not one of those countries demanding the signing of a peace accord before resuming cooperation with Burundi," he was quoted as saying. Last week, French Cooperation Minister Charles Josselin also suggested the resumption of aid was not conditional on a peace accord.
GREAT LAKES: Rwanda, Burundi challenge admissibility of ICJ case
Rwanda and Burundi are challenging the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in cases brought against them by the DRC. In complaints filed against Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda in June, the DRC charged the three countries with invading its territory and committing massive human rights violations. According to an ICJ press release issued on Monday, The Hague-based Court gave Rwanda and Burundi up to April 2000 to submit written documents in support of their jurisdiction challenge. Meanwhile, the ICJ set July 2000 as the deadline for the DRC to submit its written arguments for the case against Uganda, which has not contested the Court's jurisdiction in the matter.
TANZANIA: Mkapa stresses unity
Speaking at the funeral of former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere on Saturday, President Benjamin Mkapa warned that anyone "dreaming about breaking the unity of Tanzania, generating insecurity or stirring up tensions...will be dealt with ruthlessly and their activities curtailed". But some analysts said a break-up of the union was currently unlikely. "There is no danger at the moment that the union could disintegrate," Dr Sengondo Mvungi, a lecturer at Dar es Salaam University, told IRIN.
UGANDA: Drought-related malnutrition less than feared
A humanitarian assessment mission in September has found that farmers and pastoralists in Uganda have been using traditional and non-traditional strategies to cope with the drought-related shortfall in the first harvest. In none of the districts assessed were people experiencing above normal levels of malnutrition. A government assessment in July raised serious concern regarding the food security of 700,000 drought-affected people. Meanwhile, preliminary findings from the assessment indicated that second season rains were well established in affected areas and, provided these were well distributed, "the harvest in most areas will be only a little below average", according to a UN humanitarian update.
SUDAN: US upholds IGAD initiative
US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said last Friday her government only recognised the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) peace initiative regarding the Sudan issue, Kenyan radio reported. In her discussions with Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi, during a visit to Nairobi, she assured him of her government's support, saying the US would fund "half of the expenses of IGAD new peace process secretariat over the next six months," news agencies said.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Peacekeeping force extended
The UN Security Council last Friday extended the mandate of the UN Mission in the CAR (MINURCA) for three months until 15 February 2000. In a resolution adopted unanimously, the Council welcomed UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's proposal to despatch a small multidisciplinary mission to Bangui to examine conditions for a UN presence beyond MINURCA's new withdrawal date. It also welcomed Annan's proposal that MINURCA's size be reduced in three stages. In a message marking the investiture of President Ange-Felix Patasse to another six year term last Friday, Annan said the UN "will not abandon the CAR".
REPUBLIC OF CONGO: MSF details atrocities
The army, pro-government militia and armed rebel groups have "generated massive and blind atrocities" against civilian populations since the resumption of conflict in December 1998, MSF said in a report released on Wednesday. People who fled the capital Brazzaville and sought refuge in the forests of the Pool region became "de facto hostages" of the Ninja militia. "Victims of indiscriminate violence, they have had no access to food or medical care," it said, adding that those who managed to return to Brazzaville were now the victims of indiscriminate attacks from the government army and its Cobra militia. Given the gravity of the situation, "the silence and indifference of the international community is unbearable," MSF said.
ERITREA: Deportations by Ethiopia condemned
Eritrea has condemned the deportations of 1,400 Eritreans by Ethiopia over the weekend. The Eritrean news agency ERINA said the Eritreans were picked up in Addis Ababa and "dumped" on the Bure front in "dangerous no-man's land" where they crossed the border. ICRC spokesman Juan Martinez told IRIN on Tuesday that his organisation was concerned over the deportations and was holding discussions with the two governments on the possibility of airlifting deportees from both countries.
ETHIOPIA: Security accord signed with Yemen
Ethiopia and Yemen last Friday signed a security cooperation accord, Ethiopian television reported. The agreement said the two countries would "jointly engage" any third party trying to rupture "long-standing ties" between Ethiopia and Yemen.
SOMALIA: Aideed has "difficult" talks in Addis
Somali faction leaders Hussein Aideed, Uthman Hasan Ali Ato and Umar Haji Masaleh reportedly had "difficult" talks with Ethiopian officials in Addis Ababa last Friday. According to the 'Xog-Ogaal' newspaper, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin criticised Aideed for supporting al-Ittihad and Oromo rebel groups based in Somalia.
SOMALIA: Humanitarian conditions worsening
The UN country team said humanitarian conditions in southern and central Somalia were deteriorating due to ongoing conflict and natural disaster. In its latest report, it said an estimated 1.2 million people were now at risk from severe food insecurity. The report said funds were urgently required to cover the food pipeline from January until August 2000, when the next main harvest is due.
Nairobi, 29 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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