IRIN Update 394 for 10-13 April 98.4.13

IRIN Update 394 for 10-13 April 98.4.13

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 Central and Eastern Africa

Tel: +254 2 622147 Fax: +254 2 622129 e-mail:

IRIN Update No. 394 for Central and Eastern Africa (Friday-Monday 10-13 April 1998)

RWANDA: Upsurge in violence as over 100 killed in past week

Over 100 people have been killed in violence perpetrated by Interahamwe militiamen since Rwanda commemorated the fourth anniversary of the 1994 genocide last Monday. In the latest violence, according to the Rwanda News Agency, 10 people were killed in two separate incidents in Nyamabuye commune, central Gitarama prefecture, on Saturday night. Five people died when their vehicles came under fire, while five others - all genocide survivors - were killed in their homes. The prefect of Gitarama, Desire Nyandwi, narrowly escaped death when his vehicle was ambushed. His driver was killed. Army spokesman Emmanuel Ndahiro told RNA a search was underway for the attackers. In nearby Tabwe sector, five women - also genocide survivors - were hacked to death with machetes, knives and hoes.

On Friday night, 24 people were slaughtered in Gitarama's Musambira commune, RNA reported. Two families were almost entirely wiped out. Local officials said a group of unidentified people, some wearing military uniforms, others dressed in long overall coats and armed with guns and traditional weapons, descended on the homes of the two families, killing people while they slept. Some of the victims, including babies, had been decapitated. Military sources blamed the carnage on the Interahamwe and said an investigation was underway, RNA said.

In northern Ruhengeri prefecture, a total of 33 people were killed on Thursday in an attack on a displaced camp in Nyarutovu commune. RNA said local residents estimated 500 Hutu militiamen raided the camp, initially killing 28 people and wounding 36. A further five people died of their injuries in hospital. Twenty assailants were reportedly killed by the army. AFP quoted military sources as saying a new offensive had been launched against the rebels following the attack. The French news agency also said 11 soldiers were killed in a rebel attack earlier last week in Nyamugari village, Ruhengeri prefecture.

RNA said these incidents towards the end of last week brought to 103 the number of people killed since last Monday.

UN to reactivate enquiry commission into illegal arms sales

The UN Security Council on Thursday voted to reactivate an international commission of enquiry into illegal arms sales to the ex-FAR and Interahamwe militiamen. A resolution adopted by the Security Council calls on the commission to "identify parties aiding and abetting the illegal sale" of weapons. It also calls for recommendations relating to the illegal flow of arms in the Great Lakes region and urges international cooperation in countering hate radio broadcasts and publications. The commission's last report in November 1996, published in January this year, accused the former Zaire of playing a central role in arming the Rwandan ex-government forces and militias who had sought refuge in the country.

No reason for optimism, EU envoy says

The EU special envoy to the Great Lakes region, Aldo Ajello, on Friday commented there was "no reason to be optimistic" about the situation in the region, AFP reported. "The powder and the fire are moving closer together each day," he warned. Speaking in Kigali, where he had been attending genocide commemorative ceremonies, he added it was necessary to "close the wound still bleeding over the genocide" before Rwanda's problems could be addressed. He noted that the Hutu insurgency "has no spokesman and...according to our information is bent on continuing genocide and has no intention of joining society".

Cholera reported in Cyangugu

A serious outbreak of cholera has been reported in the southwest Cyangugu prefecture, according to Rwandan radio on Saturday. Worst affected were Kamembe, Bugarama and Cyimbogo communes where an estimated 86 people were suffering from the disease. Some of them had died, the radio said. The US NGO, IRC, has warned of a severe cholera outbreak in the neighbouring South Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Economic programme to focus on private sector

Unveiling a three-year economic programme, a senior official in the finance and planning ministry explained the government would focus on the private sector to bring about structural and institutional reforms. The director of macroeconomic policy, Prosper Musafiri, said the programme - due to start in August - envisaged reform of the civil service and transforming the agriculture-based economy into one that was export-orientated, RNA reported. The ministry has indicated the programme will depend heavily on foreign financing. The aim is to achieve 7.5 percent economic growth over three years and keep inflation down at five percent.


The probe by the UN team investigating alleged human rights violations has been suspended until further notice, news media reported. The move, ordered by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, follows the temporary detention of a Canadian member of the team at Kinshasa airport and the seizure of some documents he was carrying. On Friday, the head of the mission, Atsu-Koffi Amega, accused the DRC authorities of snooping and photocopying documents, AFP said. This was a serious violation of the team's diplomatic immunity, Amega added. Another member of the team, Paul Laberge, quoted by AFP, said the seizure of the documents meant the enquiry's confidentiality had been broken and the security of witnesses could not be guaranteed. UN spokesman Juan Carlos Brandt on Thursday said the team's work would be suspended "in view of the serious nature of the circumstances". The permanent under-secretary at the DRC presidency, Yerodia Abdoulaye Ndombasi, told a news conference on Friday the investigator had been detained for passport irregularities.

Government authorisation needed to use private airstrips

The DRC government over the weekend declared the closure of all private airstrips in the country, DRC television reported. The airstrips can now only be used with special authorisation from the minister of state for the interior. Explaining the measure, Transport Minister Henri Mova said it was designed so that the authorities could control the movement of planes and pilots. Observers point out air travel is the only way to reach remote parts of the country.

Newspaper editor arrested

The editor of 'Le Palmares' daily was arrested by security agents on Saturday, according to news reports. Michel Kadi Luya was detained as he prepared to chair a meeting of the newspaper's board of directors. Apparently no reason was given for his arrest. AFP yesterday (Sunday) quoted the justice ministry as saying it was unaware of the detention. Meanwhile another journalist, Mossi Mwassi who reports for the BBC, was released the same day after being held for four months on charges of spying.

Over 20 human rights groups approved by government

According to a BBC report, the authorities have approved the registration of more than 20 human rights groups, but refused many others the right to operate legally. The BBC points out the decision comes a week after the main civil rights group AZADHO was banned for allegedly operating illegally and interfering in politics.

Kabila back from Ethiopia

President Laurent-Desire Kabila returned from a five-day visit to Ethiopia on Saturday, saying the two countries had pledged to strengthen cooperation. Speaking on arrival in Kinshasa, Kabila said Ethiopia supported the country in its "dispute with countries which claim to be friends of Congo". On Thursday, Kabila had to postpone a speech to the OAU because of illness, according to AFP. He held talks the following day with OAU Secretary-General Dr Salim Ahmed Salim on issues concerning DRC and the Great Lakes region, Ethiopia television reported.

Opposition party protests information minister's visit to France

The opposition Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) party has protested against the visit to France this week of Information Minister Raphael Ghenda. The UDPS representative in Paris, Crispin Kabasele Tshimanga, expressed "astonishment" that the French authorities had allowed the visit to go ahead. Belgium earlier refused to grant the minister a visa, saying the visit was "inappropriate" after relations between the two countries plummeted following Congolese accusations that the Belgians were stashing weapons at their consulate in Lubumbashi.

BURUNDI: Regional embargo not working - EU envoy

The regional economic embargo imposed on Burundi is ineffective, EU special envoy Aldo Ajello said on Friday. Speaking in Kigali, he said the sanctions were "violated every day", AFP reported. But he added: "It is not the EU's problem and we must respect the decision of the countries in the region that imposed it."

UGANDA: Five injured in Kampala grenade attack

Five people were injured in a grenade attack on a popular bar in a Kampala suburb on Sunday, media reports said. The blast at the Bermuda Triangle bar was suspected to have been a stick grenade hurled from the grounds of a nearby mosque, according to the BBC. The recent spate of explosions in Kampala, were the result of home-made bombs. Sunday's explosion occurred despite tightened security in the city for the Easter weekend. The police on Thursday announced the formation of a new national task force against terrorism, the official 'New Vision' newspaper reported. The taskforce has a bomb disposal and fast-response capability, a police spokesman said.

ADF kill 13 in Kasese

Allied Democratic Forces rebels killed 13 people, wounded nine, and abducted at least 30 in two attacks in southwestern Kasese District on Thursday. According to the 'New Vision', the army killed one of the rebel commanders. The newspaper said that some 100 insurgents were involved in the two attacks on trading centres in Kyabarungira and Kicwamba sub-counties.

Army deployed to end cattle raids

The Ugandan army has been deployed in two southeastern districts bordering Kenya hit by raids by Karamojong cattle rustlers, the 'New Vision' reported on Friday. Ten people have died in Karamojong raids in Kapchorwa and Mbale Districts since 6 April, launched in reprisal for an attack by rival Pokot pastoralists two days earlier, the paper said. The Minister of State for Karamoja, Peter Lokeris, said Karamojong community leaders have been mobilised to appeal to the herdsmen to return to the Karamoja region in eastern and northeastern Uganda.

World Bank/IMF approve US $650 million debt relief

The World Bank and IMF have approved nearly US $650 million in debt relief for Uganda under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative, state radio said on Thursday. A senior finance ministry official said the debt relief would release extra funds for spending on priority social areas. According to a World Bank statement, discounted to today's values, relief from all of Uganda's creditors will be worth US $350 million, to which the World Bank and IMF will contribute about US $160 million and US $69 million, respectively. This amounts to a 20 percent reduction in Uganda's external debt.

CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: Pointe-Noire blacked out by rebel attack

An attack by pro-Pascal Lissouba militiamen on a hydro-electric dam in southern Congo blacked out the economic capital Pointe Noire last week. "Pointe Noire and the cities of the south have been plunged into darkness because of Lissouba's Cocoyes militia, who attacked a transformer of the Moukoukoulou dam," official radio, monitored by AFP, said on Thursday. Power had not been restored on Thursday, after a two day blackout. The power plant, some 300 km west of Brazzaville, supplies electricity to all southern cities as well as part of the capital's power.

ANGOLA: Luanda announces measures for Savimbi's protection

The Angolan government on Friday announced security measures to protect UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi. Some 400 men based in Lobito, Luanda and in the central region of Angola will guarantee Savimbi's security, the government said. Currently living in the UNITA strongholds of Andulo and Bailundo in central Angola, Savimbi has yet to announce when he will move to the capital Luanda, having so far stayed away ostensibly for security reasons, AFP reported.

UNITA said on Thursday it would cooperate to restore peace, Angolan TV reported. UNITA senior official Antonio Dembo said at a press conference that Savimbi's return to Luanda "will depend on trust and security that government and UNITA can create in Luanda." He demanded that the government hand over the remains of UNITA leaders killed in the capital when the country's civil war resumed in late 1992. He also called for the lifting of UN sanctions against the party.

Institute says threat of war remains

The threat of civil war in Angola remains, according to a report by the Johannesburg-based Institute for Security Studies (ISS). The ISS says a rift has emerged within UNITA between those opposed to war and hardliners refusing to trust the Angolan government's peace-making efforts, South Africa's 'Mail&Guardian' reported. "The most likely time for a resumption of larger-scale military operations on the part of FAA [Angolan Armed Forces] is at the end of the rainy season in April," says the report. However, it quotes an anonymous adviser to Savimbi who claims the prospect of war is more distant now: "The situation remains dangerous in Angola, but not as dangerous as it was a year ago." He also lambasts the UN's peace efforts as cosmetic. "The core issue is not reconciliation, but formal compliance (with the Lusaka Accord). The international community is trying to reduce the cost of its peacekeeping operation without looking at genuine reconciliation."

SUDAN: Soldiers killed in retaliation for "massacre" of young conscripts

The opposition National Democratic Alliance said on Saturday its fighters had killed 12 government soldiers in the southeast of the country, AFP reported. A statement by the group issued in Cairo said its forces "ambushed" a convoy in the region of Gedaref near the Ethiopian border. It said the ambush was "retaliation" for what it called Khartoum's "massacre" of 120 young government conscripts on 3 April in a military camp southeast of Khartoum. It said the 120 conscripts were shot and 140 drowned after they mutinied over the army's refusal to let them return home for the Moslem sacrifice of Al-Adha. The government has said that 55 young conscripts who fled the camp drowned when their overloaded boat capsized on the Blue Nile.

TANZANIA: 100 miners feared dead in pit floods

More than 100 miners are feared dead after heavy rains flooded some 14 pits in the Arusha area on Friday. Prime Minister Frederick Sumaye has called on all miners in the region to stop work and instead help in the rescue mission for their trapped colleagues, state radio said. Three bodies were recovered and 21 people dug out alive on Sunday.

Nairobi, 13 April 1998, 12:50 gmt


[The material contained in this communication comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. UN IRIN Tel: +254 2 622123 Fax: +254 2 622129 e-mail: for more information or subscriptions. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Quotations or extracts should include attribution to the original sources. IRIN reports are archived on the WWW at: or can be retrieved automatically by sending e-mail to Mailing list: irin-cea-updates]

Date: Mon, 13 Apr 1998 15:45:14 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 394 for 10-13 April 98.4.13 Message-ID: <>

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

Previous Menu Home Page What's New Search Country Specific