UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
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IRIN Daily Summary of Main Events in Burundi 20 August 1996
Sources for the information below include UN agencies, NGOs, other international organisations and media reports. IRIN issues these reports for the benefit of the humanitarian community, but accepts no responsibility as to the accuracy of the original sources.
# Burundi's new leader, Pierre Buyoya, is reported today to have sacked three of the country's most powerful security officials. Most prominent is the Army Chief of Staff, Colonel Jean Bikomagu, named in a recent UN report into the October 1993 assassination of president Melchior Ndadye. The other two officials are the head of the gendarmerie, Colonel Pascal Simbanduku (also named in the UN report), and Presidential security chief, Gedeon Fyiroko.
# As many as 7,000 Rwandan refugees are reported to have left Magara camp in northern Burundi yesterday and a further 4,500 were expected today. The increased rate of return comes after the killing of three refugees just outside the camp at the weekend. The killings followed disturbances in the camp on Saturday when stones were thrown at the Burundian soldiers and aid workers during a camp reorganization. Refugees arriving in Rwanda said that the army had launched a campaign of intimidation to force them back to Rwanda. Some 58,000 refugees have returned to Rwanda since July 18 1996. The refugees remaining in Burundi are in Magara (14,000) and Rukuramigabo (13,000) camps. Burundi's new leader, Pierre Buyoya, says that he is opposed to the expulsion of refugees and has sent a team to investigate the reasons for their movement out of the camp. Burundian refugees are arriving in Zaire at a rate of about 200 per day, and in Ngara, Tanzania at about 60 a day.
# Six people, including a nurse, were killed in an attack on a medical centre in Ngozi province and a hospital within Magara refugee camp was looted overnight on Sunday. Medicine and other materials were stolen. There are also growing concerns for the safety of aid convoys following Friday's announcement by regional leaders that only medicines and food for refugees would be exempt from sanctions. Medical NGOs have also warned that the health situation in Burundi is very precarious and disease could break out unless the flow and distribution of medicines can be assured.
# Rebels from Burundi's National Council for the Defence of Democracy/Forces for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD/FDD) were today (Tuesday) reported to be battling military forces for control of the two Burundi national highways which link the country with Rwanda. A spokesman for the CNDD said that they wanted to control movement on the highways to prevent a violation of the regional ecomonic embargo against Burundi. Rwanda earlier this month joined other African neighbours in placing sanctions on Burundi following the 25 July military-backed coup d'etat, but the CNDD says it fears that there may be attempts by Rwanda to break the embargo. Independent sources have reported clashes between the Army and the rebel group in the provinces of Muramvya and Gitega.
Earlier this week, the CNDD and Frodebu accused the Burundi regime of continued massacres, claiming that more than 5,000 people have been killed in Burundi since 25 July 1996. Five people were reported by humanitarian workers to have been killed early today in Kamenge, an abandoned Hutu district north of Bujumbura. The circumstances of the deaths are not yet known. "Ethnic cleansing" in Kamenge last year displaced its mainly Hutu population into the hills and to displaced persons camps in Bujumbura.
# In a statement released in Brussels yesterday, the
European Union called for a cessation of violence in
Burundi and for talks between the political parties
to negotiate an end to the crisis. The statement, issued
on behalf of the EU by Ireland, said that it would
support recovery efforts in Burundi if resolve was
shown. # South Africa has announced a special
envoy to contribute to African diplomatic efforts
to end the crisis in Burundi. The envoy is Welile
Nhlapo, the current ambassador both to Ethiopia and
to the OAU. Nhlapo's main function is to assist the
Nyerere initative which seeks to bring Burundi's political
parties into negotiations.
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From: UN DHA IRIN <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Tue, 20 Aug 1996 19:49:22 +0300 (GMT+0300) Subject: Burundi: IRIN Daily Summary of Main Events 20 August 1996 96.8.20 Message-Id: <Pine.LNX.email@example.com>
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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