Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Weekly Round-up 7-98 6-12 Feb 98.2.13

Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Weekly Round-up 7-98 6-12 Feb 98.2.13

U N I T E D N A T I O N S Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Integrated Regional Information Network for Central and Eastern Africa

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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.]

Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Weekly Round-up 7-98 covering the period 6-12 Feb 1998

SUDAN: Vice-President killed in plane crash

Sudanese First Vice-President Al-Zubair Mohammad Saleh was killed in a plane crash in south Sudan on Thursday along with other government officials, Sudanese radio reported. The crash occurred in Nasir town. The radio, monitored by the BBC, broadcast a statement by President Omar al-Bashir saying the nation had lost "some of its devoted sons and leaders".

Bahr el Ghazal situation deteriorates further

A humanitarian source told IRIN the situation in Bahr el Ghazal, southern Sudan was "life-threatening for the weakest, the oldest and the youngest." Current estimates indicate that as many as 106,000 people have fled the recent conflict. Prior to the recent upsurge in fighting aid agencies estimated 240,000 people of a total population roughly estimated at 1.5 million were already "vulnerable". "People are not in any shape to take more shocks", the aid worker told IRIN. Aweil is thought to be under the control of the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), while SPLA reinforcements, including tanks and artillery, are said to be attacking Wau again. The UN/NGO umbrella group, Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS), has submitted a request to the Government of Sudan for special flight clearances for seven locations to deliver supplies to displaced people, but no response has yet been forthcoming.

RWANDA: Rebels massacre 58 in Gisenyi

Hutu rebels massacred 58 people and wounded 64 in northwest Gisenyi prefecture last week, the Rwanda News Agency (RNA) reported on Monday. It quoted local administrator Jean Baptiste Muhirwa as saying the rebels crossed from the Democratic Republic of Congo into the border village of Ngugo on Friday night during heavy rain. They broke into houses and began killing people with guns and traditional weapons. On the same day, six rebels were killed in clashes with the army in Kinigi, just north of Ruhengeri. The army also launched an operation to flush out rebels hiding in the northwest Gisenyi region along the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Officer arrested in connection with Jenda massacre

Meanwhile, a military commander in the Jenda area of Ruhengeri prefecuture was arrested for failing to prevent a massacre of 35 people by Hutu militiamen last week. Spokesman Emmanuel Ndahiro, quoted by RNA, said "operational errors" were to blame for the massacre. "The army never intervened to stop the slaughter in which people were killed with traditional weapons," he said.

BURUNDI: At least 24 killed in rebel attack

News organisations reported at least 24 people were killed and 46 wounded when rebels attacked villagers in Minago, Rumonge commune in southern Burundi on Tuesday. Military spokesman Colonel Isaie Nibizi told reporters the rebels first attacked a military position in Minago, then went into the homes of people. He added that rebels were still in the Rumonge area following the Tuesday night attack.

Army flushes out rebels near Bujumbura

Residents of Bujumbura reported heavy weapons fire in the hills surrounding the city on Monday and Sunday, according to AFP. Nibizi said the army was conducting an offensive against "localised terrorists" in the area . "Armed bands never totally left the hills overlooking the capital," he told AFP, adding that the flushing out operations wound continue as long as armed gangs remained in the area.

Kenya Airways resumes flights to Bujumbura

Kenya Airways announced the commencement of humanitarian flights to Bujumbura, with the inaugural flight set for 17 February 1998. The once weekly flight will operate on Tuesdays.

TANZANIA: Ogata tells Burundi refugees to avoid politics

UNHCR head Sadako Ogata warned Burundian refugees on Wednesday to avoid political or military activity while living in camps in Tanzania, Reuters reported. Ogata, who is visiting the region, told mainly-Hutu refugees at Nduta Camp there was no danger they would be repatriated to Burundi, where the Tutsi-dominated army is fighting Hutu rebels.

Over US $117 million needed to repair infrastructure

Tanzania will need US $117.3 million to repair damage to infrastructure caused by three months of torrential rain blamed on the El Nino phenomenom, AFP reported President Benjamin Mkapa as telling parliament on Tuesday. AFP also said trucks en route from Dar es Salaam to northwestern Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi were forced to detour via Kenya because of road damage, but were blocked at the border following a demand by Kenya they obtain customs bonds before crossing the country. Meanwhile, PANA reported Uganda would receive an emergency world bank loan of US $30 million to repair roads and bridges damaged by the rains in that country.

KENYA: At least 354 die in highland malaria epidemic

At least 354 people have died over the last two weeks in a highland malaria epidemic sweeping western Kenya's Nyanza province, Reuters reported. The news agency quoted District Medical Administrators Morris Ope and Andrew Nyamweya as saying dozens of people were dying daily and the outbreak had reached "epidemic proportions." The doctors said their figures covered the period between 26 January and 9 February. During that time they had also seen more than 6,946 patients tested positive with highland malaria.

EAST AFRICA: FAO urges assistance to prevent epidemics

The Food and Agriculture Organisation said some 10 million people in East Africa were in need of emergency assistance following months of heavy rains which had caused havoc in the sub-region. Somalia and Kenya were particularly badly affected with a heavy loss of human and animal life. FAO on Tuesday appealed for US $2.5 million to help contain and combat diseases such as Rift Valley fever and rinderpest in the two countries. It warned that livestock diseases if left unchecked could develop into epidemic proportions.

WFP urges aid for flood victims

WFP also launched an appeal on Tuesday, calling for US $17 million to maintain food deliveries and other vital supplies to over one million flood victims in Kenya and Somalia. Most deliveries have to be made by airdrops or boats because torrential rain has destroyed roads and bridges, WFP said in a press release.

WHO says Rift Valley fever waning in Kenya

WHO said Rift Valley fever was on the decline in Kenya. Epidemiologist Mike Ryan told a news conference in Nairobi that 14 new cases had been reported over the last 10 days in the northeast, indicating the disease was being controlled. He said a team of WHO experts, based in Garissa, would try to establish the link between the disease and changes in weather conditions to make it easily predictable and preventable.

UGANDA: UNICEF says over 1,000 children abducted in Kitgum still missing

UNICEF Uganda told IRIN that 1,290 children from just one Ugandan district, Kitgum, have been abducted in the last two years by the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and have not come back. Another 1,310 did manage to return, preliminary findings show. UNICEF has released initial figures for Kitgum district in a survey of abductions in seven northern and southwestern Ugandan districts. Results from other districts are expected in the coming weeks. UNICEF had earlier estimated a total of between 5,000 and 8,000 children had been abducted. The figures from Kitgum may indicate a much higher overall total.

UGANDA: LRA rebels kill eight in ambush

Rebels belonging to the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) have killed eight people in an ambush on a pick-up truck in the northern Gulu district, the independent 'Monitor' newspaper reported on Monday. The vehicle was set ablaze near the town of Adak and the victims, including a three year-old boy, were bayonetted to death. Meanwhile, in the western Uganda, rebels from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) killed three villagers and wounded two over the weekend, the state-owned 'New Vision' said. The rebels were being chased away by a combined force of Ugandan and DRC soldiers, the newspaper added. About 1,000 villagers were displaced.

Clinton to visit Uganda, will miss Kenya, DRC

President Bill Clinton will travel to Ghana, Uganda, South Africa, Botswana and Senegal from 22 March to 2 April in the first presidential tour of sub-Saharan Africa since Jimmy Carter went to Nigeria and Liberia in 1978. The White House announcement made no mention of Kenya nor DRC, both countries with which it has a constant on-off relationship.


President Bill Clinton's envoy Jesse Jackson said on Wednesday DRC President Laurent Kabila had declined to meet him during his two-day visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo, media organisations reported. Jackson arrived in Kinshasa on Monday as part of US efforts to encourage Kabila's administration to open up political debate in the country and promote human rights. Jackson said Foreign Minister Bizima Karaha had been unhappy about his earlier talks with a broad section of Congolese society, including Kabila's opponents. Congolese television later reported that the meeting did not take place because in the opinion of the government Jackson did not conform to diplomatic norms.

Aid workers return to Baraka after brief evacuation

UN and NGO staff returned to Baraka in eastern DRC on Wednesday after they were evacuated for at least two hours following an outbreak of fighting between different units of the army, humanitarian sources told IRIN. The early morning flare-up between rival elements was the first such incident since December. A group of returning refugees from Kigoma were also able to disembark after a short delay, the sources added.

UN says two investigators join Mbandaka advance team

UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said the human rights investigative mission to DRC had reported that two investigators joined the advance team in Mbandaka on Sunday. The others remained in Kinshasa where they continued preparations for their deployment in the eastern part of DRC, he told reporters in New York on Tuesday. An advance preparatory team of five investigators left Kinshasa for the northwestern town of Mbandaka on Friday.

Kapalata to close finally at end of week

The Kapalata military camp near Kisangani is to be closed by the end of the week, according to a decision by the governor of Orientale province and the chief military doctor. UNICEF told IRIN the move represented a common stance between the civilian and military authorities. The camp, which houses mostly children whom the authorities consider as Mai-Mai rebels, has been declared unfit for human habitation by aid agencies after about 300 inmates died from cholera and other diseases. UNICEF said it seems the camp housed some 1,500 children rather than the 3,000 previously reported.

Nairobi, 13 February 1998


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-- Date: Fri, 13 Feb 1998 11:52:35 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Weekly Round-up 7-98 6-12 Feb 98.2.13 Message-ID: <>

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

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