Great Lakes: IRIN Update 222, 8/1/97

Great Lakes: IRIN Update 222, 8/1/97


Department of Humanitarian Affairs

Integrated Regional Information Network

for the Great Lakes

Tel: +254 2 622147

Fax: +254 2 622129


IRIN Emergency Update No. 222 on the Great Lakes (Friday 1 August 1997)

* Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa has denied that Burundian rebels are undergoing military training in his country. According to Tanzanian radio, he told visiting EU Great Lakes envoy Aldo Ajello yesterday that his government could not support such a move as it would derail the Burundi peace process. Mkapa stated he supported the efforts of peace mediator, Julius Nyerere, adding that Tanzania wanted to ensure Burundi was ruled by a democratic government. Meanwhile, Joint UN/OAU Special Representative to the Great Lakes region Mohamed Sahnoun said Tuesday's meeting with Nyerere and foreign envoys in Dar es Salaam to discuss Burundi all-party peace talks "went very well", a UN spokesman reported.

* Burundi has rejected the UN human rights investigator, assigned to the country for the past two years, Reuters reported, quoting diplomats. In a letter to the UN earlier this month, Foreign Minister Luc Rukingama said Paulo Sergio Pinheiro had produced "slanted and politically inspired reports". He claimed Pinheiro's reports were based on unproven allegations and that the investigator had not visited Burundi since President Pierre Buyoya came to power in last July's military coup. AFP today quoted a UN spokeswoman in Geneva as saying Pinheiro would not be replaced.

* The justice ministry in Bujumbura has issued a statement on the executions of six people yesterday, saying one of them was responsible for burning 70 Tutsi students alive. The statement said Firmat Niyonkenguruka was a former high school principal in the central town of Kimbimba who killed his students following the assassination of Hutu President Melchior Ndadaye in October 1993 and the subsequent unleashing of civil war. According to the statement, the remaining five were involved in the deaths of other people. The statement said the sentences were carried out to show that crime could not be committed with impunity. AFP noted that since war crimes trials started last year, 126 people have been sentenced to death by three Burundian courts in Bujumbura, Ngozi and Gitega.

* Burundi's former intelligence chief under the FRODEBU regime, Audifax Ndabitoreye, has accused Burundi and Rwanda of not reacting to the police round-up of foreigners in Kenya because they want exiles to be sent home. According to the BBC's Kirundi service, police came to arrest Ndabitoreye - who lives in Nairobi - but in the end he was not detained. However Burundi's ambassador to Kenya, Stanislas Nakaha, told the BBC he was doing everything possible to assist detained Burundian citizens, some of whom had been released.

* The IMF has announced it is withholding a US$ 205 million loan to Kenya because its reform measures have fallen short of IMF requirements, KTN television reported today. Finance Minister Musalia Mudavadi warned that the decision would have adverse affects on the Kenyan economy. Central Bank of Kenya Governor Micah Cheserem called for urgent damage limitation measures in the wake of the IMF decision, adding that the bank was considering whether to intervene to support the shilling. Yesterday, Cabinet Secretary Fares Kuindwa told a news conference the government did not condone corruption and was trying to stamp it out. Economic analysts have pointed out that the move, coupled with recent political unrest, is likely to have serious repercussions on foreign investment.

Kenya's opposition National Convention Executive Council (NCEC) has given the government five days "to show seriousness over the reforms issue" or face a nationwide strike next Friday, the Kenyan 'Daily Nation' reported today. It warned that the strike would be followed by "intermittent and thereafter intensified peaceful mass action".

South African Foreign Minister Alfred Nzo is to pay a three-day official visit to Kenya next week to discuss bilateral trade and African "conflict situations", AFP said, quoting officials in Pretoria. The South African government has expressed concern over clashes between demonstrators and riot police earlier this month in which several people were killed.

* WFP today announced the end of a major operation in Rwanda which provided six-month food resettlement rations to 1.2 million Rwandan returnees. The programme, in cooperation with the Rwandan government, was part of an overall package provided by UN agencies and NGOs to help reintegrate refugees. A WFP press release said refugees still trickling into Rwanda would receive food assistance on arrival and the situation would continue to be carefully monitored.

* Humanitarian sources reported continued fighting between Mai Mai militia and Banyamulenge soldiers in the Masisi area of eastern DRC. Some reports said the Mai Mai were joined by ex-FAR, ex-FAZ, Interahamwe and DRC rebels led by Charles Simba and were targeting Tutsis, some of whom had allegedly been massacred around the Ngungu area. Others reportedly fled to Goma and Sake. Insecurity continues in the Goma area despite additional security measures taken by the local authorities. An attack on World Vision's office last Friday was the latest in a series of attacks against NGO establishments.

* The Ugandan rebel Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) has warned it will continue to "resist injustice" and save Uganda from "Tutsism". In a statement, the ADF told the 3,000 Ugandan army reinforcements in western areas of the country to "feel your heartbeat and quit when [sic] you can still feel it". Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni earlier ruled out peace talks with the ADF and announced the deployment of extra troops in western Uganda.

Museveni yesterday said east and central African nations were planning joint action against cross-border rebel movements. He told a rally in the western town of Kasese that those who "thought they could use Democratic Republic of Congo as their base" were doomed, AFP reported. "With fraternal relations existing between Uganda, Congo (Kinshasa), Rwanda and Tanzania, it is difficult for any criminal to commit crimes in one country and run to another," he said.

* Sudanese Vice-President Maj-Gen Zubayr Muhammad Salih yesterday called on all rebels to return home and take part in "building and defending the nation", Sudanese radio reported. Addressing the opening session of the constitutional technical committee, he said the occasion marked a new page in the peace process. The committee is a sub-group of a National Constitutional Commission which should soon be created. Salih urged all Sudanese people to contribute "meaningful" ideas to the committee.

* Angolan Interior Minister Andre Pitra Petroff has accused the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) of allowing separatist Cabinda rebels to maintain bases on its territory, AFP reported. He was speaking after two days of talks with Congolese officials on recent tensions around the Cabinda enclave. Petroff claimed the Cabinda Enclave Liberation Front (FLEC-Renewed) had bases in DRC "because it isn't possible for FLEC to launch such violent attacks without a rear base". Angolan radio meanwhile quoted DRC Interior Minister Philippe Bikinkita, who discussed the issue with Petroff in Cabinda yesterday, as saying his government would not tolerate any Angolans in DRC who did not respect peace.

* France has officially announced the closure of its army base in Bouar, western Central African Republic, and the gradual withdrawal of its troops from CAR. Defence Minister Alain Richard said in Bangui yesterday the measure was in keeping with France's decision to "change the geographic distribution of its forces", and was taken on purely military grounds.

* The UN Technical Survey Team today arrived in Brazzaville to assess the need for a peacekeeping force in the city, Congolese government radio announced, according to AFP. It quoted the radio as saying over 4,000 people had died in six weeks of fighting between troops loyal to President Pascal Lissouba and supporters of ex-president Denis Sassou Nguesso.

Nairobi, 1 August 1997, 14:00gmt [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: Fri, 1 Aug 1997 17:00:16 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <> Subject: Great Lakes: IRIN Update 222 for 1 August 1997 97.8.1 Message-ID: <>

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

Previous Menu Home Page What's New Search Country Specific