Great Lakes: IRIN Weekly Round-up, 6/30/97

Great Lakes: IRIN Weekly Round-up, 6/30/97


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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.]

[Please note today's daily update is incorporated in this report]

IRIN Weekly Roundup 10-97 of Main Events in the Great Lakes region covering the period 24-30 June 1997.

DRC: Insecurity continues in east

There were reports of continuing insecurity in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. On Tuesday, CARE's compound in Goma was extensively looted by armed men who took away a car, radios, cash and personal belongings. No injuries were reported. On the same day, shooting broke out in Kisangani after DRC soldiers went on the rampage, dissatisfied with the pay they had received. Local reports said Tutsi members of the army were paid in dollars, while other Congolese were paid in local currency or not at all. Security problems were also reported in the Fizi area where a group opposed to the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (ADFL) was said to be staging a small rebellion. A rebel leader, Charles Simba, interviewed by the BBC, accused DRC President Laurent-Desire Kabila of being "sent by Tutsis to attack Zaire". He claimed a "big fight" was underway in the area.

DRC: Authorities reject part of UN rights probe

The UN advance team investigating alleged human rights abuses against Rwandan refugees in eastern DRC met government officials to discuss plans for the probe. However, the DRC authorities have rejected some elements of the proposed investigation, namely the composition of the Joint Investigative Mission as nominated by the UN Commission on Human Rights. The authorities also said the investigation should cover an expanded period: 20 March 1993 to 17 May 1997. UNHCR reported that small groups of refugees had begun emerging from hiding around Shabunda, Katshungu and Lulingu, in part because the large military presence had been withdrawn from the area. Plans were afoot to repatriate them. Meanwhile, local people in the Mbandaka area told BBC that refugees had been killed by ADFL troops and their bodies thrown into the Congo river.

DRC: Tshisekedi freed after arrest

DRC opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi was released on Friday after being arrested by soldiers the previous evening. He was taken from his house along with members of his family shortly after addressing a student rally in defiance of a government ban on political meetings.

DRC: Socialist style economy, minister says

DRC Planning Minister Babi Mbayi announced the DRC economy would be run along socialist lines, Bukavu radio reported on Saturday. He said the authorities were determined to clean up the country's image by reforming the economy.

Morocco: Mobutu admitted to hospital

Former Zairean leader Mobutu Sese Seko was said to be in a good condition after he was admitted to the cardiology ward of the Avicene hospital in Rabat, Morocco, on Friday. The Moroccan news agency said Mobutu underwent "radiological vascular intervention" following heavy internal bleeding.

Rwanda: DRC refugees protest against camp conditions

DRC refugees from the Banyejomba ethnic group (of Tutsi origin), who fled the North Kivu area of ex-Zaire in 1995/96, on Friday staged a demonstration at Mudende camp in Gisenyi, northwest Rwanda, Rwandan radio reported. The refugees were complaining about lack of food aid and delays in delivering the small amount of aid available. The radio said government and aid officials were working out how to resolve the problem.

Tanzania: Some DRC refugees to be repatriated

UNHCR announced on Friday it was preparing for the first organised voluntary repatriation of DRC refugees in the Great Lakes region. It said some 5,000 DRC refugees in Kigoma, Tanzania, had requested help in returning to their villages across Lake Tanganyika. Most of the returnees are said to be civil servants and businessmen from Uvira. Local authorities from Kigoma and South Kivu met in Kigoma to discuss the repatriation of refugees. Tanzania is hosting a total of about 93,000 DRC refugees.

DRC: Acute malnutrition reported in 13 percent of Uvira children

A UNICEF-financed nutrition survey from 16-29 May established a 13 percent acute malnutrition rate among children in the Uvira region. The survey covered a total of 1,740 children under five years of age. In response to the study, UNICEF is planning to support the establishment of four nutritional centres in the Uvira area which will be run by Initiative Humanitaire Africaine (IHA).

Burundi: Violence continues

There was more unrest in Burundi after 12 people were killed by an anti-tank mine in Bubanza province. Army spokesman Isaie Nibizi claimed the mine was laid by rebels. In the southwestern Kanyinkoko area, 13 people were abducted by intruders and extensive shooting was heard in Rumonge on Wednesday night. On Tuesday night, security forces ambushed a gang of "assailants" in Bururi province, killing at least one of them, the Burundi news agency reported.

Burundi: Kenya eases sanctions

Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi announced his government had lifted a ban on Burundi's importation of petroleum products through Kenya. He also said Kenya was considering allowing Kenya Airways to resume flights to Bujumbura, adding that the Kenyan government believed it was time to lift the sanctions on humanitarian grounds. Regional countries partially lifted the economic embargo against Burundi at a summit in Arusha in April. Interviewed by the BBC's Kirundi service, Commerce Minister Gregoire Banyiyzako said he hoped other countries would follow Kenya's example. He said the economic situation was slowly improving in the country and if the trend continued, the siutation would soon return to normal.

Burundi: UNESCO-sponsored conference postponed

A UNESCO-sponsored conference in Geneva on "Building the Future in Burundi", due to have been held 30 June-2 July, was postponed. The meeting was aimed at promoting dialogue between various political and civilian parties in Burundi. A UNESCO representative, speaking on Burundi radio, said there had been a problem obtaining visas for some of the participants. UNESCO will announce a new date later.

Burundi: IDPs emerging from Kibira forest

WFP reported that over 140 people were arriving daily at the Rwegura site in Burundi's Kayanza province, mainly from the Kibira forest. Many of them were in extremely poor condition and displayed clear signs of malnutrition. Others were arriving from areas in Bubanza and Cibitoke where insecurity was preventing humanitarian aid from reaching them. Action Contre la Faim was conducting a nutritional survey and WFP was planning a food distribution.

Rwanda: 14 killed in separate incidents

"Armed infiltrators" from the ex-FAR and Interahamwe killed 10 people and wounded 20 others in separate attacks in Ruhengeri province on Wednesday, the Rwandan News Agency (RNA) reported. Citing military sources, it said five people were killed and 17 wounded in a raid on a market at Bugarama trading centre. In another incident, five people were killed and three wounded when a taxi from Kigali was attacked seven kilometres south of Ruhengeri. In western Rwanda, a Chinese engineer and three Rwandans were killed on the road between Kibuye and Gitarama after ex-FAR members ambushed the vehicle they were travelling in. AFP quoted the Chinese embassy in Kigali as saying the attack occurred on Tuesday near the village of Kivumu.

Rwanda: Eritrean president pledges cooperation

Eritrean President Isayas Afewerki, who visited Kigali last week, pledged to promote defence and security cooperation with Rwanda. However he told a news conference, broadcast by Rwandan radio, that any talk about defence and security was purely defensive and there was "no intention of invading anyone". He told the same news conference that Sudan was out to "destabilise everyone to spread its ideology", but that the Sudanese people did not need any outside intervention to "settle scores" with the Khartoum authorities. He said Eritrea had "shown restraint" concerning Sudan.

Sudan: No plot to kill Isayas, authorities say

Sudan denied allegations by Eritrea that Khartoum was plotting to assassinate President Isayas Afewerki, describing the claims as "fabricated". Meanwhile the opposition National Democratic Alliance vowed to step up its armed struggle against the regime of President Omar al-Bashir. SPLA leader John Garang claimed the military situation in southern Sudan was very favourable for the rebels. On Sunday, SPLA rebels announced they had taken two key garrison towns, Tali and Shambi, and that the city of Juba was now within SPLA artillery range. The same day, Bashir said his government was ready to meet outlawed political parties but not if the talks were based on giving up Shariah law. According to AFP, a rebel military commander, quoted by the 'Al Hayat' newspaper, claimed Sudanese rebels were planning to paralyse Khartoum by seizing the Rosieres power station which supplies 80 percent of the capital's electricity needs and blocking the main supply road between Port Sudan and Khartoum.

Uganda: Thousands said displaced by Bundibugyo fighting

WFP led a UN mission to Bundibugyo in western Uganda, after thousands of people were displaced by fighting between the army and rebels from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). According to the mission, an average of 400 people a day were arriving in Bundibugyo from the surrounding mountains with very few possessions. In the town itself, there were currently some 8,000 displaced and a further 20,000 people were believed displaced in the district. The independent 'Monitor' newspaper on Saturday said security officers and civil servants, who fled Bundibugyo, were given 48 hours by Interior Minister Maj Tom Butine to return to work or face disciplinary action.

Uganda: Museveni blames army leadership for Bundibugyo unrest

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni blamed poor leadership in the army for the trouble in Bundibugyo, the state-owned 'New Vision' reported on Saturday. He said when the army received news the rebels were coming, it deployed troops at the border and left the town unprotected. Museveni denied there was a significant presence of ex-FAZ and ex-FAR members among the rebels. In the north, where government troops are battling rebels from the Lord's Resistance Army, he said army units had become a "network of stealing".

Uganda: About 50 killed in northern clashes

Today's edition of the 'New Vision' reported that about 50 people were killed in fighting between rebels and soldiers in the Agago district, near the northern town of Kitgum. According to the report, LRA rebels raided the district on Friday, burning 46 homes.

Angola: UN mission investigates IDPs in north

A UN-NGO mission to Andrada in Angola's Lunda Norte province established there were 5,191 registered displaced people in the town, fleeing fighting in the area between Angolan troops and the former rebel UNITA movement. Displacement south of Andrada was said to be continuing and groups of people from Luia and Cachimo were arriving in Maludi and Luaco. The municipal administrator of Andrada told the mission that a group of 180 Rwandan and Burundian refugees had reportedly arrived northeast of Canzar on the DRC border. UNHCR meanwhile said it had repatriated a total of 400 Rwandan refugees from Kapanga in DRC, close to the Angolan border.

Angola: UNAVEM III to be replaced by new mission

The Secretary-General's Special Representative for Angola, Alioune Blondin Beye, told reporters in New York on Friday that the recent fighting between government troops and UNITA in the north of the country was never intense. He said clashes broke out after Angola tried to strengthen security along the border with DRC to prevent foreign forces entering its territory. However UNITA did not accept that explanation and accused the government of trying to gain control of the north's diamond mines. Since last Friday, he said, no movement of government troops had been reported in Angola. Blondin Beye announced the UNAVEM III mission would be wound up on July 1 and replaced by a new operation, the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA). He claimed both sides were still committed to the peace process.

Congo: Ceasefire again violated in Brazzaville

Fighting again broke out in the Congolese capital Brazzaville over the weekend, shattering another ceasefire extension agreed by the warring sides of President Pascal Lissouba and former president Denis Sassou Nguesso. AFP said intense machine-gun fire exploded near the French embassy on Sunday morning and by late afternoon, heavy weapons were being used. Earlier, the UN had approved the formation of an African peacekeeping force and joint UN-OAU Special Representative for the Great Lakes, Mohamed Sahnoun, continued his mediation mission. Four African countries have already agreed to send troops. ICRC was forced to evacuate four delegates to Kinshasa after fighting made it impossible for them to continue their work. ICRC believes several thousand people have been displaced as a result of the conflict.

Nairobi, 30 June 1997, 14:00 gmt [ENDS]

[Via the UN DHA Integrated Regional Information Network. The material contained in this communication may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. UN DHA IRIN Tel: +254 2 622123 Fax: +254 2 622129 e-mail: for more information. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Quotations or extracts from this report should include attribution to the original sources mentioned, not simply "DHA".]

Date: Mon, 30 Jun 1997 17:01:45 +0300 From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Weekly Round-up 10-97 24-30 June 1997 97.6.30 Message-ID: <>

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

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