Great Lakes: IRIN Weekly Round-up, 7/14/97

Great Lakes: IRIN Weekly Round-up, 7/14/97


Department of Humanitarian Affairs

Integrated Regional Information Network

for the Great Lakes

Tel: +254 2 622147

Fax: +254 2 622129


[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 12-97 of Main Events in the Great Lakes region covering the period 8-14 July 1997..

DRC: UN report pins killings on ADFL

The Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (ADFL) and its allies committed the bulk of the killings and human rights atrocities in the DRC during the civil war, says a UN report prepared for the UN Human Rights Commission. A joint investigative team, led by Special Rapporteur Roberto Garreton were prevented from visiting the then Zaire by ADFL authorities in early May, but collected testimonies and information while in Kigali. The report argues that on the basis of preliminary findings, some of the alleged massacres, particularly of Rwandan, Burundian and Zairean Hutus "could constitute acts of genocide". The report released Friday noted that further investigation is needed to test the allegations, but "grave violations of international humanitarian law" were committed by all parties to the conflict. The report, covering the period September 1996 to 17 May 1997, says some 68 percent of all accusations of rights violations are blamed on the ADFL and its allies, including the Banyamulenge. About 17 percent of all atrocities are blamed on the forces of ousted Zairean dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, with the remainder attributed to foreign armies, rebel movements and mercenaries. The findings also note several incidents over the past few months in which ADFL soldiers shot at or threatened human rights monitors in the eastern provinces of North and South Kivu, where the rebellion against Mobutu began last September. "There is a permanent atmosphere of insecurity and extreme tension in the area," the report says. The DRC authorities have however accused Garreton of bias, and his team has been replaced by a new one which will be appointed by, and report directly to, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan as the price of their cooperation into a fresh probe.

DRC/Rwanda: Kagame says troops facilitating peace

Rwandan troops are currently in the DRC at the invitation of Kinshasa "to consolidate peace in the region", Rwandan Vice President Paul Kagame reportedly said in an interview with the South African Sunday Independent newspaper. Kagame, visiting South Africa last week, told the weekly the troops would be withdrawn "as soon as the job is completed." He denied the speculated figure of 20,000 Rwandan troops in the DRC. "We sent some of our soldiers who were most effective," he said. "There was no need to send as much as 20,000." Kagame claimed his soldiers were maintaining "law and order" in the DRC and that the "job is not about firing bullets only ... there is stability to be established." They would be withdrawn "when the majority of the Congolese", including the government, "want us to leave." According to the paper he acknowledged some ill-feeling about the presence of the Rwandans, particularly in Kinshasa, but said: "They cannot wish us away as their neighbours." He denied that his soldiers were involved in massacres in eastern DRC, alleging that the United Nations was looking for someone to blame. "Neither my soldiers nor (President Laurent-Desire) Kabila's alliance forces committed massacres."

Kagame told The Washington Post last week that Kigali planned and directed the rebellion by Kabila's Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (ADFL) in response to international indifference over Hutu militia attacks into Rwanda from the refugee camps in the former Zaire. "The international community did not respond and we could not wait for another genocide of our people, so we went to Congo to sort out the problem," he said. "We are very happy with the outcome of our efforts." DRC Interior Minister Mwenze Kongolo refused to confirm the Rwandan army had taken part in the ADFL's campaign. "This country is ours," he said last week in response to Kagame's claims. "It is not the territory of Kagame. We have nothing to say on these declarations, which have only come from Kagame himself."

DRC: Call for anti-Kabila front

Jacques Matanda ma Mboyo, a former senior member of radical opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi's Sacred Union, called for a "popular front of armed resistance" to Kabila's "neo-Mobutuist" regime. He said he was "open to any alliance aimed at establishing the rule of law and the eradication of Tutsi militias and genocidal armies" which, according to him, are "occupying" the former Zaire. He stressed, however, that "a fundamental disagreement on the way to fight" the new regime separated him from Tshisekedi.

DRC/Rwanda: Russians banned

Kinshasa has banned flights by Russian-made Antonovs piloted by Russian crews on safety grounds, RFI reports today. South Africa is planning to provide training to Congolese pilots as part of a cooperation programme. Rwanda has returned an Air Zaire Boeing 737 stranded in the southwest of the country since April 1996, Radio Rwanda reported Friday. The plane, which had landed at Kamembe, was flown back to Goma, eastern DRC Wednesday. Rwandan officials claimed that ammunition was found on the plane, which carried 35 people, while Zaire claimed bad weather had forced it to land inside Rwanda when heading for Bukavu from Kinshasa.

Burundi: No UN tribunal disappoints Bujumbura

Foreign Minister Luc Rukingama said the UN had been "misled by biased reports" over its reluctance to set up an international tribunal for Burundi and that its position threatened the peace process, Radio Bujumbura reported. Rukingama was responding to a letter from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan which turned down the government's request for a tribunal "in the current circumstances" while leaving the door open to a future review. According to a statement by acting Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Burundi, C.T. Sy, "the Secretary-General is aware of the fact that the acts of genocide and massacres that have taken place here and elsewhere should not be be ignored by the international community." A UN commission's probe into the 1993 assassination of Hutu president Melchior Ndadaye during a failed coup by Tutsi soldiers and into the ensuing massacres found that genocidal acts were carried out by both ethnic groups. The failed putsch sparked bitter fighting which continues to destabilise the country. Emissaries of former Tanzanian president Julius Nyrere left Bujumbura last Monday after three days of talks aimed at paving the way to peace negotiations later this month in Arusha between the government and Burundian opposition parties. No details of the talks about talks were released. Arusha is planned as a pre-agenda forum for follow up talks after the Rome meetings earlier this year between the government and CNDD rebels.

Burundi: Amnesty accuses army of killings

Amnesty International has published the names of 12 people, including seven children, reportedly killed by the Burundian army last week in the Karunga district of Isale commune, Bujumbura Rural province. The extrajudicial killings allegedly took place between July 7-9. The human rights watchdog suggests they "may have been in reprisal against the civilian population" after two soldiers were injured in a mine explosion in Karunga district on July 6. The victims - including five children under the age of 10 - were shot or bayonetted to death over a two day period by soldiers from Rushubi, Bujumbura Rural, according to Amnesty. At least four other people including two children sustained serious wounds during the attacks in which homes were torched. The organisation "fears further reprisals against civilians in the area."

Burundi/Tanzania: Continuing refugee influx

UNHCR in Tanzania reports a daily influx of Burundians running as high as 150-200 people fleeing fighting between the army and Hutu rebels in Bururi and Makamba provinces. The refugees are reaching Tanzanian villages along the lakeshore in Kigoma district. UNHCR estimates at least 200,000 Burundians are in camps in the Kigoma region - excluding Ngara. Around 95,000 Congolese are also in the area.

Tanzania/Congo: Repatriation on hold

UNHCR says the planned repatriation of Congolese refugees from camps in Kigoma remains on hold. Humanitarian sources say hesitant Tanzanian authorities would like to first see an official statement from the DRC welcoming back the refugees, and a tripartite meeting involving UNHCR to discuss security and operational concerns.

Tanzania: Mysterious disease breaks out

Fourteen children died last week from a mysterious disease in Kagera region, northwest Tanzania, news agencies report. An investigation has been launched by the authorities into the illness whose symptoms include a very high fever. The spate of deaths over a period of three days, occurred in four different villages in the Muleba area.

Uganda: Rebels head for the hills

Ugandan Minister of State for Defense, Amama Mbabazi, told Radio Uganda that "remnants" of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) currently number some 400 and have taken refuge in the mountains in western Uganda. "We have not defeated them in the sense of eliminating the force," he said, but "their intentions have been thwarted and we are in the process of completely eliminating them." The UNHCR reports that a combined UN agency team left Goma Sunday for Beni in northeastern DRC to assess the condition of an unknown number of Ugandans who have fled across the border. Describing themselves as opposed to "Tutsi-ism in east and central Africa", an ADF statement stressed the Ugandan roots of the rebel group and called on soldiers of the national army to join them in an offensive "in the not to distant future" to "liberate" the country. The statement signed by ADF Chairman Frank Kithasamba said allegations that fighters from neighbouring countries were in the ADF ranks was "disinformation".

The rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) released 26 people out of the 34 abducted in a raid on a Sudanese refugee camp at Mongula, Moyo district. Eight people may still be held by the rebels, UN sources told IRIN. The attack on Mongula on July 5 was the third in a month on the camp which shelters some 11,000 refugees. Food supplies were also looted. Mbabazi told Radio Uganda Wednesday described the LRA as a "criminal element" that the government would not negotiate with.

Uganda: Peacekeeping battalion for OAU

A battalion of Ugandan peace-keepers due to be trained later this month by US Green Berets will not be deployed outside the OAU framework. Replying to concern expressed by an unnamed OAU official reported in the EastAfrican weekly, Minister of State for Defence, Amama Mbabazi, told the Monitor newspaper that the army is interested in building its capacity rather than unilateral military deployment without OAU consent. The minister also said the purchase of Czech military planes to Uganda is on hold as he had not received a formal offer of sale from Prague.

Sudan: Khartoum backtracks on IGAD deal

State-owned Sudanese TV said Thursday that Khartoum regarded as non-binding the IGAD Declaration of Principles on Sudan agreed at the regional summit in Nairobi. The broadcast said that President Omar al-Bashir had accepted the declaration on the grounds that the parties to the conflict would be free to accept or reject elements of the document. That interpretation differs from the communique issued at the end of the summit in Nairobi on Wednesday which stated that the principles of a secular constitution, a multi-ethnic state and the right of self-determination were the basis of a peace settlement. According to sources, the speculation is that Bashir's original endorsement of the plan was vetoed by the influential National Islamic Front in Khartoum. George Benjamin, a spokesman of the main rebel group the Sudanese People's Liberation Army, said in Nairobi that a ceasefire in the 14 year civil war would only come as a result of "a comprehensive agreement" based on the IGAD proposal. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni boycotted the five-nation IGAD meeting in protest over Khartoum's failure to return a group of schoolgirls abducted by LRA rebels and allegedly held in Sudan.

Sudan: NDA claims new front

The Sudanese opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA) claims its forces attacked government positions Tuesday at Hamaskaweb and Hadaliya on the road between Port Sudan and Khartoum. Opposition radio Voice of Sudan claimed that the NDA controls a 25 km stretch of the road. The radio reported Saturday that NDA chairman, Muhammad Uthman al-Mirghani, met Ugandan leader Yoweri Museveni for talks on July 7 over the "political situation in Sudan". Congo-Brazzaville: On-again, off-again ceasefire

Fighting continued in Brazzaville Sunday despite the signing of a ceasefire over the weekend by Congolese President Pascal Lissouba and his rival and predecessor Denis Sassou Nguessou. The ceasefire is due to come into effect today as part of a peace process viewed as the best hope yet of ending more than one month of bloodshed. The ceasefire proposal was contained in a new peace initiative by Gabonese President Omar Bongo delivered to the two sides in Brazzaville, Thursday, by joint UN/OAU Special Representative Mohamed Sahnoun. The new ceasefire proposal is along the same lines as one put forward on July 1. It includes a freeze in the positions of the two sides and a ban on their military resupply. Senegal has named Brig. Gen. Charles Nelson as commander of the proposed multinational peacekeeping force. Around 800 Senegalese troops are set to leave for Brazzaville once the deployment wins official UN Security Council approval and logistical arrangements are completed. The planned force of between 2,000 and 2,500 men will be based at Maya Maya airport in the Congolese capital, the scene of bitter clashes. Fighting broke out between the two sides on June 5, when government troops attempted to disarm his militia ahead of presidential elections. The polls, in which both protagonists are set to stand, were due on July 27.

Congo-Brazzaville: No safe passage

IPS reported Friday that people fleeing the fighting by train from the capital to the southwestern port city of Pointe-Noire run a gauntlet of ethnic-based identity checks by militia manning rail stations along the 520 km route. The southern region is controlled by Lissouba loyalists and according to the news agency, northerners from Nguesso's home region discovered in the identity checks are pulled off the train and taken to what one witness described as 'unknown destinations' by armed militia men.

Angola: Peace in trouble

Warnings continue of a possible return to full-scale conflict in Angola. Former rebel UNITA troops detained seven members of a UN observer mission in the northern Lunda Norte province, AFP reported Saturday. The team, which included military observers, a helicopter crew and an interpreter, was carrying out an investigation into the recent attack and capture of a border post by UNITA in the troubled north-east of the country. Civilians are fleeing fighting in the region as the Angolan army wages a campaign to drive UNITA rebels out of the diamond-mining area bordering the DRC. The government claims troops of the former Zairean regime have infiltrated the region and joined UNITA forces in several villages in the area. A new National Unified Army was officially inaugurated Thursday as part of Angola's troubled peace process.

CAR: Peace deal holds

More than 300 former army rebels returned to their barracks in Bangui in a peaceful end to a long-running mutiny in the Central African Republic. "There only remains a minority, made up of those who fled into the bush," that have not reported, according to an official of the committee monitoring the peace accord. The recent conflict was sparked by the June 20 killing of a soldier with the MISAB African buffer force. It was the latest in a series of three army mutinies since May 1996, and was finally ended through international mediation led by former Malian president Amadou Toumani Toure. According to a UNDHA report, as many as 100,000 people - 60 percent of them women and children - fled the fighting in the capital. The vast majority are now returning home.

Kenya: Pro-reform protests broken up

Pro-reform rallies in Kenya on Tuesday led to widespread violence between security forces and demonstrators in which at least 11 people died. Opposition politicians and church leaders are pressing for constitutional reforms ahead of elections later this year, while the ruling KANU government has said the process will have to wait until after the polls. After continuing disturbances, Nairobi and Kenyatta Universities were closed. On Monday, fresh protests erupted when Nairobi Polytechnic students took to the streets in central Nairobi.

Nairobi, July 14 1997, 17:00 GMT


[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, 14 Jul 1997 19:59:10 -0300 (GMT+3) From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Weekly Round-up 12-97 8-14 Jul 1997 97.7.14 Message-ID: <>

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

Previous Menu Home Page What's New Search Country Specific