Great Lakes: IRIN Weekly Round-up, 8/4/97

Great Lakes: IRIN Weekly Round-up, 8/4/97


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.]

IRIN Weekly Roundup 15-97 of Main Events in the Great Lakes region, covering the period 28 July - 4 August 1997

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

KENYA - IMF suspension hits economy

Kenyan Finance Minister, Musalia Mudavadi warned Friday that the decision by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to suspend aid to Kenya would have an immediate impact on the economy unless urgent measures were taken. The Kenya shilling depreciated by almost eight per cent within hours of the announcement and although it bounced back, economists say the worst is not over. Investors and financiers were expected to move their money out of the country. The IMF suspended its aid package on Thursday contending that measures taken by Kenya under its Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF) had fallen short of IMF requirements. The IMF's administrative council called for a crackdown on corruption and warned Kenya that it expected "decisive steps to ensure transparency and accountability in the use of public funds" before funds would be released. The suspension will affect US$ 36 million in loans every six months under a US$ 205 million ESAF agreement signed in April 1966. Kenya's President Daniel arap Moi said on KBC radio that the IMF stoppage was purely political and had "no economic rationality".

As fears mounted that other donors may follow suit, a Washington-based human rights group called on Kenya's aid donors to make continued assistance to Nairobi conditional upon "real progress" in implementing political and economic reforms. The Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights urged the government to open dialogue with the opposition and other movements on constitutional reforms before the elections. News of the suspension in the wake of mounting political unrest is reported to have given a boost to opposition pressures. According to media reports, parliamentary opposition leader, Michael Kijana Wamalwa said that the KANU government had "lost the moral authority to preside over the affairs of the nation" and had betrayed the trust of the taxpayers.

KENYA - Strike still on

Kenyan opposition groups vowed Friday to "use all means necessary" to enforce a general one day strike on 8 August to pressure the government over demands for constitutional reforms. Other intermittent mass action protests are also planned. The reform lobby is calling for the reduction of presidential powers and the repeal of laws which demand permits for even weddings and funerals. Leaders of the pro-reform movement, the National Convention Executive Council (NCEC), said Thursday that the government had not responded to pre-election reform demands presented on 23 July. Kenya's Minister for Labour and Manpower Development, Philip Masinde warned workers at the weekend that people taking part in the strike did so at "their own peril'.

KENYA - Air strike hits travellers Hundreds of passengers were delayed and/or stranded in Kenya's three main airports at the weekend after air traffic controllers went on strike over pay and conditions. The strike is reported to be costing the government Sh24 million a day.

KENYA - Police deny allegations of targeting foreigners

Kenyan police denied last Monday that Rwandans and Burundians had been the target of a police crackdown on foreigners. A senior police official said that the 600 people who had been arrested in the two-week operation were being screened by the immigration department. None had been handed over to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha. The official said that crime had reduced drastically since the arrests. Burundi's former intelligence chief under the FRODEBU regime has accused Burundi and Rwanda of not reacting to the police roundup because they wanted exiles to be sent home. Burundi's ambassador to Kenya told the BBC that he was doing everything possible to assist detained Burundian citizens. Uganda has also complained that its citizens were being detained and harassed. BURUNDI - 30 rebels killed

The Burundian army said today (Monday) that more than 30 rebels had been killed in fighting which erupted in several towns south of Bujumbura. One source said that rebels were moving to the area from Bubanza north of the capital. Hundreds of civilians have been displaced in the fighting. Burundian press reported in the week that the CNDD had relaunched a recruitment drive in southern Makamba province and had tried to create parallel administrations in the communes of Mabanda and Vugizo. Heavy fighting was reported in Vugizo.

BURUNDI - Executions may jeopardise peace talks

Tanzania accused the Burundi government Sunday of trying to sabotage peace efforts by executing six people it convicted of involvement in ethnic massacres. The United States and Amnesty International have also condemned Thursday's executions. In a strongly worded statement, the Tanzanian government said that it believed that fair trials and justice could not be dispensed by a military government "which abrogated the constitution and is itself an embodiment of illegality and unlawful usurpation of power". In Brussels, the Burundi rebel group, the CNDD said that the exeutions violated the Rome agreement and warned that it may pull out of peace talks.

Amnesty International said Friday that the executions - the first in Burundi since 1981 - were "all the more outrageous because they took place after blatantly unfair trials". Reuters reported Thursday that Burundi had rejected the UN human rights investigator, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro who had been assigned to the country for the past two years. Burundi claims that Pinheiro had produced "slanted and politically inspired reports". A spokesperson for Tanzania accused the Burundi government Sunday of trying to sabotage peace efforts by executing six people it convicted of involvement in ethnic massacres. The United States and Amnesty International have also condemned Thursday's executions. In a strongly worded statement, the Tanzanian government said that it believed that fair trials and justice could not be dispensed by a military government "which abrogated the constitution and is itself an embodiment of illegality and unlawful usurpation of power". In Brussels, the Burundi rebel group, the CNDD said that the executions violated the Rome agreement and warned that it may pull out of peace talks. A spokesperson for UN Human Rights in Geneva said that Pinheiro would not be replaced. Amnesty said that by denying Pinheiro access to Burundi, the government was trying to avoid international scrutiny "of the very serious human rights situation which exists there".

BURUNDI - Doubt over date for peace talks

Following consultations with the region's special envoys, the office of former Tanzanian president, Julius Nyerere announced Tuesday that Burundi's all party peace talks would take place in Arusha on 25 August. Burundi's Instututional Reforms Minister, Eugene Nindorera, stated that talks in Rome between the government and CNDD had been temporarily suspended. Burundi's President, Pierre Buyoya, meanwhile, spent Monday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia discussing the peace process. Buyoya said that the visit was a sign that cooperation was resuming in all areas and told Burundi radio that Ethiopia had promised "to do everything possible to ease the sanctions against Burundi".

BURUNDI - Food situation deteriorating

An FAO/WFP report on the food situation in Burundi says that food security had deteriorated steadily since 1993, due to civil war, population displacement and reduced agricultural production and would continue to deteriorate. The situation has been further aggravated by sanctions imposed by regional governments last July. The report noted that malnutrition amongst Burundian adults and children was widespread. BURUNDI - Tanzania urged to protect opposition leaders

Burundi's main opposition party, FRODEBU, claims that the lives of its leaders exiled in Tanzania are in danger and has called on Tanzanian authorities to protect them. According to a statement issued by FRODEBU, some FRODEBU members were planning to kill members of its National Executive Committee residing in Kigoma and Dar es Salaam. The statement said that attempts were made last month on the lives of the Tanzanian-based party president and his spokesman. A spokesman for FRODEBU told the BBC that the perpetrators were against Nyerere's mediation efforts and that efforts to find them were underway. RWANDA - Civilians enlisted in hunt for rebels

The Rwandan army is reported to be enlisting civilians in its search for former government soldiers and Interahamwe militia in northwestern Ruhengeri. A commander in the region told AFP on a recent visit to the region that he was working with about 200 local men who were helping him search for insurgents. On Friday the army claimed that Hutu rebels had been driven out of the region and that the situation was "perfectly normal. The claim was made during the one day visit by a party of diplomats, UN officials, aid workers and journalists to Ruhengeri. Visitors on the trip said that the road to Ruhengeri was guarded by soldiers and troops were in position in every bridge. Last month, the US-based Physicians for Human Rights estimated that betwen 3,000 -5,000 people had been killed in the region between May and June. The government has said that the figures were exaggerated but has admitted killing more than 1,800 Hutu ex-soldiers and Interahamwe in military operations in the last two months.

RWANDA - Government slashes park for resettlement

The Rwandan government on Tuesday approved a plan to cut Akagera National Park by two thirds to resettle Rwandans who have returned to the country since 1994. According to the plan, 80,000 to 90,000 hectares of the original 180,000 to 225,000 hectares will be maintained as a conservation area. The rest will be turned over to agriculture, livestock and human dwellings. WFP, meanwhile, announced Friday the end of its programme to supply six month resettlement food rations to 1.2 million Rwandan returnees. New returnees will be provided with food assistance on arrival. However, due to concerns that the harvest in July - Rwanda's main cropping season - has been less favourable than hoped, the situation will be carefully monitored.

DRC - Growing concern over Masisi

Humanitarian sources have expressed growing concern over the situation in the Masisi region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) following recent clashes between the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (ADFL) and rebels made up of ex-FAZ, ex-FAR, Interahamwe, Mai-Mai and Simba. The rebellion against ADFL troops reportedly began about two weeks ago in the Katoyi area, which is a Hutu stronghold. Large areas in the Katoyi and Minova-Bweremana zones are said to be partially deserted by the civilian population. Many people are reported to have fled to Goma and Sake.

Insecurity also continues in the Goma area. An attack on NGO, World Vision's offices last Friday was the latest in a series of attacks against NGO establishments. Tension is also reported in the Bukavu area because of the presence of Mai Mai in Kalehe area, and ex-FAR in Kaziba area. Local sources also believe that ex-FAR and interahamwe are very close to Bukavu town, if not already infiltrated in Kadutu, a heavly populated market area. Other rebel activities are reported from Fizi area. DRC - Secretary-General announces investigators

UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan announced Friday that he has appointed two of three human rights investigators for the DRC. Atsu Koffi Amega of Togo has been named chairman of the team to look into alleged human rights abuses in DRC. Amega has been the head of the Commission of Experts for Rwanda which investigated the massacres of 1994. Andrew R. Chigovera, Deputy Attorney-General of Zimbabwe is the second member of the team. The third will be announced in the next few weeks. The DRC has described as premature the Secretary-General's announcement that he has appointed a Special Representative to the country. AFP, quoting diplomatic sources, said that the DRC felt the time "was not right". CONGO - President to sign accord

Delegates representing Congo's President Pascal Lissouba said Monday that they were ready to sign a draft peace accord to end the fighting which is said to have claimed up to 4,000 lives. The announcement came hours after reports of renewed clashes in Brazzaville. It was unclear Monday whether his rival, ex-president Denis Sassou Nguesso had agreed to the accord. An 11 member UN Technical Survey Team, meanwhile, arrived in Brazzaville Thursday night to assess the need for an international peace-keeping force. AFP reported that a rocket was fired at the convoy taking the team to the front in Brazzaville and forcing them to turn back. No casualties were reported. The UN Security Council gave the go ahead in principle last month to a mainly African force of 1,800 to secure the airport. Senegal has offered to lead the force and to supply 500 troops, while the European Union has agreed in principle to help finance the force.

ANGOLA - Tensions heighten

As fears of renewed civil war heightened, Angolan President, Eduardo dos Santos rejected outside involvement in arranging a meeting with former UNITA leader, Jonas Savimbi. According to PANA, the president said that such involvement was uncalled for. Savimbi had asked the authorities in Cote D'Ivoire to arrange a meeting with Dos Santos. UNITA has expressed concern over reports that the US will sell weapons to the Angolan armed forces and said that such plans would not enhance the Lusaka peace deal. UNITA radio also claimed Wednesday that five civilians were killed in Angolan army operations in Huila province. AFP reported that at least 30,000 former UNITA soldiers have deserted from demobilisation camps in Angola. UNHCR announced this week that it was dispatching emergency aid to 1,466 Rwandan refugees who had arrived in the Angolan border town of Luau. Many are said to be in very poor health.

Gunmen are reported to have sprayed the home and car of Kinshasa's ambassador to Angola with bullets on Friday. The ambassador, Mundindi Kilengo was inside the residence but was not hurt. The attack came as plans were disclosed for a visit by DRC president Laurent Kabila to Luanda today (Monday).

UGANDA - Attacks continue

An eight year old girl was killed and eight other people severely injured on Friday in a third attack on a Kampala police station. Nine people have been killed in grenade attacks since Wednesday. Police said they had arrested six people on suspicion of involvement in the attacks. Eight people died on Wednesday and more than 40 were injured when two grenades were thrown at the police from a moving car. Another grenade was thrown Thursday at a police post. The independant newspaper "The Crusader" said that it had received an anonymous tip off that the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel group was responsible for the attacks. The caller said that banks, major hotels and other places visited by foreigners would be attacked.

UGANDA - Food aid arrives in Bundibugyo

The World Food Programme (WFP) trucked 48.75 MTs of food items under army escort to the western Ugandan trading post of Nyahuka to feed 15,540 internally displaced persons (IDPs) Thursday. It was the first WFP convoy to the beleaguered town in Bundibugyo district, and the first relief food to have arrived since July 21. Nyahuka, surrounded by the Ruwenzori mountains, normally has a population of 500. Attacks since mid-June by the rebel Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) have emptied the outlying villages and isolated homesteads in the mountains, forcing a frightened population to crowd into the town. With only 22,609 kgs of food (maize, beans and maize flour) delivered between July 1-27, people have been forced to supplement their meagre rations by risking returning to abandoned farms to gather produce, chiefly matoke (green bananas) which can be quickly harvested. Nevertheless, according to local sources, an average of six people a week are killed in their fields by the ADF.

As of July 22, 185 families were registered as sleeping out in the open. With the advent of the rains, an urgent need is shelter - tents and plastic sheeting - and protected water supplies. A single stream running alongside the town is now virtually the only source of water and a cholera epidemic is feared. Nyahuka has been further isolated by the collapse of a bridge at Lwigho which had linked it to the district capital of Bundibugyo, 12 kms away. The detour that vehicles are forced to take nearly doubles the distance, and is an area in which the army's Mamba armoured vehicles escorting convoys have been regularly shot at by the ADF. ActionAid, which has been contracted by WFP to distribute food for the estimated 65,000 people in need throughout the district, is repairing the bridge and the work is likely to be finished by the end of August. WFP plans to ferry 503 MTs of food each month to Bundibugyo town for the district's relief effort, equivalent to a ration of less than two kgs of food per person per week. That supply is expected to be augmented by local foodstuffs, although prices for matoke in both Bundibugyo and Nyahuka have almost trebled in the past month.

SUDAN - Government group claims victory

A pro-government southern Sudan faction claimed Monday that it had taken the town of Akon from the rebel Sudan people's Liberation Army (SPLA). Akon is about 100 kms north of Wau. Armed attackers, meanwhile, broke into the compound of the NGO, World Vision in Yambio Thursday night and stole computers and personal belongings after beating five expatriate staff. The aid agency told AFP that it was pulling the staff members out of the town.

SUDAN - KABILA's visit raises alarms

A recent visit by Laurent-Desire Kabila, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo to Eritrea has raised alarm in Sudan that "something is being planned in secrecy." According to a Sudanese daily newspaper, Kabila met with Sudanese rebel leader, John Garang and toured Eritrean military posts and garrisons set up on the border with Sudan after relations between the two countries deteriorated in 1994. The newspaper said that it was unclear whether Kabila, who was in Eritrea 23-26 July, planned to join Eritrea and Uganda in opposing the Sudanese government or would adopt the role of mediator.

Nairobi, 4 August 1997, 16:00 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, 4 Aug 1997 18:51:19 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Weekly Round-up 15-97 28 July-4 Aug 1997 97.8.4. Message-ID: <>

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

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