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IRIN Update No. 307 for Central and Eastern Africa (Friday 5 December 1997)
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Government opponents arrested in Bukavu
The South Kivu authorities say they have arrested those responsible for distributing leaflets in Bukavu recently and they will be "made to answer for their actions". The leaflets had called for a strike to protest against the authorities. DRC radio said interim governor Benjamin Serukiza congratulated Bukavu residents "for not giving in to blackmail by ill-intentioned people". President Laurent-Desire Kabila meanwhile set up a new military court, which would try soldiers who attacked civilians. Kabila's decision to create the court was prompted by "mounting insecurity in DRC", a National Security Council statement said, according to state radio on Wednesday. In Kinshasa, four journalists working for both local and foreign media were sacked by the state broadcasting network. The acting head of Radio Television Nationale Congolaise accused them of "failing to heed instructions...regarding the dissemination of news". According to AFP, the four journalists said they were accused of "distorting" facts following last week's arrest of Commander Masasu Nindaga and subsequent shootouts in the capital between army factions.
Masasu transferred to undergound jail near Lubumbashi
'Le Palmares' daily reported Masasu had been transferred to an underground jail in Buluwo between Lubumbashi and Kolwezi. He is reported to be on hunger strike. His aides, also under detention, wrote to the newspaper saying Masasu was arrested because of the "courageous position" he adopted on the situation in the country. Meanwhile, at a cabinet meeting on Monday, Kabila stressed the unity of the national army. "There is no army of Katangese, of Rwandans, of Banyamulenge, of ex-FAZ, but only one national army where ethnic factions are banned," the newspaper quoted Kabila as saying.
Amnesty alleges "wanton killings" in DRC
A report by Amnesty International claimed there had been a "pattern of wanton killing of Hutus" in DRC from December 1996. It said witnesses interviewed by the organisation had spoken of massacres and killings by members of the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (ADFL). The report called for a "thorough investigation" into the allegations and urged cooperation from the international community.
Friends of Congo meeting urges human rights guarantees
Foreign Minister Bizimia Karaha told the 'Friends of Congo' donor meeting in Brussels yesterday there would not be lasting peace in his country without economic recovery. Voice of America radio said the meeting, attended by 18 countries and 10 international organisations, agreed in principle on a trust fund for DRC, without determining the amount. VOA pointed out the European Commission is the largest potential donor with US $168 million of aid currently frozen. The EC warned there must be guarantees on human rights before most of the money could be released. However, US $50 million will be unblocked for the health sector and there will be further aid for an infrastructure programme, VOA said.
RWANDA: Rebels on recruitment drive, army says
Army spokesman Richard Sezibera said the recent insecurity in some parts of Gisenyi prefecture had to be put in the context of a general improvement in security in northern Rwanda. In an interview with Radio Rwanda yesterday (Thursday), he acknowledged security in some Gisenyi communes over the last two months had "not been particularly good". "Persistant attacks, sometimes involving big numbers of armed groups" had been carried out in Giciye, Rwerere, Ndusu, Gatonde and some other communes.But the neighbouring prefecture of Ruhengeri had been "particularly peaceful", as had Byumba prefecture. Large areas of Gisenyi itself were calm, he said.He claimed the armed forces were doing a good job and there was no need to panic. Militarily the rebels were not a threat and had suffered heavy losses. Thus, Sezibera said, the recent prison attacks were part of a recruitment drive. He urged civilians not to allow the rebels to melt into their communities.
Robinson arrives in Kigali
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson arrived in Kigali last night, saying she had "a lot of serious questions" to ask, AFP reported. She is expected to focus on the security situation in northwest areas of Rwanda.
BURUNDI: Peace dialogue opens in Brussels
A peace dialogue between Burundians living in their country and those abroad is due to open in Brussels today. They are being brought together by an organisation known as the Compagnie des Apotres de la paix (CAP) who says its aim is to enable all Burundians to contribute to the peace process. It is hoped the meeting, from 5 to 7 December, will be the first of a series to be organised in France, Switzerland and Kenya, CAP said in a statement.
Nyerere planning consultative meeting
Peace mediator Julius Nyerere is planning to hold a consultative meeting of all parties in the Burundi conflict soon. His aide Mark Bomani told Reuters the talks would be held "in the not too distant future" in the Tanzanian town of Arusha. The idea was not to negotiate but to discuss how to move the peace process forward, he said, adding it was up to Burundian leader Pierre Buyoya to decide whether or not he wanted to attend.
Parliament ready to work with government
National Assembly Speaker Leonce Ngendakumana said yesterday parliament was prepared to work with the government to find a peaceful solution to Burundi's problems. He proposed setting up a joint committee which would meet with regional leaders seeking to broker peace in the country. Ngendakumana said parliament had made a commitment to "be realistic and to make political compromises". However, it would "never support the current leadership if it chooses to resolve the internal problems of this country through war," he warned.
UNHCR to concentrate on southern provinces
UNHCR is to shift focus in 1998, according to a DHA report from Burundi. It is planning to gradually phase out its operations in the northwest provinces of Bubanza and Cibitoke, to which the majority of people, who sought refuge in former Zaire, have returned within the past year. UNHCR will instead concentrate its activities on the southern and southeastern provinces in anticipation of the return of up to approximately 250,000 Burundians who remain in camps in Tanzania.
UGANDA: Rebels reportedly kill 21
Security forces said rebels from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) killed 21 people in an attack Tuesday night in the Kyarusozi area of western Kabarole district. According to BBC radio, the victims were ordered to lie on the ground and were then hacked to death with machetes. A number of people were also abducted.
Permanent committee on border security with Rwanda set up
Uganda and Rwanda have agreed to set up a permanent committee on border scurity and to extradite suspected criminals, the state-owned 'New Vision' reported today. The decisions follow a meeting on Wednesday between officials from Rwanda's Ruhengeri prefecture and their counterparts in Uganda's southwest Kabale and Kisoro districts.
KENYA: UNHCR moving stranded refugees
UNHCR is moving to higher ground 5,000 refugees whose shelters were destroyed by heavy flooding in the northeast Ifo and Dagaheley camps. Rains are still continuing in the Dadaab area and water is still a metre deep in much of the area, UNHCR said. The only way to reach the stranded refugees is by air. No vehicles have been able to reach the camps for two weeks now.
ANGOLA: Albright wants to meet Savimbi
US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has asked UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi to come to Luanda for a meeting during her visit there later this month, AFP reported. It quoted a State Department spokesman as saying, however, the "odds are rather low" as Savimbi rarely ventures from his Andulo stronghold in central Angola.Albrght is due to arrive in Angola on 12 December.
1,500 refugees back from Zambia
Official sources in Angola said some 1,500 refugees have returned home from Zambia as part of a repatriation operation launched in mid-October. An estimated 100,000 refugees fled the country's civil war to Zambia, AFP reported. It quoted Minister for Social Reintegration Albino Malungo as saying repatriation had been hampered by a lack of financial resources and a bad infrastructure.
Nairobi, 5 December 1997, 14:30 gmt
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Date: Fri, 5 Dec 1997 17:50:20 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 307 97.12.5 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.91.971205174836.7784Aemail@example.com>
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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