UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
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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IRIN Update No. 415 for Central and Eastern Africa (Wednesday 13 May 1998)
SUDAN: OLS assessment mission to visit Nuba mountains next week
Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail has said Sudan will allow relief flights into the country's Nuba mountains area where thousands of people are facing food shortages, AP reported. Speaking on Monday, he said the government was making arrangements for Operation Lifeline Sudan to include the Nuba region in its distribution of food and medical supplies. The Nuba mountain area in the central Kordofan region lies in the "transition zone" where north and south Sudan meet. Human rights groups have said tens of thousands of people are at risk. They add the situation is further complicated by alleged government abuses against the Nuba people in the fight against southern rebels.
OLS today (Wednesday) welcomed the Sudanese government's announcement and said the first assessment mission would take place next week in rebel-held areas of the Nuba mountains. Food, health and other needs would be determined, OLS said in a press release. Assessments were also planned in government areas over the next month. OLS said the announcement "comes after repeated attempts by the United Nations over the last 10 years to gain access to one of the most forgotten, destitute populations in Sudan".
Fourth WFP plane to begin airlift to Bahr al-Ghazal
Meanwhile, WFP said a fourth Hercules plane would today begin airlifting relief assistance to the Bahr al-Ghazal region, so that 75 percent of the needy population would now be supplied. It was hoped migration would be stemmed as six to seven locations could now be reached, a WFP spokesperson told IRIN.
ICRC to resume operations
After a break of about 18 months, ICRC is to resume its activities in Sudan, the organisation has announced. It was forced to pull out expatriate staff in November 1996 after one of its planes was seized by rebels and the Khartoum authorities subsequently accused ICRC of transporting weapons for the insurgents. Well-placed sources told IRIN that maverick rebel leader Kerubino Kwanyin Bol was behind the capture of the plane, which was subsequently released. All sides have now agreed that ICRC can resume its field activities with the necessary security guarantees. A recent offensive led by Kerubino Bol in Bahr al-Ghazal has contributed to the current crisis in that region, observers say.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Kabila warns against "disinformation campaign"
President Laurent-Desire Kabila on Monday warned the people of DRC to beware of a "disinformation campaign against our country" by foreign nations. In a speech at Mbandaka, broadcast by DRC radio, he urged support for the government "because it is made up of patriots". "Contrary to the dignitaries of the ousted Mobutu regime...we have refused to have masters and take orders from Paris, Brussels or Washington," he said. "We want the wealth of our country to profit the Congolese people first and foremost."
16 regional nations to attend Kinshasa summit
A Great Lakes regional summit is due take place in Kinshasa on Friday and Saturday, coinciding with the first anniversary of Kabila's accession to power on Sunday, 17 May. Sixteen African countries will discuss security and development issues in the region. Among those attending will be President Pierre Buyoya of Burundi, according to his spokesman Apollinaire Gahungu.
BURUNDI: WFP planning another airlift into Bujumbura
To cover urgent food needs during the lean season of May/June, WFP is planning to airlift another 3,000 mt of food into Bujumbura. In its latest weekly report, WFP said the move was intended to carry out targeted emergency distributions. The food security and nutritional situation in many parts of the country remain precarious and the new airlift is needed to augment the still limited overland food deliveries. WFP completed a previous airlift during the first week of April of 685 mt of food urgently needed for nutritional centres and vulnerable groups.
UGANDA: Repatriation of DRC refugees suspended
UNHCR has suspended the voluntary repatriation programme of DRC refugees in camps in western Uganda due to the poor health situation in Kamango enclave in DRC where most of the refugees come from, WFP said in its weekly report. In addition to the health constraints, the road to the Congolese border and beyond to the enclave has recently worsened due to heavy rains.
Population displacements continue in west
Population displacements continue to occur in the western Bundibugyo area, as a result of continued rebel activity, according to the WFP report. Over the last week, some 1,200 people fled to Kabarole, near Fort Portal. Thousands of people have been recently displaced in Bundibugyo, frustrating efforts by the government and relief agencies to implement a resettlement programme. WFP food assistance is being provided to these recently-displaced people.
The state-owned 'New Vision' daily yesterday reported the bodies of 25 Allied Democratic Forces rebels were discovered in the Ruwenzori mountains area of Bundibugyo. They are believed to have died of cholera or exposure. Security sources said it was doubtful they were killed by bullets. Meanwhile, President Yoweri Museveni, accompanied by the Archbishop of Canterbury, on Monday arrived in the northern area of Gulu where there has been a recent upsurge in violence.
KENYA: Military operation underway to recover illegal weapons
A military operation to recover illegal firearms in the Rift Valley areas of Baringo, Marakwet and West Pokot, where cattle-rustling has been rife, began on Monday, the 'Daily Nation' reported yesterday. Rift Valley Provincial Commissioner Francis Beya said the population would receive regular briefings on the situation, but he refused to comment on threats by Marakwet leaders that the community would declare "war" if the army was sent to the district. According to the newspaper, local people in the Lomut area of West Pokot were "gripped by panic" following the "massive movement" of security forces.
TANZANIA: Mystery disease is severe malaria
A "mystery disease" reported in the Sumbawanga area of southern Tanzania has been confirmed as a severe form of malaria, according to the World Health Organisation. Over 500 deaths, most of them children under-five, were reported in the first quarter of this year in three affected wards: Matai, Sopa and Katete. A total of 4,853 cases were registered. WHO points out the whole country is experiencing an increase in malaria cases and related deaths after over six months of abnormally-long rains.
GREAT LAKES: Crisis shows limits of humanitarian action, UNHCR says
In a testimony before a US Congress sub-committee last week, UNHCR said it faced a "lethal quagmire" of conflicting political and security interests as it tried to deal with the refugee exodus following the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Dennis McNamara, who heads UNHCR's International Protection Division, said the Great Lakes crisis had shown the limits of humanitarian action, especially in conflict situations. In such scenarios, strong political support and sometimes military backing were needed to uphold the system of refugee protection, he said.
ANGOLA: Luanda warns it may take UNITA strongholds by force
Angolan government minister General Higino Carneiro warned in a statement published yesterday in Lisbon that the Luanda authorities could take control of UNITA former rebel strongholds "by force", AFP reported. Carneiro, the vice minister of territorial administration, told the Portuguese daily 'Diario Economico' that if state control "cannot be achieved peacefully, it may be done by force." According to AFP, he was referring mainly to the central Angolan towns of Bailundo and Andulo, which UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi has been using as bases and has failed to hand over to the government as required under the peace process. Carneiro told 'Diario Economico' that UNITA provincial governors and diplomatic staff could not be appointed until Bailundo and Andulo were handed over.
Nairobi, 13 May 1998, 15:00 gmt
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Date: Wed, 13 May 1998 18:15:15 -0300 (GMT+3) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <email@example.com> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 415 for 13 May 98.5.13 Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.95.980513181350.7936Afirstname.lastname@example.org>
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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