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 44 covering the period 30 October - 5 November 1999
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: 500 UN observers recommended DRC: UN accepts conditional DRC security guarantees DRC: Government "preparing people for war" DRC: US "deeply concerned" by military activities DRC: POW agreement signed DRC: Some 6,000 deaths in war's first year DRC: Ituri situation "catastrophic" BURUNDI: Regional leaders to discuss "way forward" BURUNDI: UN agencies request over $70 million RWANDA: ICTR orders release of genocide suspect RWANDA: Five dead in cholera outbreak GREAT LAKES: Burundi violence affects refugee repatriation TANZANIA: New Congolese refugees now "rare" UGANDA: Army overruns ADF hideouts SUDAN: Canada to examine oil venture's links to conflict SUDAN: WFP barges turn back SUDAN: UN report details "perpetual" battle against misery SUDAN: Equatoria frequent target of government bombing SUDAN-ERITREA: No repatriation for Eritrean refugees ETHIOPIA: Repatriation of Kenyan refugees suspended ETHIOPIA: WFP concerned over cereal shortage ETHIOPIA-ERITREA: Eritrea denies launching attacks SOMALILAND: Good prospects for food security CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Patasse's new cabinet announced CAR: Congolese refugees repatriated
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: 500 UN observers recommended
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Tuesday recommended the extension to 15 January of the mandate of the UN observer mission in the Congo (MONUC), due to expire on Saturday, with the added deployment of up to 500 military observers. In a report to the UN Security Council, Annan said the deployment should be led by a soon-to-be-appointed special representative. The conclusions of technical survey teams should allow Annan provide the Council with further details of the possible establishment of a UN peacekeeping operation by 15 January, the report added.
DRC: UN accepts conditional DRC security guarantees
The security guarantees document provided for UN military liaison officers (MLOs) in the DRC by the Kinshasa government - and which contained conditions and restrictions, including on freedom of movement - has been accepted after being examined by UN headquarters in New York, diplomatic sources told IRIN on Friday. Meanwhile, officials from the UN observer mission to the Congo (MONUC) were due back in Kinshasa on Friday evening from the Joint Military Commission (JMC) meeting in the Zambian capital Lusaka, which had reportedly made "some progress" on modalities for implementation of the ceasefire.
DRC: Government "preparing people for war"
The DRC government appears to have embarked on a propaganda campaign in an apparent bid to prepare people for the possible resumption of fighting, analysts told IRIN on Friday. Government ministers have been issuing strong warnings to Rwanda and rebels in the east that the DRC will not go into the next century as an "occupied" country. Now, according to Gabonese radio reporting from Kinshasa, slogans have been appearing on giant billboards in the city declaring "peace has to be earned". "People are no doubt being prepared psychologically," the radio observed.
DRC: US "deeply concerned" by military activities
The US on Tuesday expressed its concern over reports of military movements and violations of the Lusaka ceasefire accord. "The US is deeply concerned by reports of military preparations, including the movement of troops and materiel by forces on both sides," news organisations quoted State Department spokesman James Rubin as saying. "These movements are provocative and risk being used as a pretext for a resumption of fighting," he said.
DRC: POW agreement signed
Parties involved in the DRC conflict on Wednesday signed an agreement in Lusaka, paving the way for the release and exchange of prisoners of war (POWs). An ICRC spokesman told IRIN it was now up to each of the governments involved to notify it of the number and names of the POWs they are holding so it can help arrange their release.
DRC: Some 6,000 deaths in war's first year
The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the DRC, Roberto Garreton, has said that by the end of the first year of the conflict, it was estimated some 6,000 people had lost their lives, many of them civilians killed in retaliation for Mayi-Mayi or Interahamwe attacks on RCD-controlled towns. Another 500 people remained missing, according to his latest report, issued on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the bombing of civilian populations in rebel-held towns was among the most "deplorable" acts carried out by the government and its allies in 1999, Garreton said. Some 6,000 children are in military service in government-controlled territory, and the use of children in warfare is even more frequent in the case of the RCD, Garreton added.
DRC: Ituri situation "catastrophic"
The humanitarian situation in the northeast district of Ituri, wracked by civil strife involving the Hema and Lendu ethnic groups since June, has been described as catastrophic. An OCHA mission last month found that over 7,000 people had been killed and over 100,000 people displaced. In a report received by IRIN on Wednesday, OCHA also said there were widespread epidemics of cholera, measles and the plague. Emergency humanitarian action was urgently needed to help thousands of people at risk, the report stressed.
BURUNDI: Regional leaders to discuss "way forward"
Leaders of the Great Lakes region are due to discuss the future of the Burundi peace process, following the death of the facilitator Julius Nyerere. Tanzanian Foreign Minister Jakaya Kikwete told IRIN on Tuesday they had decided to call a summit to decide on the "way forward" for Burundi. "It is at this meeting that they may look at the names that will be presented and may or may not come up with a name for Nyerere's replacement." Kikwete could not confirm any dates.
BURUNDI: UN agencies request over $70 million
Burundi has never needed the support of the humanitarian community more than it does now, the UN said in its consolidated inter-agency appeal covering the year 2000. The document, issued on Monday, said the recent regroupment of people in Bujumbura Rural had raised the total number of displaced people to over 800,000 people, representing 12 percent of the country's population. During 1999, the economy weakened further, food prices increased, donors continued to largely limit their involvement to the financing of emergency assistance, and the government had not been able to increase the provision of basic services, the document said. In the appeal, nine UN agencies have requested a total of US $70.6 million.
RWANDA: ICTR orders release of genocide suspect
The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania, has ordered the immediate unconditional release of genocide suspect Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, according to an ICTR press release. Barayagwiza had appealed against the "violation of his fundamental rights by prolonging his detention without trial". The Chamber upheld his appeal and ordered that the necessary arrangements be made to return him to Cameroon, where he was arrested in 1997. An ICTR spokesman told IRIN on Friday the Chamber had ordered that all the charges against Barayagwiza be dismissed "with prejudice to the prosecutor", and it was doubtful whether he could be re-arrested on the same charges.
RWANDA: Five dead in cholera outbreak
WHO said five people have died of cholera in the northwest prefecture of Ruhengeri, and a further 140 have been hospitalised. The epidemic, which broke out last month, has particularly affected the communes of Cyabingo, Nyakinama and Kigombe, but the situation is under control, a WHO information bulletin said.
GREAT LAKES: Burundi violence affects refugee repatriation
Violence in Burundi has stopped the organised repatriation of Burundian refugees from Tanzania and the DRC, UNHCR said in its latest fact sheet on Africa. Prior to the suspension, an average of 200 Burundians were voluntarily returning home from Tanzania every week over the past 10 months, the report said. The outlook for some 275,000 Burundian refugees in Tanzania has become more uncertain, it said, adding that UNHCR staff were on the watch for another refugee influx and a "political radicalisation" of the Tanzanian camps. Meanwhile, among those affected by the postponement of repatriations from the DRC were over 130 Burundian unaccompanied children in Mbuji-Mayi, it said.
TANZANIA: New Congolese refugees now "rare"
About 97,000 Congolese refugees have arrived in western Tanzania since the start of the DRC conflict last year, but the influx has virtually ceased since August, UNHCR said in its Africa fact sheet. "Rare new arrivals say that the embattled South Kivu area from which the majority of the refugees have fled is now firmly under the control of anti-Kinshasa rebel forces," it said.
UGANDA: Army overruns ADF hideouts
The Ugandan army has reportedly overrun four hideouts of the rebel Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in Semiliki national park, in the western Bundibugyo district, the 'New Vision' newspaper reported on Thursday. It cited military sources as saying the rebels were hiding in the areas of Nsuru and Kibuku. Meanwhile, ADF rebels killed five people and abducted six others during an attack in the western Kibale district, the 'New Vision' reported on Tuesday.
SUDAN: Canada to examine oil venture's links to conflict
Saying it was "deeply concerned" that oil extraction in Sudan may be contributing to the forced relocation of civilians, Canada last week announced it would field a mission to examine allegations of human rights abuses in the country. "If it becomes evident that oil extraction is exacerbating the conflict in Sudan, or resulting in violations of human rights or humanitarian law, the government of Canada may consider, if required, economic and trade restrictions," Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy said in a press release. The Canadian company Talisman Energy is a partner in the Greater Nile Oil Project, which includes a new 1,600 km pipeline from the oil fields to Port Sudan.
SUDAN: WFP barges turn back
WFP barges have started returning to Kosti from Malakal because insecurity has prevented the food aid convoy from proceeding towards Juba, WFP said on Saturday. The barge convoy, which arrived in Malakal on 21 September carrying food for over 300,000 beneficiaries in rebel- and government-held locations along the Nile river corridor, had been unable to continue its journey upstream due to insecurity in Unity State, WFP said. Meanwhile, torrential rains in the southern Kordofan capital of Kadugli have affected over 18,000 people, including some 8,300 children, according to a report from the UN Humanitarian Coordination Unit (UNHCU) in Khartoum.
SUDAN: UN report details "perpetual" battle against misery
Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) will be "condemned to fight a perpetual uphill battle against human misery and deprivation" without the full and uninterrupted cooperation of the warring parties, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in his annual report on emergency assistance to Sudan. Annan noted that the 1998 humanitarian crisis in Sudan had been exacerbated by a temporary ban on OLS flights. While cooperation in support of OLS subsequently improved, the initial cause of the tragedy was a breakdown in that cooperation "for reasons of a non humanitarian character", the report said.
SUDAN: Equatoria frequent target of government bombing
Over 55 incidents of bombardment were reported by relief agencies in southern Sudan during the period, Annan's annual report stated. Eastern Equatoria in particular was a repeated target of bombing by the government. Meanwhile, raids by 'Murahaleen' militia in the first half of 1999 added to the fragile humanitarian situation in southern Sudan. The raids led to "a number of deaths, theft of livestock and the abduction of women and children", it said.
SUDAN-ERITREA: No repatriation for Eritrean refugees
Arrangements to repatriate Eritrean refugees in Sudan had not materialised over the past year because of the Eritrea-Ethiopia border conflict, the prevailing state of relations between Sudan and Eritrea, and the "unwillingness" of Eritrea "to take back its nationals", the Secretary-General's report said. During the period, UNHCR assisted 147,302 Eritrean refugees living in camps in eastern Sudan.
ETHIOPIA: Repatriation of Kenyan refugees suspended
The repatriation of some 4,700 Kenyan refugees from Ethiopia was temporarily suspended by the Kenyan government on Wednesday. The directive came after the refugees had been stranded in no-man's land between Kenya and Ethiopia for about two days. A statement from UNHCR said that the government requested the suspension citing "security concerns" and "clan conflicts" in the refugees' area of return. "UNHCR will make new arrangements to assist the refugees who had dismantled their shelters in camps in Moyale, Ethiopia, in readiness for their return home," the agency's statement said. The refugees had sought asylum in Ethiopia in May 1993.
ETHIOPIA: WFP concerned over cereal shortage
WFP has expressed concern over the cereal shortage in Ethiopia, saying there is still a 44 percent shortfall in requirements. The US in September pledged 10,000 mt of maize, but a WFP spokesperson told IRIN there was currently a "break in the pipeline".
ETHIOPIA-ERITREA: Eritrea denies launching attacks
Ethiopia has claimed its troops repelled attacks launched by Eritrea near the Jerbert River in the Badme area last week. A government statement said that in two days of fighting, over 335 Eritrean soldiers were killed and some ammunition was captured. Eritrea categorically denied the allegations, accusing Ethiopia of an "utterly fictitious claim".
SOMALILAND: Good prospects for food security
A recent Food Security Assessment Unit (FSAU) report noted good prospects for food security in Somaliland though "pockets of vulnerability exist". Food insecurity was concentrated among the poor pastoralists in areas of Sool and Toghdeer with an estimated population of 40,000-60,000. FSAU said their plight had been highlighted on several occasions but previous recommendations to support their livelihoods had not resulted in action or interventions. "Levels of chronic vulnerability have therefore been rising," the FSAU report said.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Patasse's new cabinet announced
Prime-Minister Anicet-Georges Dologuele last week formed a new 24-member government to serve under President Ange-Felix Patasse, news organisations and UN sources said. A statement from the UN Mission in the CAR (MINURCA), received by IRIN, said the new cabinet included members of the ruling Mouvement de liberation du peuple centrafricain (MLPC), several opposition political parties, and representatives from civil society and the military. The opposition coalition Union des forces acquises a la paix (UFAP) had declared last month that its members would not take part in Patasse's new government. Meanwhile, two political parties have withdrawn from UFAP, news agencies reported on 30 October.
CAR: Congolese refugees repatriated
UNHCR has begun to repatriate some 2,000 Congolese refugees from the capital Bangui, a UNHCR official told IRIN on Thursday. "We sent 152 people to Kinshasa on the first flight on Tuesday, and two flights tomorrow [Friday] will bring a minimum of 300 to Kinshasa," he said. The refugees had been sheltering at the port of Bangui since they fled conflict between government forces and rebels in the DRC's Equateur province in July.
Nairobi, 5 November 1999, 15:30 gmt
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Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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