REPUBLIC OF CONGO: IRIN News Briefs [19991119]

REPUBLIC OF CONGO: IRIN News Briefs [19991119]

REPUBLIC OF CONGO: IRIN News Briefs, Friday 19 November


Army and rebels sign truce Ousted leaders excluded Clashes near Kindamba Decrease in returnee numbers Malnutrition among Brazzaville residents

Army and rebels sign truce

Congo's armed forces and representatives of the Ninja and Cocoye rebel militias signed an accord in the southern port city of Pointe-Noire on Tuesday calling for a cessation of hostilities, news agencies reported. The accord called for "the unconditional, nationwide end of armed clashes between the different militias and government forces," Reuters reported. It said more than 200 representatives of militias allied to former president Pascal Lissouba and former prime minister Bernard Kolelas took part in the four-day talks that led to the signing. The accord also called for amnesty and rehabilitation of rebels who lay down their weapons and renounce violence, but it did not give a timetable for implementation. The talks were held in collaboration with officials from the former Lissouba regime who had recently returned from exile, news agencies said.

Ousted leaders excluded

Kolelas called the peace accord a "sham", while Lissouba said it was a "machination," news agencies reported. President Denis Sassou-Nguesso said neither Kolelas nor Lissouba, both living in exile, had participated in reaching the agreement. "The armed factions inside the country took their own decision and responded in a concrete way to our appeal for peace," Sassou-Nguesso was quoted as saying on Wednesday. The Ninja were represented by Colonel Bernard Tandou, and the Cocoye by Colonel Boutsi Moukoko. Residents in the capital, Brazzaville, reacted to the accord with indifference, AFP said.

Clashes near Kindamba

Meanwhile, 27 Ninja militia were killed by army forces during clashes last Thursday and Friday near Kindamba, about 80 km from Brazzaville, news agencies reported. AFP quoted army spokesman Jean-Robert Obargui as saying on Saturday that six army soldiers were injured in the fighting.

Decrease in returnee numbers

Some 7,000 new returnees were registered in Brazzaville last week, which was 4,000 less than during the previous week, a UN report received by IRIN said. The reduction could be attributed partly to persistent insecurity and human rights violations committed on routes used by people returning to the city, the report said. It could also be explained by the recent increase in the level of assistance being provided in Kinkala, 77 km from the capital, which was encouraging people to go to that town from the forests. A team from the NGO Caritas was now well established in Kinkala, from where humanitarian assistance would also be extended to Boko and two other villages along the railway line, the report added.

Malnutrition among Brazzaville residents

Brazzaville residents have not been spared from the severe malnutrition affecting the country's displaced persons, the UN report said. A recent NGO survey found that 20 percent of beneficiaries in its two Brazzaville nutrition centres had never been displaced. Meanwhile, the Evangelical Church of Congo, with WFP support, has recently opened nutrition centres beyond the Djoue river some 17 km from Brazzaville, as well as in Dolisie, Nkayi and Pointe-Noire, to help malnourished people in those areas.


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

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