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Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN-CEA Weekly Round-up 45 covering the period 6 - 12 November 1999
RWANDA: Kigali suspends cooperation with ICTR RWANDA: "Laying foundations for democratic society" - UN RWANDA: Defence cuts in new budget RWANDA: Government requests emergency food aid DRC: UN teams go to the field DRC: "Wobbly" commitment to peace accord DRC: OAU to deploy military observers DRC: Four JMC working groups to address crucial issues DRC: Fighting reported in Equateur province DRC: Rebel faction reportedly seeks Uganda's backing DRC: Rebels accuse Kabila of recruiting "negative elements" DRC: Gemena "fairly stable" TANZANIA-BURUNDI: Refugee influx increases BURUNDI: Children separated from their families BURUNDI: 13 killed in ambush BURUNDI: More rebel groups opposed to South African mediation UGANDA-RWANDA: New agreement to improve ties UGANDA-RWANDA: Pledge to help rebel form united front UGANDA: Troops sent to "flush out" rebels in west SUDAN: UN to undertake $10 million Nuba Mountains programme KENYA: Scepticism over Moi call for displaced to return to Rift Valley DJIBOUTI: Mounting tension with Eritrea REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Enhanced stability underpins $17 million UN appeal
RWANDA: Kigali suspends cooperation with ICTR
The Rwandan government temporarily suspended its cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) last Friday after the court that day ordered the release of genocide suspect Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza. The cabinet strongly condemned the move, saying Barayagwiza's release - on the grounds that procedural flaws violated his human rights - could be used by other detainees. Rwandan Chief Prosecutor Gerald Gahima described the decision as a "deplorable precedent".
Rwandan officials have said they will not meet the new chief prosecutor of the ICTR, Carla del Ponte, who announced her intention to visit the country this month. Associated Press quoted Justice Minister Jean de Dieu Mucyo as saying the country was not ready to welcome her because of the ICTR's decision to free Barayagwiza. The released suspect has asked that he be allowed to go to a host country of his choice, the Hirondelle news agency reported.
RWANDA: "Laying foundations for democratic society" - UN
The UN Human Rights Commission's special representative for Rwanda has said the country is stepping out of the shadow of genocide and laying the foundations for a democratic society. In a report, he noted positive developments over the past year such as successful local elections, the establishment of a human rights commission and a unity and reconciliation commission, and the proposed use of traditional justice systems (gacaca) to speed up genocide trials. In spite of the progress there was not yet a culture of human rights in Rwanda, the report said.
RWANDA: Defence cuts in new budget
Finance Minister Donald Kaberuka on Wednesday presented his draft budget to parliament for the year 2000, Rwandan radio reported. The budget - totalling 169 billion Rwandan francs - provides for a 62 million franc reduction in defence spending. The minister said the number of ministries will have to be reduced and foreign embassies will be cut by half. The National Assembly proposed that security be maintained by "voluntary contributions" from Rwandans according to their means, Rwandan media sources reported.
RWANDA: Government requests emergency food aid
Prime Minister Pierre-Celestin Rwigema on Monday said the country faced a 158,000 mt cereal deficit and required US $10 million to provide emergency assistance to some 78,912 families for at least six months, Radio Rwanda reported. Rwigema, addressing diplomats in Kigali, said families in five prefectures (Umutara, Gitarama, Kigali-Rural, Kibungo and Butare) were "devastated" by food shortages. Meanwhile, the results of an inter-agency rapid assessment mission late last week to look into the current drought and vulnerability situation are still awaited, a WFP spokesperson told IRIN.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: UN teams go to the field
UN technical survey teams left Kinshasa for the field on Thursday, after agreement on their deployment was reached Wednesday during a meeting between UN Special Envoy for the DRC Moustapha Niasse and DRC President Laurent-Desire Kabila. The UN Observer Mission in the Congo (MONUC) told IRIN the teams had left for the rebel-held areas of Gbadolite, Goma, Kisangani and Bukavu, and the government-held area of Kananga. Regional analysts attributed the apparent breakthrough to Niasse's visit bringing the necessary "political presence" to the DRC.
DRC: "Wobbly" commitment to peace accord
The UN Security Council last Friday extended the mandate of 90 UN Military Liaison Officers (MLOs) to help implement the Lusaka ceasefire accord but did not authorise the proposed deployment of 500 military observers. There was "no mention of moving to the second phase, at least not now ... As to the parties to the peace agreement, we're trying to hold everyone's feet to the fire as far as their commitment to the agreement, but that's quite wobbly," UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's spokesman, Fred Eckhard, told journalists.
DRC: OAU to deploy military observers
Meanwhile, the OAU was expected to deploy some 30 military observers to the DRC from this weekend to begin ceasefire verification, the chairman of the Joint Military Commission (JMC), General Rachid Lallali, told IRIN on Monday. "By the weekend, we will have the means to be present in the field - to investigate, to check and to monitor these ceasefire violations," Lallali said.
DRC: Four JMC working groups to address crucial issues
The JMC, which is charged with implementing the Lusaka ceasefire agreement, has established four working groups to present their findings to the next full JMC meeting in Harare from 30 November. The different groups are to consider: the determination of humanitarian corridors and the exchange of prisoners of war; mechanisms for the
disarmament of armed groups and civilian Congolese in illegal possession of arms; mechanisms for the disengagement of rival forces; and for the orderly withdrawal of foreign forces, according to a press release from the JMC.
DRC: Fighting reported in Equateur province
Both sides in the DRC conflict this week claimed there was fighting underway at Bekili, 80 km from Bokungu in Equateur province. The second vice-president of the rebel Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD), Moise Nyarugabo, told the BBC Kinyarwanda service that fighting had been underway for five days after DRC government troops reportedly launched an attack. He said about 100 civilians had lost their lives. Meanwhile, DRC state radio said allied forces of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) "repulsed an attack by rebels and their allies" on Bekili last week and claimed two rebels were killed.
DRC: Rebel faction reportedly seeks Uganda's backing
Rebels of the Goma-based RCD have reportedly sought Uganda's backing amid the "emerging leadership crisis in the faction and dwindling support from Rwanda", the weekly 'EastAfrican' newspaper reported on Monday. It quoted sources as saying the faction's second vice president Moise Nyarugabo and chief of intelligence Bizima Karaha's surprise visit to Kampala last weekend followed days of "intense infighting" among members of the RCD general assembly.
DRC: Rebels accuse Kabila of recruiting "negative elements"
RCD president Emile Ilunga accused Kabila of recruiting "negative elements" into his army, despite the provision in the Lusaka peace accord that they be disarmed. In an interview with Gabonese radio, Ilunga stressed peace and security in the Great Lakes region was impossible as long as those forces remained in the country. Expressing support for an inter-Congolese dialogue, he also called for an international conference on the Great Lakes region. Meanwhile, RCD second vice-president Moise Nyarugabo denied government allegations that Angolan UNITA rebels had infiltrated and were fighting alongside the RCD. "Where would they pass? The border between Congo and Angola is guarded by Kabila's soldiers," he told rebel-controlled Goma radio.
DRC: Gemena "fairly stable"
A humanitarian mission to Gemena in Equateur province on 4 November found the overall situation in the MLC-held town to be fairly stable and said reports of widespread destruction due to air raids by Kinshasa's allies appeared to have been "gravely exaggerated". An OCHA mission report received by IRIN on Wednesday said the town's market was very busy and goods were abundant. While northern Equateur was relatively stable, there was a need to assess eastern parts of the province, where it was feared the humanitarian situation could be critical on account of conflict and sustained population displacement, the report added.
TANZANIA-BURUNDI: Refugee influx increases
More than 400 people a day are now arriving in western Tanzania after fleeing violence and forced displacement in southern Burundi, UNHCR said on Tuesday. Between 1-8 November, UNHCR registered 4,150 new arrivals in Kigoma, Kasulu, Kibondo and Ngara, UNHCR spokesman Kris Janowski said. More
than 7,000 Burundi refugees crossed to the same areas during October, he said. Refugees are arriving from the provinces of Makamba, Rutana, Gitega and Kirundo and report continuing fighting between rebels and government forces, as well as forced regoupment in inadequate, makeshift sites by the government.
BURUNDI: Children separated from their families
An estimated 1,500 children in Burundi remain separated from their families, SCF has said. In an emergency bulletin, SCF said the situation was due to the country's war, population displacements, the breakdown of the family, poverty and other factors. Meanwhile, some 110,000 children in Burundi have lost one or both parents to AIDS, representing the sixth-highest proportion of AIDS orphans in the world, the report stated. The reluctance of donors to fund anything except emergency projects in the country "undermines the long-term approach to which SCF is committed", it added.
BURUNDI: 13 killed in ambush
Thirteen people, including three soldiers, were killed and 13 others wounded on Monday in an ambush by Hutu rebels in Musenyi in northern Burundi, news organisations reported. According to the BBC Kirundi service, the rebels laid a tree across the main road north of Bujumbura, between Bugarama and Kayanza, in order to ambush vehicles using the highway.
BURUNDI: More rebel groups opposed to South African mediation
The rebel umbrella organisation ULINA has added its voice to rebel opposition to South African mediation of the Burundi peace process. The Union pour la liberation nationale (ULINA) claimed South Africa was "biased" and alleged there was military cooperation between Burundi and South Africa. Last week, the CNDD faction of Leonard Nyangoma - which does not come under the ULINA umbrella - also expressed its opposition to South Africa's mediation.
UGANDA-RWANDA: New agreement to improve ties
Uganda and Rwanda have resolved to promote closer cooperation between the two countries. A meeting between Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his Rwandan counterpart Pasteur Bizimungu in Kabale, southwestern Uganda, ended on Monday with the two leaders agreeing on the way forward to resolve outstanding problems between the two countries and to strengthen their alliance.
RWANDA-UGANDA: Pledge to help rebels form united front
Rwanda and Uganda further agreed to help RCD rebels form a united front against Kabila, Bizimungu told journalists on arrival from Uganda. According to Rwandan radio, he said the two countries were going to adopt a "common vision" on the DRC problem and set up strategies to help those opposed to Kabila. In this regard, the two countries had decided to help the RCD come up with a single representative within the JMC.
UGANDA: Troops sent to "flush out" rebels in west
More than 6,000 Ugandan soldiers, specially trained in mountain warfare, have been deployed to the Ruwenzori mountains to "flush out" rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). The 'New Vision' newspaper quoted army Chief of Staff Brigadier James Kazini as saying on Monday that the operation, which started on Saturday, would deal the "final blow to the
rebels". Kazini reportedly said the operation was the final stage in the war against the ADF rebels, which included destroying rebel camps in the mountains and sealing off their bases in neighbouring DRC.
SUDAN: UN to undertake $10 million Nuba Mountains programme
Following a humanitarian mission to the Nuba Mountains, undertaken with the cooperation of the Sudanese government and the Sudan People's Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M), the UN humanitarian programme for the Sudan will next year include, for the first time, multi-sectoral assistance for populations in the Nuba Mountains, the UN stated on Wednesday. The Nuba Mountain programme, with an estimated budget of US $10 million, will be included in the Inter-Agency Consolidated Appeal for the Sudan for the year 2000 "to address essential humanitarian needs as well as medium-term recovery and rehabilitation needs."
KENYA: Scepticism over Moi call for displaced to return to Rift Valley
Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi this week called on thousands of displaced people in the country's Rift Valley province to return to their homes and continue with their normal lives. Following all-out clashes in the province in 1992 between the Kikuyu and Kalenjin groups, and a smaller resurgence in 1998, thousands of displaced people are still living in fear of returning to their original homes. Moi reassured the displaced that "maximum security" would be ensured so that the problems did not recur. However, Kenya Human Rights Commission's Management Coordinator, James Nduko, expressed doubt over the "practicability" of Moi's directive, since no logistical arrangements had been made to help the families.
DJIBOUTI: Mounting tension with Eritrea
Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh, elected in May, on Thursday warned of deteriorating relations between his country and Eritrea. In a BBC interview, he accused Eritrea of supporting Djiboutian rebels and said the two countries were "almost in a state of war". Djibouti, whose Red Sea port is a vital lifeline for landlocked Ethiopia, risks becoming embroiled in the 18-month Ethiopia-Eritrea conflict, regional analysts said. However, an Eritrean spokesman told IRIN on Friday the new allegations were "ridiculous". Djibouti severed diplomatic relations with Eritrea nearly a year ago, after Asmara accused it during an OAU summit of taking part in the war on Ethiopia's side. The two countries have since then been at loggerheads, despite Djibouti's professed neutrality. REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Enhanced stability underpins $17 million UN appeal
The UN this week released details of a $17 million Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal (CAP) for the year 2000 based on the likelihood of further stabilisation in the country and greater humanitarian access to the rural interior. The UN's intention is to "concentrate emergency assistance mainly on the four most affected regions" (Pool, Bouenza, Niari and Lekoumou) in the south as well affected populations in Pointe-Noire and the Plateaux region, an appeal document stated. The appeal is to be formally launched by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in Geneva on 23 November, World Humanitarian Day.
Nairobi, 12 November 1999, 15:00 gmt
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Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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