Great Lakes: IRIN Weekly Round-up 30-97, 11/14/97

Great Lakes: IRIN Weekly Round-up 30-97, 11/14/97

U N I T E D N A T I O N S Department of Humanitarian Affairs Integrated Regional Information Network for the Great Lakes

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[The weekly roundup is based on IRIN daily updates and other relevant information from UN agencies, NGOs, governments, donors and the media. IRIN issues these reports for the benefit of the humanitarian community, but accepts no responsibility as to the accuracy of the original sources.]

Great Lakes: IRIN Weekly Round-up 30-97 of Main Events in the Great Lakes region, covering the period 7-13 Nov 1997

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: UN special rapporteur criticises DRC government

The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the DRC said the record of the first few months of the government of President Laurent-Desire Kabila was "less than satisfactory". In a report to the General Assembly, Robert Garreton said the government, which took over in May, had eliminated a number of basic human rights, and none of the required conditions for democracy exist. The Special Rapporteur added the government had failed to advance the peace process. According to the report, ethnic conflicts have not been settled, nor will they be settled until Kinshasa commits itself to a policy of reconciliation. Garreton urged the government to immediately begin the process of building democracy with timetables for the holding of elections. The report did say, however, that the capture of power by Kabila did have "some positive aspects", such as an end to extortion and looting, with increased security in the cities.

Officials say UN rights probe will be given "green light"

Senior DRC officials told the BBC the UN human rights investigative team would be allowed access to the entire country. The UN team's three leaders, who arrived back in Kinshasa on Tuesday, have informed the government of their plan to operate two simultaneous "scouting" missions - one to Mbandaka in the northwest and the other to Kisangani in the east.

Kabila accuses some of his followers of abuse of position

Kabila has ordered officials and members of his entourage who abuse their positions to stop. Information Minister Raphael Ghenda said Kabila had "forbidden" officials at a cabinet meeting to "peddle influence," DRC state radio said.

Health situation poor in Maniema

UNICEF reports that the health situation in the Kindu area of eastern DRC is "worrying". In the first two weeks of October, 25 children under two died of severe anaemia at Kindu General Hospital. Health structures lack drugs and equipment, immunizations are not taking place, and unbalanced diets have contributed to nutritional deficiencies among children.

Refugees, displaced in North Kivu

A joint UNICEF/MSF-Holland mission to assess the condition of Ugandan refugees in the Mutwanga and Oicha areas of North Kivu was unable to visit many of the reported refugee sites due to security problems along the border between DRC and Uganda. Local authorities from five communities visited by the team reported 4,330 Ugandan refugees in their areas. Local authorities also requested assistance for locally-displaced people and recent Congolese returnees from Uganda.

CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: Flash Appeal launched

A US $17.7 million UN Inter-Agency Flash Appeal for Congo-Brazzaville was launched on Monday to tackle the humanitarian needs of the country's more than 650,000 displaced. The appeal brings together FAO, WFP, WHO, UNICEF, UNDP, DHA and NGOs in a coordinated three-month long strategy that prioritises the provision of food and shelter, basic health care, water and sanitation as well as limited distributions of seeds and tools.

Sassou Nguesso names new military chiefs

Congo's new ruler Denis Sassou Nguesso named close aides to key posts in the army, the police and the gendarmerie. The government's Radio Liberte on Wednesday quoted spokesman Francois Ibovi as saying the appointments were part of "the urgent reorganisation of public order forces". A former military academy director, Brigadier-General Joseph Niombela, had been made the secretary-general and military advisor in the defence ministry which Sassou Nguesso would head. An ex-head of military intelligence Colonel Gilbert Moukoki was appointed head of the army, while Captain Fulgor Ongobo, a frigate commander, was given back the command of the central African country's small navy. Colonel Medard Ndoudi became air force chief.

Foreigners freed

Twenty foreign nationals from Russia, France and Belgium were freed by the Brazzaville authorities and allowed to return home. Diplomatic intervention by Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos allegedly helped secure the release of three French nationals detained in the port city of Pointe-Noire following a request by French President, Jacques Chirac. Most of the Europeans were accused of helping ousted president Pascal Lissouba. Meanwhile, the French ambassador to Congo-Brazzaville said Paris would provide reconstruction aid for the country.

Civil servants to receive their salaries

Finance Minister Mathias Dzon pledged that civil service salaries will be paid by the end of the month. "At government level we have decided to do the necessary," he told state radio. Even before the civil war started in June, many civil servants had not been paid for more than a year. Meanwhile, residents told IRIN life was slowly returning to normal in the devastated capital Brazzaville. Traffic had notably increased with some taxis and buses circulating in town. They also said displaced people were drifting back, but there had been no big influx.

BURUNDI: Government labels arms embargo proposal "hypocritical"

The Bujumbura authorities have criticised a report by the UN's human rights Special Rapporteur on Burundi urging the easing of sanctions as soon as the government shows a tangible commitment to peace and national reconciliation. Pierre-Claver Nzeyimana, Chef de Cabinet in the prime minister's office, told IRIN the government is committed to all-party peace talks in Arusha, Tanzania. However, he complained that Tanzanian mediator Julius Nyerere has failed to convene the proposed meeting. In his report, Special Rapporteur Paulo Sergio Pinheiro also called for the imposition of an arms embargo on Burundi which he said should be directed at both government and rebel forces. "This is hypocrisy," Nzeyimana said. "Everybody knows an embargo on guns would be against the government but not the rebels." Bujumbura, however, found some comfort in the position of the 19-member Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa which on Monday urged an end to sanctions, saying they were counter-productive.

Concern voiced over camp evictions

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Burundi Hussein Khan met the Burundian prime minister to "voice the concern" of the humanitarian community over the army's eviction of some 5,000 displaced people from a camp in the north of the country. According to humanitarian sources, the prime minister said he had not been informed about the decision to dismantle and burn the regroupment camp last Thursday at Rwegura, in Kayanza province. The displaced had originally fled fighting in the neighbouring provinces of Bubanza and Cibitoke. Aid workers told IRIN that they had been marched to Ndora, in Cibitoke, an area off-limits to humanitarian agencies. In defence of the operation, army spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Isaie Nibizi told AFP the displaced had returned home "on their own accord".

A report by the UN Human Rights Field Operation in Burundi said October was marked by rebel attacks and military operations in the provinces of Cibitoke, Bubanza, Rural Bujumbura, Bururi and Makamba "which caused dozens of deaths among civilians." It also noted a new strategy of violence by the rebels - burning down schools and farms. Meanwhile, military officials told AFP last Friday that 14 people died in an attack by Hutu rebels on a displaced persons' camp at Rutumo, about 50 km south of Bujumbura.

Six people were sentenced to death on Tuesday for crimes of genocide in the northern and central regions. Five sentences were handed down in Gitega, Burundi's second city, and one in Ngozi.

RWANDA: UN envoy expresses concern over conditions of detention

The Special Representative of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Rwanda said Kigali should be commended for its cooperation with the members of the international community active in human rights matters. However, in his latest report, Michel Moussalli, who went on a field mission to Rwanda from 26 July to 4 August 1997, expressed concern about the "shocking" conditions of detention in some of the prisons and communal cachots he visited. The report said many of the inmates were being detained without substantiated grounds for their arrest and detention.

Report shows street-children are a product of 1994 genocide

Eighty-seven percent of Rwandan street children surveyed in a recent study said they found their way on to the streets as a consequence of the 1994 genocide. According to the study, poverty, disharmony at home, or the loss of parents/guardians were among the factors pushing them on to the streets. One-third of the children, colloquially known as 'mayibobo', said they had never been registered at school. They complained of health problems, typically malaria, and said their biggest security worry was being beaten up. The survey, completed in November by researchers from the University College Cork, Ireland, and the ministry of youth, questioned 297 children.

TANZANIA: Humanitarian community concerned over refugee expulsions

Senior humanitarian sources have expressed concern at continuing expulsions of Rwandans from Tanzania. At least 1,450 have arrived in Rwanda so far, and the latest information is that Congolese are also now being targetted in the Tanzanian government's roundup of long-term foreign residents and old-caseload refugees. The expulsions by the Tanzanian army began on 4 October. The Rwandan embassy in Dar es Salaam has protested over the deportations. Tanzania has said the expulsions are part of a security sweep to get rid of illegal aliens along the Burundian and Rwandan borders, because of increasing law and order problems.

US provides military aid

The United States has given Tanzania a US $250,000 grant for military training. The aid, announced on Friday, was provided under the US Security Assistance and International Military Exchange Programme (IMEP). It will be used to train Tanzanian officers in human and legal rights and infantry skills, Reuters reported.

ANGOLA: Angola accuses Zambia of violating its airspace

The Luanda government has accused Zambia of violating Angolan airspace and plans to lodge an official protest with the Lusaka authorities, AFP quoted Interior Minister Andre Pitra as saying on Wednesday. "We will inform the Zambian authorities of our concern," the minister said in a radio broadcast ahead of a visit to Lusaka for a meeting of the defence grouping of the Southern African Devlopment Community (SADC).

Savimbi willing to meet dos Santos

A senior UNITA official confirmed that the movement's leader Jonas Savimbi is willing to meet with dos Santos at a venue to be agreed upon by the two sides. In an interview broadcast by the BBC, Isais Samakuva said the meeting would help revive the peace process. Samakuva added that UNITA's Foreign Relations Secretary Alcides Sakala has been sent to Luanda to discuss the issue with the government.

SUDAN: Peace talks adjourned until April 1998

Ten days of peace talks between the Sudanese government and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) ended inconclusively on Tuesday. They are due to resume in April next year. The discussions foundered on the key issues of religion, self-determination and the constitutional character of the state. The SPLA said there would be no ceasefire in advance of the April talks.

UGANDA: Rebels strike in west, army hits in the north

Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels killed at least four civilians on Sunday in Uganda's western Kabarole District. The privately-owned 'Monitor' reported that the attack displaced some 2,300 people. Kabarole borders the rebel-hit districts of Bundibugyo and Kasese. Meanwhile, the state-owned 'New Vision' said at least eight Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels were killed in heavy clashes with the army in the Aswa area of northern Gulu district on Friday. Meanwhile, a man was arrested in connection with a grenade attack on a tourist hotel last month. The ADF claimed responsibility for the 31 October attack in which three foreign tourists suffered slight injuries.

KENYA: Elections set for December 29

Kenya's presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on December 29. The announcement on Wednesday came two days after President Daniel arap Moi dissolved parliament.

UN says some Kenyan coastal areas still cut off by floods

The UN Resident Coordinator in Kenya has reported that many southern coastal areas and inland all the way up to Tana river were still isolated after experiencing the heaviest rainfall for 30 years. His report noted that if heavy rainfall continued in western parts of the country beyond the normal rainfall season, there could be a disastrous effect on crops during the harvesting period of November/December in the maize and-wheat growing areas of Western and Rift Valley.

Nairobi, 14 November 1997, 12:30 gmt


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Date: Fri, 14 Nov 1997 13:35:49 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Weekly Round-up 30-97 7-13 Nov 1997 97.11.14 Message-ID: <>

Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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