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Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN-CEA Weekly Round-up 40 covering the period 2 October - 8 October 1999
REPUBLIC OF CONGO: UN reaffirms "grave" situation in Kinkala RWANDA: Ministers forced to resign RWANDA: ICTR gives go-ahead for first "mega-trial" RWANDA: Minister urges early deployment of UN peacekeepers in DRC BURUNDI: New political grouping established BURUNDI: Peace consultations postponed BURUNDI: Government calls for talks with rebels BURUNDI: Food needs among regrouped people DRC: Accusations of ceasefire violations rife DRC: Wamba renames rebel group DRC: Cholera outbreak in Kisangani DRC: Kisangani residents angry at Rwanda, Uganda CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Patasse reelected UGANDA: Court appearance set for DRC case TANZANIA: Debt relief "not enough" KENYA: Minister denies troops deployed on Ugandan border ETHIOPIA: Farmland destroyed by floods SOMALIA: National food aid estimated at 70,000 mt SUDAN: Humanitarian mission to Nuba Mountains continues
REPUBLIC OF CONGO: UN reaffirms "grave" situation in Kinkala
The UN country team on Tuesday reconfirmed its recent findings of a "grave humanitarian crisis" in the town of Kinkala. In a statement sent to IRIN, the UN team in Brazzaville said a 19-person mission - comprising donor, government, UN and media representatives - "saw many persons in a state of life-threatening malnutrition". "Significant numbers were very severely emaciated or unable to stand or walk. Food was exceedingly scarce," it added. Meanwhile, nutritional screening completed by MSF in mid-September some 17 km from Brazzaville, indicated that the malnutrition rate among children under five years of age varied between 60 and 75 percent, WFP's latest weekly emergency report said.
RWANDA: Ministers forced to resign
Two government ministers have been forced to resign following their involvement in a corruption scandal, the Rwanda News Agency (RNA) reported. Parliament on Wednesday passed a vote of no-confidence in Social Affairs Minister Charles Ntakirutinka and Minister in the President's Office Anastase Gasana who were implicated in a business deal which cost the government about US $1 million, RNA said. Commerce Minister Mark Rugenera narrowly survived the vote, it added.
RWANDA: ICTR gives go-ahead for first "mega-trial"
Judges at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Wednesday gave the go-ahead for the first joint trial of six top Rwandan genocide suspects, the independent Internews agency reported. It cited ICTR spokesman Kingsley Moghalu as saying the decision "could have an important implication for the course of other trials" - by setting a precedent for multiple trials.
RWANDA: Minister urges early deployment of UN peacekeepers in DRC
Foreign Minister Augustin Iyamuremye has called for the earliest possible deployment of UN forces in DRC, as all the conflicting sides have now signed the Lusaka peace accord. Addressing the UN General Assembly on Saturday, he accused the Kinshasa government of training, equipping and recruiting ex-FAR and Interahamwe militias who were creating insecurity and promoting the ideology of genocide in the region. Iyamuremye also warned the UN Security Council that if the international community did not contribute "energetically" to the struggle against the ideology of genocide, peace and security in the entire region would be endangered.
BURUNDI: New political grouping established
Nine Burundian parties have created a vast political grouping aimed at bringing about peace and reconciliation. In a statement sent to IRIN on Monday, the new group - Convergence nationale pour la paix et la reconciliation (CNPR) - said the situation in the country "regrettably is progressively deteriorating leading to the risk of confrontation and rendering the population...nervous and desperate". The nine parties include UPRONA, FRODEBU (internal), and the small predominantly-Tutsi parties RADDES, ANNADE, INKINZO, PIT, Parti Liberal, PRP, and PSD.
BURUNDI: Peace consultations postponed
The Nyerere Foundation has postponed consultations among Burundian delegations in Dar es Salaam, due to start on Monday because of Arusha peace talks facilitator Julius Nyerere's illness, the Tanzanian 'Guardian' daily reported. It quoted an aide to Nyerere, Mark Bomani, as saying a new date would be set later. The Nyerere Foundation meanwhile denied that the Arusha process has been a failure. In an overview of the peace process presented to a Montreal conference on Burundi recently, the Foundation's executive director Joseph Butiku said a virtue of the talks was to bring together political parties, individuals from inside and outside the country who had previously been unable to communicate.
BURUNDI: Government calls for talks with rebels
Foreign Minister Severin Ntahomvukiye has reiterated his country's call for all armed factions to take part in the Arusha peace process. In his speech to the UN General Assembly on Saturday, he warned that time was against the peace process "which is fragile". CNDD-FDD spokesman Jerome Ndiho told Radio France Internationale the comments were a "small step in the right direction". "We are no longer interested in Arusha. We want direct negotiations between the two sides," he added.
BURUNDI: Food needs among regrouped people
Assessment teams have established that food assistance was required at five sites regrouping 14,000 displaced people in Bujumbura Rural, WFP said in its latest weekly emergency report. In addition, some 5,800 people recently displaced from the province into three sites in Bujumbura town required food aid, it said. Due to continuous population movements, most sites will need to be revisited to reassess the changing needs, the report added.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Accusations of ceasefire violations rife
Government and rebel sides over the weekend again traded accusations over violations of the Lusaka ceasefire agreement, news organisations reported. The Goma faction of the Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD) on Sunday claimed the DRC army had attacked rebel troops at Munyenga, near the town of Kabinda in Kasai Oriental province. Meanwhile, the Forces armees congolaises (FAC) said it was RCD-Goma that had attacked government troops in central Kasai. It also claimed Jean-Pierre Bemba's rebel Mouvement de liberation congolais (MLC) had on Friday attacked government troops and occupied a number of localities in Bomongo region, Equateur province.
DRC: Wamba renames rebel group
Rebel faction leader Ernest Wamba dia Wamba has reportedly renamed his group and established a transitional "government" in the northeastern town of Bunia. According to the semi-official Ugandan daily 'New Vision', his faction is now known as the Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie-mouvement de liberation (RCD-ML) in which Wamba heads the defence department. The new administration, which was established on 1 October, has two vice-presidents (yet to be named), a prime minister and a deputy, eight ministers and nine deputy ministers. There is a political council and an army high command. Key appointees include Mbusa Nyamwisi as "prime minister", Pashi Claver as "foreign minister" and Jacques Depelchin as "local administration minister".
DRC: Cholera outbreak in Kisangani
A cholera outbreak in Kisangani affected 150 people between 5-30 September, with 23 deaths attributed to the disease, humanitarian sources told IRIN. Some 139 cases were reported in the Lubungu area on the left bank, while 11 cases were recorded on the right bank within Kisangani health zone. Humanitarian agencies were supporting cholera treatment services and undertaking prevention activities in affected areas but water-treatment chemicals were in very short supply in the town, raising concerns that the outbreak could spread, the sources said.
DRC: Kisangani residents angry at Rwanda, Uganda
The people of Kisangani have reportedly protested against the involvement of Ugandan and Rwandan soldiers in their town's affairs. Sources in Kisangani told IRIN that residents held talks with the Kisangani governor in a meeting broadcast over local radio and television. They called for the immediate implementation of the Lusaka ceasefire accord and the withdrawal of all Rwandan and Ugandan soldiers. They also requested the presence of UN observers in key towns in eastern DRC, an end to the "looting" of DRC's riches, and that the newly-announced "provinces" of Kibali-Ituri and Ruwenzori be dismantled.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Patasse reelected
President Ange-Felix Patasse was elected to another six-year term with 51.6 percent of the votes, in an election which saw 1.7 million voters cast ballots. According to official results of the 19 September election announced by the Constitutional Court in Bangui, the main runners-up among Patasse's nine challengers were former presidents Andre Kolingba and David Dacko, who received 19.3 percent and 11.15 percent of the votes, respectively. The opposition coalition Union des forces acquises a la paix (UFAP) on Sunday demanded that the election results be annulled and that a new vote be organised because of "serious irregularities and rigging", news agencies reported. However, electoral observers from the UN Mission in the CAR (MINURCA), the European Union and La Francophonie said the voting had been free and fair, in spite of some minor problems. The presidential investiture ceremony is scheduled for 22 October.
UGANDA: Court appearance set for DRC case, Attorney-General says
Attorney-General Bart Katureebe told members of parliament on Monday that Uganda had been summoned to appear before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on 19 October to answer to charges that it invaded the DRC, Radio Uganda reported. Meanwhile, the semi-official 'New Vision' newspaper had earlier reported that Katureebe and Uganda's envoy to the Netherlands would represent Uganda in the case. The DRC in June filed complaints at the Hague-based ICJ against Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda, accusing the three countries of "armed aggression" and of looting its resources.
TANZANIA: Debt relief "not enough"
The World Bank has awarded Tanzania a substantial amount of debt relief under its Heavily-Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) programme, but groups lobbying for total debt relief say this is not enough. Tanzania's US $8 billion foreign debt will be reduced to some US $1.6 billion over the next five years, but John Garrett of the Jubilee 2000 group told IRIN on Wednesday that "Tanzania's debt is so large compared to what is waived, a complete write-off of the debt could be a better option because it would give the country an opportunity to tackle the basic needs of its people."
KENYA: Minister denies troops deployed on Ugandan border
The government on Tuesday denied media reports it had deployed troops along the country's border with Uganda due to recent incidents of cattle-rustling. "We have not amassed any troops along the border," Kenya's Minister for State in the Office of the President, Marsden Madoka, told IRIN. He said cattle-rustling had been "commercialised" and was no longer strictly an activity carried out by pastoralists alone. "We are going to do everything possible to flush out the culprits," he added. Uganda's independent 'Monitor' newspaper had quoted a Kenyan official on Friday as saying that the Kenyan government "could not take chances" over the tense situation in neighbouring Karamoja region, following ethnic clashes last month in which some 400 people were reportedly killed.
ETHIOPIA: Farmland destroyed by floods
Flooding, particularly in the Afar region of northeastern Ethiopia, has destroyed some 9,500 hectares of cropped farmland, both private and state-owned. A UN Emergencies Unit (UN-EUE) assessment mission to flooded areas along the Awash river found it was difficult to assess the number of affected people, but they ran into tens of thousands. The total area flooded this year was also unknown, a mission report said. The health situation may become an "issue of concern" once the water level regressed, the report warned.
SOMALIA: National food aid estimated at 70,000 mt
A joint FAO-WFP crop and food supply assessment mission recently estimated Somalia's national food aid requirements for the period August 1999-July 2000 at 70,000 mt, a USAID-FEWS report said. According to the mission, some 63,000 mt of food aid are already committed for this period, leaving an unfulfilled food aid requirement of 7,000 mt between now and mid-2000. So far, the total food aid committed to the Somalia Aid Coordination Body (SACB) emergency appeal issued in July is approximately 20,000 mt.
SUDAN: Humanitarian mission to Nuba Mountains continues
Two humanitarian teams returned to Khartoum late last week after completing the first phase of an inter-agency assessment of humanitarian needs in the Nuba Mountains, South Kordofan State, a UN press release stated on Friday. Another was scheduled for Thursday, 7 October, to cover government-controlled areas of the Nuba Mountains. "The assessment will identify and quantify specific humanitarian needs in agriculture and food security, health and nutrition, water and sanitation, and basic education" as well as all aspects of logistical needs for humanitarian intervention in the area, a report by Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) stated.
Nairobi, 8 October 1999, 13:55 gmt
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Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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