Great Lakes: IRIN Weekly Round-up, 8/18/97

Great Lakes: IRIN Weekly Round-up, 8/18/97


Department of Humanitarian Affairs

Integrated Regional Information Network

for the Great Lakes

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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.]

IRIN Weekly Roundup 17-97 of Main Events in the Great Lakes region, covering the period 12-18 August 1997

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

Kenya - Mombasa violence spreads

Five days of violence in Mombasa have claimed at least 31 lives as the trouble spread over the weekend from the south to the north of the city. According to AFP, 66 suspects have been arrested, 12 of whom appeared before the Mombasa chief magistrate today on charges of possessing offensive weapons. All pleaded not guilty. The motives for the raids are still unclear, as the Kenyan government and opposition traded accusations of responsibility for the violence. On Sunday, President Daniel arap Moi said opposition leaders were fanning tribal animosities in Mombasa in pursuit of their own political aims. But the opposition claimed Moi was seeking to "plunge Kenya into chaos and insecurity in order to divert people's attention from reforms, before declaring a state of emergency to derail constitutional debate". AFP quoted Mombasa residents as saying the raiders vowed to continue their attacks until all upcountry people had left the city. Roads leading to tourist hotels south and north of Mombasa were still under police surveillance today.

Great Lakes - Mini-summit on cooperation

Regional cooperation was the theme of a two day mini-summit in Kinshasa between the presidents of the DRC, Rwanda and Uganda. At the end of the meeting Wednesday, the troika agreed on a road construction project aimed at linking eastern DRC and western Rwanda/Uganda. The plan entails tarmac roads connecting the Rwandan town of Gisenyi to Kisangani in the DRC via Goma-Walikale and on to Mbarara in southern Uganda. Construction is due to start in September, Ugandan radio reported. Rwandan President Pasteur Bizimungu said the objective is "to put in place conditions so that there is free movement of people and goods between the three countries," Radio Rwanda said. He added that a decision was made to resurrect the CEPGL (Economic Community of the Countries of the Great Lakes) and they agreed "to have close collaboration in order to address the issue of infiltration and other problems of insecurity existing on the borders between the three countries." Meanwhile, health ministers from Burundi, DRC, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda Friday signed a cooperation protocol in Kigali to fight against epidemic diseases, AFP reported.

Burundi - Sanctions still on

Regional foreign ministers met in Kampala over the weekend as the Technical Committee on Sanctions decided to maintain the pressure on Burundi by not recommending the lifting of the embargo ahead of all-party peace talks. According to the private 'East African' quoting a source at the meeting, Kenya was also asked to discontinue flights to Bujumbura recently introduced by a private airline "or declare it was operating (outside) of the regional framework." The ministers are to present their recommendations to a summit of heads of state to be convened after the peace talks due on 25 August in Arusha, Tanzania. According to AFP yesterday, Tanzanian Foreign Minister Jakaya Kikwete, who chaired the meeting of ministers from Ethiopia, DRC, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe stressed: "These talks will show the trend of events and developments, and how these talks are being handled could result in either easing or lifting the embargo."

On Thursday Ambroise Niyombasa was appointed as Burundi's "peace process minister" in a move to demonstrate its commitment to peace. Relations have however soured between Tanzania and Burundi ahead of the Kampala meeting. Tanzania accused Bujumbura of undermining mediation efforts. Burundi's Foreign Minister Luk Rukingama alleged last week that Dar es Salaam was leading the campaign for the maintenance of sanctions imposed in July last year, AFP said. A foreign ministry statement also accused Tanzania of sheltering Hutu rebels and of showing unwillingness to normalise bilateral relations. In Kampala, Kikwete said accusations that Tanzania wants to bring down the regime of Pierre Buyoya was "beating about the bush." Sanctions were imposed following last year's coup that brought Buyoya to power.

Burundi - Intra-rebel fighting reported

A month of clashes between rival Hutu rebel groups in northwestern Burundi has left an estimated 600 civilians dead and displaced thousands, local sources reported. The fighting in Citiboke and Bubanza provinces between the armed wing of the National Council for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD) and the Party for the Liberation of the Hutu People (Palipehutu) was allegedly sparked by the CNDD's decision to attend the forthcoming peace talks in Arusha, Tanzania. The rivalry is also said to be related to Palipehutu's perceived loss of support to CNDD, particularly in Bubanza. Some 10,000 people have fled the hills in the province for Bubanza town and are in need of food and shelter. Meanwhile, twelve passengers were killed today when a minibus detonated an anti-tank mine at Rutunga along the Bujumbura-Rumonge road, radio Burundi reported.

Burundi - WFP warns of malnutrition

WFP warned Friday that "tens of thousands" of Burundians living in camps inside the country "are not getting access to enough basic food sources to stave off malnutrition and life-threatening diseases." In IDP and particularly regroupment camps in the north, clinical signs of malnutrition have become prevalent over the last few months as a consequence of people's restricted access to their land and crops. WFP has doubled its food assistance for the next five months, providing 21,000 MTs of food to 280,000 of the most vulnerable of the displaced and regrouped persons. The governor of the northern Kayanza province has issued a timetable for the dismantlement of regroupment camps in the region. The first batch of people could be returning home by this week and the governor expects all those in regroupment camps to be on the move by 20 September, humanitarian sources said. The first returnees will be from areas deemed secure. Sources said it remained to be seen whether people would reach their homes in time for the planting season.

Burundi - Genocide trials on trial

A Burundian court passed death sentences on 14 people accused of taking part in ethnic massacres in 1993, AFP reported Thursday. The 14 were among 40 defendants tried by the court in the northern town of Ngozi two weeks ago. Thirteen were sentenced to 20-year prison terms, three were aquitted and the remaining 10 accused asked for an adjournment until September so they could hire foreign lawyers. Meanwhile, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Burundi, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, expressed "deep concern" last week over the execution on 31 July of six people condemned to death for their part in ethnic killings. Pinheiro said the executions were especially serious since the condemned had not been provided with any of the judicial guarantees they were entitled to. He noted that in the 150 cases examined by the three criminal chambers in Burundi, 89 death sentences were handed down, although none of the accused had benefited from the assistance of a legal adviser or lawyer during their trials. Amnesty International said in a statement Friday that it is "seriously concerned that flaws in pre-trial and trial procedures, such as torture, lack of substantiating evidence, lack of defence witnesses, and lack of legal representation mean that the trials cannot be considered to have been impartial."

Rwanda - Officers arrested over civilian deaths

Six senior Rwandan army officers and seven soldiers were arrested Friday for taking part in "killings and looting" in northwestern Rwanda, news agencies reported. The arrests occurred in Gisenyi during a visit by Vice-President and Defence Minister, Paul Kagame. The men allegedly opened fire on a market last Monday - killing at least 40 people according to AFP - in retaliation for an attack by Hutu rebels. Kagame called for them to face an "exemplary punishment", Rwandan radio said. Two international human rights groups Wednesday condemned the alleged deaths of between 2,000 and 3,000 civilians in army operations in the northwest over recent months. Human Rights Watch and the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues said in a letter to Kagame and President Pasteur Bizimungu: "It is your duty to order that these indefencible civilian killings and other violations of international law cease immediately."

Rwanda - Heavy fighting in Gisenyi

Local sources reported heavy clashes between the army and rebels last weekend in Gisenyi prefecture, with villagers moving closer to the town to avoid the fighting. Some 300 prisoners were allegedly killed in the cachots of Kanama and Rubavu. The road linking Gisenyi and Ruhengeri was briefly blocked last Friday between Rubavu commune and Nkamira transit camp by rebels who shot dead one man in an ambush. The army killed 23 rebels and lost five soldiers in reopening the route. The army have deployed reinforcements and armoured personnel carriers to Gisenyi. Humanitarian sources who recently visited Ruhengeri say the food security situation is precarious with malnutrition rates high especially in the less secure northwest and southern areas of the prefecture. The situation has been exacerbated by the mass return of refugees. According to WFP, nearly 60,000 metric tons of emergency food aid will be needed to feed some 690,000 vulnerable people throughout Rwanda during the July-December period.

Rwanda - Genocide suspects on trial

A former senior Rwandan army officer accused of taking part in the 1994 genocide was arrested last Monday in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa and transferred to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda's (ICTR) detention facility in Arusha, Tanzania. The arrest of Samuel Manishimwe, the former military commander in Cyangugu, brings to nine the number of suspects picked up in Kenya since 18 July. Jean Kambanda, the prime minister of the interim government during the genocide, was Thursday remanded in custody for a further 30 days at his own request by the ICTR. Three people were sentenced to death on genocide charges by a Rwandan court in Gitarama, AFP reported Tuesday. The accused are to appeal the verdict. Rwandan courts have passed death sentences on 61 people out of 142 who have been tried for genocide this year, according to a July report by the Human Rights Field Office for Rwanda (HRFOR).

Meanwhile, 155 Rwandan refugees arrived in Kigali from Gabon Tuesday. Most of them were immediately led away by the military. UNHCR, which was not involved in the operation, expressed particular concern over eight of the returnees. The repatriation followed an abortive attempt last Sunday to fly home 115 mostly ex-FAR and their families from the Gabon. The Gabonese aircraft turned back to Franceville after a rebellion onboard the plane.

DRC - Reports of ADFL killings

Troops of the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (ADFL) allegedly raided four remote fishing villages on the border with Shaba and Kivu provinces killing 833 people, local sources report. The villages on the shores of lake Tangyanika were attacked on the 2 and 5 August by soldiers coming by boat from Kalemie, 130 kms south. The local population is mainly Babembe, Bafulero and Bavira who had opposed the ADFL's takeover of power. IDPs and some Burundian and Rwanda refugees were believed to have been sheltering in the villages. Meanwhile, the new commander of the DRC's Fourth Military Brigade, responsible for North and South Kivu and Maniema provinces, has warned that any soldier or "bandit" caught committing a crime will be executed in public, the Congolese Press Agency said.

DRC - Nyerere sees opposition

Former Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere was upset by the bullying behaviour of ADFL troops towards civilians during his visit to Kinshasa last week, a Tanzanian paper claimed. According to the 'Guardian', Nyerere told the soldiers accompanying his motorcade that they were no different to those of ex-ruler Mobutu Sese Seko. Nyerere has launched a round of contacts with DRC opposition politicians according to an AFP report today. Nyerere met in Kinshasa with former prime minister Etienne Tshisekedi, leader of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress, and two other radical opposition leaders, Andre Bo-Boliko of the Democrat and Social Christian Party, and Antoine Gizenga of the Unified Lumumbist Party. A demonstration by Tshisekedi's supporters was broken up by troops Friday. Political activity and opposition demonstrations are banned in the country.

Amnesty International (AI) "is seriously concerned" for the life of Bertin Lukanda, leader of the Maniema branch of an NGO umbrella group who was arrested by ADFL soldiers on 6 August in Kindu, eastern DRC. Lukanda was allegedly accused of spying for a UN Commission of Inquiry probing reports of massacres in eastern DRC. In a separate release Thursday, AI warned that an administrative secretary in the same organisation had been arrested for passing on information over Lukanda's detention and another colleague Diomba Ramazani. The DRC's newly-appointed ambassador to the UN, Andre Kapanga, said he "would like to improve the image of the country", Reuters reported Friday.

Tanzania - Congolese refugee tensions

Lugufu refugee camp in northwestern Tanzania is a "powderkeg" AFP reports, with tensions running high between those willing to return to the DRC and people opposed to repatriation. The majority of the 35,000 in the camp are Babembe from the Fizi region who resisted the advance of the Alliance for Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (ADFL) through eastern DRC.

Tanzania - Famine threat

With total crop failure in some of Tanzania's key food producing regions, WFP predicts a large food deficit "and possibly famine" in parts of the country from September this year to April 1998. Poor rains have forced farmers to replant with little success and adverse weather has also taken its toll in cash crops, hitting local income levels. WFP reports that household stocks in some villages are at nil or minimum and migration is already underway.

Congo-Brazzaville - Refugees on the run

IFRC registered 3,500 refugees from Congo-Brazzaville today at the Kinkole refugee site outside Kinshasa. Kinkole has reached maximum capacity and the numbers of refugees are reportedly growing by the hundreds each day as people cross the river to escape an intensification of fighting this week in Brazzaville. Some 140 Congolese fleeing clashes in northern Congo-Brazzaville have crossed into CAR.

Congo-Brazzaville - No progress on peace

Peace mediator Gabonese President Omar Bongo criticised the warring sides in Congo-Brazzaville Sunday as heavy weapons fire ripped through the capital. "It is inexplicable that, at a time when we are in Libreville pondering over Congo-Brazzaville's fate ... all the progress we have made has gone back to square one," Gabonese Africa No 1 radio reported him as saying. It is unclear when the rival delegations in Libreville will return to the negotiating table after talks broke down on 6 August. A radio station controlled by rebel leader Denis Sassou Nguesso yesterday described a mediation offer by DRC leader Laurent-Desire Kabila as a "total mess", AFP said. Kabila's proposal, involving an African buffer force to "save democracy" followed a six hour visit to Kinshasa by President Pascal Lissouba. The UN Security Council Wednesday said it would be willing to send peacekeepers only if a complete ceasefire was in place, Brazzaville's airport was under international control, and both sides showed commitment to a negotiated settlement. Meanwhile, the South African weekly 'Mail and Guardian' claimed Friday that British military advisors have arrived in the country to train Lissouba's private "Zulu" militia. Russian technicians are also allegedly carrying out test flights on imported Russian military helicopters before they enter service with Lissouba's troops, the paper said. The 'Mail and Guardian' also claimed that former president Sassou Nguesso has employed European mercenaries. The Angolan government Thursday denied that its soldiers were fighting alongside Sassou Nguesso's forces.

Uganda - Students abducted in Kasese

Nineteen students and two workers were kidnapped yesterday by "bandits" from a Catholic seminary in Kasese district, southwestern Uganda state-owned radio reported. In neighbouring Bundibugyo district, Ugandan troops have deployed in force along the border with the DRC to comb the Rwenzori mountains for rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). The reinforcements follow a pledge by President Yoweri Museveni recently to send 3,000 more troops. In the northwestern West Nile region, the army is considering establishing protected villages if insurgency by the Uganda National Rescue Front continues, the 'New Vision' said Tuesday.

Sudan - IGAD peace meeting postponed

A meeting of East African mediators to plan peace talks between the Sudanese government and the rebel Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA) has been indefinitely postponed. The meeting under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) was due to have been hosted by Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi tomorrow. Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Osman Taha said in an interview on local television Saturday that the Kenyan government had provided no reason for the postponement.

Angola - UN upbraids UNITA

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Friday that the Angolan peace process was experiencing "some of the most serious difficulties" to date and that UNITA's "half-hearted" concessions were no longer acceptable. The Security Council is due to discuss the situation in Angola this week and sanctions may be applied against UNITA.

Nairobi, 18 August 1997, 16:15 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, 18 Aug 1997 19:31:24 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Weekly Round-up 17-97 12-18 August 1997 97.8.18. Message-ID: <>

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

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