Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 304, 12/2/97

Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 304, 12/2/97

Department of Humanitarian Affairs
Integrated Regional Information Network
for Central and Eastern Africa

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IRIN Update No. 304 for Central and Eastern Africa (Tuesday 2 December 1997)

BURUNDI: Efforts underway to organise regional summit

Efforts are underway to convene a new regional summit on Burundi to consider whether to maintain economic sanctions against the Tutsi-dominated government of Major Pierre Buyoya, diplomatic sources told IRIN today (Tuesday). The sources said the plan was to try to hold a meeting of Burundian political groupings first followed later by a regional heads of state summit.

Kigali radio, meanwhile, reported the Tanzanian foreign ministry had announced a meeting on sanctions for the second half of January, but did not say who would attend. The radio also quoted sources in Bujumbura as saying the Burundi authorities were unaware of such a meeting but "are open to discussions". On Monday, the 'EastAfrican' newspaper reported stalled peace negotiations under mediator Julius Nyerere would resume shortly and could lead to the end of the 16-month-old regional embargo against Burundi. The paper reported Buyoya would not be pressed to make a series of concessions as a pre-condition for normalisation - the issue most blamed for preventing progress in the past.

Much of country hit by dysentery outbreak

Medical sources report a major outbreak of bacillary dysentery across most of the country. They said that by the end of September, 34,000 cases had been registered and if the trend continued there would be 48,000 cases by the end of the year. The areas most affected were Ngozi, Gitega and Bujumbura Rural.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Human Rights Watch urges donors to set aid conditions

Ahead of a critical World Bank-organised donor meeting for DRC, Human Rights Watch has urged donor nations to link aid to respect for human rights and avoid "the mistake of funding a repressive government in the hopes of achieving stability in central Africa." The human rights monitoring group accused the government of President Laurent-Desire Kabila of violating basic human rights and showing "no commitment" to democracy. "The risk here is that donors will find themselves in the same position they were in under the Mobutu regime," said Peter Takirambudde, executive director of Human Rights Watch/Africa. Rather, the rights group called for aid to be linked to carefully calibrated benchmarks and based on an ongoing evaluation of human rights and democratisation criteria.

Donor meeting "could transform" central Africa

Donor nations meet in Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday to examine ways of helping revive a country rich in diamonds, cobalt and copper. Last week, Britain's 'Financial Times' said the meeting could transform the fortunes of central Africa by taking the first step to the "most exciting recovery programme" in Africa. "Unlike many African countries, it (DRC) has the resources to build a recovery, and attract essential foreign investment," the paper said in an editorial, warning that if the meeting failed "the repercussions would go well beyond the country's borders".

DRC confirms Rwandan heads army

DRC has confirmed for the first time that a Rwandan is currently the head of the country's armed forces, Reuters reported from Kinshasa. It said a statement, issued after an emergency cabinet meeting yesterday (Monday), pledged that all foreign soldiers would return home as soon as a new national army was trained. The same statement confirmed Interim Army Chief James Kabare in his position. Kabare was previously a senior figure in the Rwandan Patriotic Army which helped Kabila's Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (ADFL) take power in May. The cabinet meeting followed reports of clashes between different ethnic groups in the army since the arrest last Wednesday of Commander Masasu Nindaga, one of the founding members of the ADFL and a popular figure in eastern DRC. The government denied reports Masasu was acting army chief. Aid workers told IRIN today Goma was calm, although it was still not possible to travel beyond the town for security reasons, but they said Bukavu was tense after Masasu's detention on the grounds of "military discipline". Kabila has, meanwhile, called off plans for an official three-day visit to Uganda.

RWANDA: Government reshuffles top posts in army and gendarmerie

The Ministry of Defence has carried out a major reshuffle of top posts in the national army and gendarmerie, news organisations reported from Kigali. The reports said Colonel Marcel Gatsinzi, previously deputy chief of staff of the Rwandan army, was the new gendarmerie chief of staff replacing Colonel Deogratias Nibwami who appears to have been been demoted. Lieutenant-Colonel Jackson Rwahama becomes reservists' commander. His former post as head of the military police is taken over by Major Jean Zigira. Lieutenant-Colonel Karake Karenzi, who was head of military intelligence in Kigali, has been transferred to the 305th Brigade where he will be the army deputy commander for the Gitarama-Kibuye region. A Rwandan government spokesman described the military reshuffle as "normal and usual administrative changes" designed to "make things work better".

SUDAN: Sudan suspends UN family-planning programme

The Sudanese parliament has suspended a UN-sponsored family-planning programme for Sudan on the grounds that it contradicts Islamic values, AFP reported. The agency said the national assembly resolution was passed on Monday following days of heated debate following a report from the parliamentary social affairs committee on activities by international and local associations in the Khartoum suburb of Al Haj Yousuf under a programme sponsored by UNFPA. The committee, which branded the programme a threat to the Sudanese family, has called for legal action against all government agencies and officials involved in approving the Al Haj Yousuf and similar programmes in Sudan, and for the disbanding of all associations involved, including Sudanese family planning and fertility control offices.

Sudanese president says rebels will be crushed by year-end

AFP also reported Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir had vowed to defeat SPLA rebels opposing his government by the end of this year. "Our armed forces are determined to defeat the rebel forces of John Garang and Yousuf Kuwah this year if they fail to respond to the peace call," Bashir was quoted as saying in the local press. Meanwhile, Garang - who has led the SPLA since 1983 - has said his movement has no desire to break with Khartoum and destroy the country's unity. "Our movement is totally committed ... to the necessity to maintain the unity of our country," Garang told reporters following his first official meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

KENYA: Health minister says 110 die daily through AIDS

The 'Daily Nation' today reported Health Minister Jackson Mulinge as saying 110 Kenyans died every day from Aids or HIV-related causes. The minister, speaking in Nakuru during a ceremony to mark World Aids Day, said the 35 infections occurred daily. He said the number of people infected with the HIV virus had increased to 1.3 million this year and said this figure included 79,000 children.

European Union funds Kenya's wildlife service

The European Union is to grant the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) $2.5 million to fund a zoo improvement project in Nairobi and the rehabilitation of national parks, EU officials said Monday. According to AFP, an agreement for the funding was signed by the head of the EU delegation in Kenya Lutz Salzman and KWS director David Western. Salzman said most of the funds will be used to redesign and transform Nairobi's animal orphanage into a new conservation facility to be known as the Nairobi Safari Walk.

Nairobi, 2 December 1997


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Date: Tue, 2 Dec 1997 18:15:48 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 304 97.12.2 Message-ID: <>

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

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