IRIN Weekly Round-up 9-98 20-26 Feb 98.2.27

IRIN Weekly Round-up 9-98 20-26 Feb 98.2.27

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 9-98 covering the period 20-26 Feb 1998

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Uvira tense as troop movements reported

Congolese troop reinforcements were on their way towards the border post of Kamanyola from Bukavu, humanitarian sources said on Thursday. Further troop movements were reported from Kalemie towards Uvira. The military deployment follows rising tensions between Banyamulenge and Congolese units in the army. Banyamulenge soldiers were said to be deserting and fleeing into Rwanda. Bukavu was also reported tense. Two people died in a skirmish between rival units at the airport. Last Thursday, 24 people were detained and 27 weapons seized in Bukavu after the army launched house-to-house searches for illegal guns, state radio monitored by the BBC reported.

Army officers arrested over Kapalata deaths

A number of army officers were arrested over the deaths of at least 380 inmates from malnutrition and disease at Kapalata military camp in Kisangani. State television said on Monday the officers would face charges of illegally selling off food destined for Kapalata where as many as 3,000 young Mayi-Mayi fighters joining the regular army were based.

NGOs asked to re-register

A cabinet meeting last Friday discussed the role of NGOs in DRC and noted that "most of them indulge in activities other than what they profess to do", DRC television reported. "Some NGOs indulged in furnishing arms to small groups that try to destabilise the eastern part of our country," a report from the meeting said. However, "in recognition of the importance of these international NGOs", the cabinet decided to ask them to re-register with the interior, foreign and justice ministries. The television added that a legal framework would be drawn up to outline relations between the authorities and NGOs.

Ogata discusses refugee problems

UNHCR chief, Sadako Ogata, held talks in Kinshasa last Friday with Minister of State for the Interior Gaetan Kakudji. According to DRC television, Kakudji said he hoped the problems between UNHCR and his country could be resolved. According to a Reuters report, Ogata wrapped up her trip to DRC on Sunday apparently without receiving firm guarantees her agency would have full access to Rwandan refugees in the country. Radio France Internationale said she asked permission from the Kinshasa authorities to reopen the UNHCR office in Goma.

BURUNDI: Sanctions to stay

Regional leaders decided to keep economic sanctions against Burundi at the end of a meeting in Kampala on Saturday. Burundi radio, monitored by the BBC, said however there appeared to be some division among the participants. However, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, quoted by AFP, said there was "complete unanimity" on maintaining sanctions. A summit statement claimed "no significant progress" had been made in the peace process. It said all-party peace talks should continue under the mediation of former Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere, whom Burundi's rulers accuse of bias.

Burundi's Foreign Minister Luc Rukingama described the decision as "a very bad step in the wrong direction", according to AFP. President Pierre Buyoya, speaking on his return to Bujumbura, said the decision would not put a stop to the peace process. "I think that the lifting of sanctions will depend on us," he said on Burundi radio. "We are going to endeavour to see to it that in the coming months, no-one will have any pretext to call for sanctions against Burundi or call for their maintenance." The meeting was attended by Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi. Nyerere was also present, as was OAU Secretary-General Dr Salim Ahmed Salim.

Military court frees Bagaza

A Burundian military court on Wednesday announced the release of former president Jean-Baptiste Bagaza, saying it did not have the authority to judge him and others accused of plotting to overthrow the government of Pierre Buyoya, AFP reported. The competence of the war council, a military court established by Buyoya earlier this month, was challenged by the defence. Bagaza refused to appear at the initial hearing.

UNDP boss calls for increased aid

UNDP Administrator James Gustave Speth ended a two-day tour of Burundi on Wednesday urging the international community to step up aid to the country, Reuters reported. Speth noted the humanitarian situation in Burundi was already severe but had been compounded by poverty, civil war, bad weather and regional economic sanctions.

WFP reports low levels of relief food stocks

According to WFP, food distributions in Burundi continue to target only the most vulnerable groups, due to low levels of relief food stocks in-country caused by transport constraints. At these reduced levels, current stocks of cereals, oil and salt, and expected arrivals of milk, sugar and CSB, should cover requirements through March, but there will be a shortage of pulses for these priority programmes, as stocks remain blocked in Tanzania.

SUDAN: Relief flights resume to four sites in Bahr el Ghazal

Relief flights to supply 60,000 people with urgently needed assistance in four locations in southern Sudan's troubled Bahr el Ghazal state were set to resume on Thursday. However, a further 40,000 vulnerable people in 40 locations in the region are still affected by a government flight ban imposed on 4 February. The embargo followed intensified fighting between government soldiers and rebels of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA).

WFP delivers food by road

WFP announced it had succeeded in delivering food by road to northern Bahr El Ghazal, marking the first time that the UN has managed to send food so far north by road from Uganda. The first 120 mt of sorghum from a WFP convoy of 400 mt arrived in Mapel area on Sunday. This 120 mt of food will sustain 51,000 people for six days. "Unfortunately the situation is still serious because only one-quarter of the population in northern Bahr El Ghazal can be reached by road," said David Fletcher, Head of WFP's Southern Sudan operation and Deputy Coordinator for Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS). He added that air operations will still be necessary to deliver food to many inaccessible areas, especially during the rainy season.

ANGOLA: Government says country risks war

The Angolan government warned on Tuesday the country risked sliding back into civil war following an escalation of armed incidents in recent weeks. In a statement to the press, General Higino Carneiro, the deputy minister in charge of implementing the 1994 peace accords, challenged UNITA to make a "declaration of total demilitarization" before 28 February, the date previously agreed by both sides. Carneiro said UNITA still has a significant number of soldiers - at least 5,000 - who are prepared to resume hostilities. "If the situation continues, the government will take reprisals, if necessary," he warned. Meanwhile, Angolan Defence Minister General Pedro Sebastiao accused UNITA of reorganising its forces with an "important" contingent undergoing training in DRC.

UNITA alleges dos Santos' poor health delays Savimbi meeting

UNITA radio claimed last Wednesday that the alleged ill health of Angolan President Eduardo dos Santos has stalled a planned meeting with UNITA party leader Jonas Savimbi. UNITA Secretary-General Lukamba Paulo Gato told the radio that UNITA was opposed to Luanda as a venue for the meeting on security grounds, but dos Santos' health prevented him from travelling to the provinces.

TANZANIA: Logistical problems force cut in refugee food rations

Despite the efforts being made to ensure the delivery of food to the 343,000 refugees in camps in Tanzania and to the 1.6 million Tanzanians facing food shortages due to drought conditions and floods, persistent logistics constraints do not allow the continued provision of full rations, a WFP statement warned. WFP and UNHCR have agreed on a plan of action concerning the refugee programme, which includes: a reduction in the food distribution cycle, from two weeks to one week, and a 50 percent reduction in the cereal and pulses ration.

UNHCR helps with additional police for refugee camps

UNHCR, in collaboration with the Tanzanian government, is to deploy 278 additional police to the refugee camps in Kagera and Kigoma in an effort to retain their civilian character. UNHCR will ensure that the extra police - 100 in Kagera and 178 in Kigoma - are equipped and well-trained. They will be required to maintain a 24- hour presence in the camps, monitor unauthorised movements, patrol roads and perform basic law and order functions. UNHCR stressed that any combatants found in the camps will be separated, pointing out that 40 individuals have already been removed.

EU provides US $46 million for road repairs

The EU is to provide Tanzania with US $46.2 million to rehabilitate 2,700 km of flood-damaged roads in the southern regions of Iringa and Ruvuma. The funds will enable routine, periodic and emergency maintenance works to be undertaken, the EU said in a statement on Monday.

TANZANIA-RWANDA: Fresh Rwandan refugees arrive

According to UNHCR-Tanzania, 237 Rwandan refugees arrived in Ngara between 1-21 February. They are being temporarily accommodated at Mbuba transit centre pending their transfer to Mkugwa camp in Kibondo. The new arrivals are in addition to the 114 recorded in January. During the same February period, 141 Burundian refugees arrived in Ngara, in addition to the 1,028 registered last month.

RWANDA: Dallaire says ready to testify again

The former commander of the UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda, Canadian General Romeo Dallaire, said on Thursday he was willing to testify again before the UN tribunal probing Rwandan war crimes, news agencies reported. Dallaire gave evidence for a full day on Wednesday in the trial of Jean-Paul Akayesu, a former mayor accused of genocide. At the start of the proceedings, prosecutors said they would summon him in at least one other trial. Last month, the UN Secretary-General lifted Dallaire's immunity so he could testify before the court but limited the measure to Akayesu's case. In an emotional day of testimony in Arusha on Wednesday, Dallaire said he had been unable to stop the 1994 slaughter because of a lack of resources and peacekeepers.

Two senior French army officers are also expected to testify as defence witnesses in the Akayesu case. AFP said they were believed to have been involved in French military operations in Rwanda: one in the early 1990s known as Operation Noroit when France sent troops to help the government of ex-president Juvenal Habyarimana against the then-rebel RPF. The second, Operation Turquoise, was launched towards the end of the genocide in July 1994 to set up a "safe zone" in southwest Rwanda.

Convicted war criminal called by Rutaganda defence

The lawyer defending Georges Rutaganda, a high-ranking official in the Interahamwe militia, has called for convicted war criminal Froduald Karamira to appear before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). According to the organisation Fondation Hirondelle, which is covering ICTR proceedings, the lawyer Tifaine Dickson, said Karamira would be a "key witness" in the trial. He could testify that the Interahamwe "had received orders from outside", she alleged.

UNICEF warns over plight of child-headed households

An estimated 300,000 highly vulnerable children are struggling for survival in Rwanda in impoverished child-headed households, UNICEF warned in a press release. A report prepared by World Vision found that children in child-headed households are especially at risk from abuse and exploitation. Three out of four of the households are headed by girls. Some 95 percent of the children have no access to health care or education. They also face chronic food shortages.

11 killed in attack on tea factory

Eleven people were killed following a rebel attack on a tea factory near the northwestern town of Gisenyi last week, the Rwanda News Agency reported.

UGANDA: Ugandan schools reopen after sanitary facilities improved

Many of the 800 Ugandan schools ordered closed earlier this month to stem an outbreak of cholera reopened on Monday, health officials said, quoted by AFP. The government had ordered the closure of schools without adequate toilets after the disease broke out following torrential rains and floods. Any school unable to provide adequate sanitary facilities was being assisted by the government.

Rebels behead 11

Ugandan Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels beheaded five people after ambushing them in the western district of Bundibugyo, bringing the number of victims of such attacks in the area this week to 11. ADF insurgents kidnapped 30 schoolgirls after attacking a school in the western Kabarole district last Thursday. The state-owned 'New Vision' newspaper later said the girls managed to escape their abducters. Two students and two rebels were reported killed in fighting that ensued after government troops arrived on the scene.

LRA attacks Kitgum

Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels attacked the northern town of Kitgum on Wednesday, humanitarian sources told IRIN. Shops were looted and people abducted in the five-hour raid by some 150 rebels which began at around 1:00 am. According to initial reports, there were no deaths. Humanitarian sources suggested the attack was a diversion to draw government forces into town while the main group of rebels crossed back to Sudan with many abductees.

CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: Judge asks UN to investigate alleged genocide

Congo-Brazzaville has approached the UN to appoint a special rapporteur to investigate alleged genocide perpetrated by the country's former leadership, state radio, monitored by AFP, announced on Wednesday. A Congolese judge, Massengo Tiasse, told the radio that he would seek international arrest warrants against exiled former president Pascal Lissouba and prime minister Bernard Kolelas. "All political and military figures as well as journalists who colluded in genocide will be arrested and tried," he said.

Nairobi, 27 February 12:00 GMT


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Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 13:03:44 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Weekly Round-up 9-98 20-26 Feb 98.2.27 Message-ID: <>

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

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