IRIN-West Africa Update 137, 98.2.3

IRIN-West Africa Update 137, 98.2.3

U N I T E D N A T I O N S Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Integrated Regional Information Network For West Africa

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IRIN-WA Update 137 of Events in West Africa, (Tuesday) 03 February 1998

SIERRA LEONE: UN Security mission arrives

A UN security team on Sunday started an assessment of the situation in Sierra Leone prior to the arrival of an inter-agency humanitarian mission. UN headquarters in New York told IRIN that the security team was mandated to investigate and report on the security situation in Makeni, 100 kms east of the capital Freetown, and the surrounding area as well as road access from neighbouring Guinea.

Because of time constraints and the fact that the rest of the country is considered to be in Phase Five, the highest UN designation for risk areas, Makeni was their only scheduled stop. The six-member security team is expected to return to Conakry, Guinea on Tuesday evening.

The inter-agency mission to access the humanitarian impact of UN and regional sanctions is tentatively scheduled to arrive in Freetown and Makeni on 4 February pending clearance by the security team.

NIGERIA: Oil protesters questioned

US oil giant Mobil Corporation said on Tuesday that it was not responsible for recent arrests by military authorities of protestors in Nigeria's oil-producing Niger-Delta region, Reuters reported. According to local papers, police have questioned some 300 people reportedly involved in protests near Mobil's Qua Iboe terminal following an offshore pipeline leak in mid-January. The demonstrators also disrupted an attempt by the military administrator, Navy Captain Joseph Adeusi, to placate them. There has been no official information on the number of arrests.

Some 40,000 barrels of crude oil hit the coast near the Pennington River estuary drifting along the southern shores as far as the economic capital, Lagos.

NIGER: New presidential alliance

Three political parties close to Nigerien President Ibrahim Bare Mainassara announced the formation of a new alliance at the weekend, AFP reported. The Alliance des Forces Democratiques et Sociales (AFDS) stated their goal was to lead Niger out of the current "political and economic impasse". The alliance includes Moumouni Djermakoye Adamou's Alliance Nigerienne pour la Democratie et le Progres (ANDP), Akoli Dawel's Parti Nigerien pour l'Unite et la Democratie (PUND) and Sanoussi Jackou's Parti Nigerian pour l'Autogestion (PNA). Dawel and Jackou, initially supporters of former President Mahamane Ousmane, switched their support to Mainassara following the 1996 elections. Mainassara came to power in a 1996 coup and was declared president six months later after sacking the Niger electoral commission while polls were still in progress.

Ousmane and eight opposition parties regrouped under the Front Pour la Restauration et la Defense de la Democratie (FRDD) to denounce Mainassara's election.

MALI: New mediator in political crisis

Malian General Ahmadou Toumane Toure, one of West Africa's foremost diplomats, agreed to mediate in the ongoing negotiations between the opposition and President Alpha Oumar Konare late last week, Radio France International reported on Tuesday. Local sources told IRIN that the involvement of Toure was seen as a "very positive step". Toure gained wide popularity when he staged an internal military coup in 1991, deposing the previous military dictator, Moussa Traore, and establishing a one-year transition period culminating in the restoration of democracy. In the ensuing years he has worked closely with Jimmy Carter and the Global 2000 project. He was also a key player in recent peace talks in the Central African Republic.

Mali has been in the throes of a political crisis since legislative elections were annulled in April 1997 and the boycott of subsequent election by a coalition of 18 "radical" opposition parties. Critics have charged that the opposition, faced with financial constraints and Konare's popularity, had deliberately sabotaged the electoral process. The opposition has repeatedly refused to join Konare's national forum aimed at resolving the current crisis.

CHAD: Opposition claims kidnapping

Chadian opposition leader Yaya Bakit Ali told Radio France International on Monday that he had been abducted by government soldiers from the capital, Ndjamena, late last week. He claimed to have escaped his abductors on 31 January. The leader of the National Union of Democracy and Progress also claimed to have been physically tortured by his captors. There has been no independent confirmation of the report.

Abidjan, 03 February, 1998


[The material contained in this communication comes to you via IRIN West Africa, a UN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. UN IRIN-WA Tel: +225 21 73 66 Fax: +225 21 63 35 e-mail: for more information or subscription. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this report, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Quotations or extracts should include attribution to the original sources. IRIN reports are archived on the Web at: or can be retrieved automatically by sending e-mail to . Mailing list: irin-wa-updates]

Date: Wed, 4 Feb 1998 11:49:01 -0300 (GMT+3) From: UN IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: IRIN-West Africa Update 137, 98.2.3 Message-ID: <>

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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