IRIN Update 387 for 1 Apr 98.4.1

IRIN Update 387 for 1 Apr 98.4.1

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

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IRIN Update No. 387 for Central and Eastern Africa (Wednesday 1 April 1998)

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Draft constitution under debate

President Laurent-Desire Kabila is considering a draft constitution, handed to him yesterday (Tuesday) by a constitutional committee. According to media reports, the draft envisages a five-year presidency and English and French as official languages. Committee chairman Anicet Kashamura said the draft was similar to the US model comprising a president with wide-ranging powers and a vice-president, but no prime minister. The committee also drew up a provisional list of some 250 people who would not be allowed to contest the presidency. These include veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi and former parliament speaker Laurent Monsengwo. In an interview with Reuters, Kashamura said: "All our compatriots who have compromised themselves, who have acquired property illegally or who have been involved in political killings or other human rights violations will not be allowed to stand."

Other crucial elements of the draft constitution include the nationality issue, although sources who have seen the draft told IRIN there are no major changes from previous laws. Kashamura, quoted by the Agence congolaise de presse (ACP) on Monday, had stressed that Congolese nationality was "exclusive" but could be "acquired".

Human rights probe reportedly facing problems in Goma

UN human rights chief Mary Robinson yesterday said the UN team probing alleged human rights violations was now facing problems in Goma. Last month, the mission was forced to pull out of the northwestern town of Mbandaka after facing hostility from the local population. Robinson said it was important that the DRC authorities assist the investigation. Meanwhile, DRC Information Minister Raphael Ghenda said he understood the reaction of local people, ACP reported. During a visit to Secli Wendji near Mbandaka where the investigators had been excavating, he expressed indignation over "this disrespect for the dead". The local population accused the investigators of disturbing traditional burial sites.

Ex-FAZ "sowing terror" in Kasai Occidental

Former Zairean soldiers are "sowing terror" in Kasai Occidental province, according to Floribert Chebeya, the president of the human rights group "La Voix des sans voix". According to the Agence congolaise de presse (ACP) yesterday, he told a news conference in Kinshasa that "uncontrolled ex-FAZ soldiers" were erecting barricades on public roads and looting from peaceful citizens.

RWANDA: 'Le Figaro' implicates France in 1994 plane crash

The French daily 'Le Figaro' on Monday said the crew of a plane which crashed in Kigali in 1994 killing the Rwandan and Burundian presidents were secretly working for the French government. One of the widows said the men had been given the military status of "killed in action" despite being civilians and were posthumously decorated by the government. The newspaper also claimed Soviet-made missiles which were part of French stocks were responsible for downing the plane. However in a statement to AFP, a top French gendarme Paul Barril described the allegations as "implausible and incoherent" and he "formally" denied any involvement. Barril was formerly second-in-command of an elite paramilitary unit.

Meanwhile, the parliamentary information mission probing France's involvement in the Rwanda genocide yesterday heard fresh testimonies from two experts who said the international community, including France and Belgium, was aware the massacres were being prepared. A Belgian lawyer, Eric Gillet, said nothing was done to stop the genocide when there was still time to do so, AFP reported.

BURUNDI: Concern over security in Bujumbura rural

The authorities in Bujumbura Rural have expressed concern over the security situation in displaced people's camps, especially in the communes of Gishubi and Kibuye, the Azania news agency reported yesterday. Over the past two weeks, 15,000 displaced people had arrived in the commune of Isale fleeing fighting in Gishubi and Kibuye, Azania said, adding that the local authorities had appealed for humanitarian assistance.

ANGOLA: Government says UNITA has not demobilised

The Angolan government has again accused the UNITA movement of failing to demobilise its troops ahead of yesterday's deadline for implementation of the 1994 Lusaka peace accord. According to a BBC report, it also remained unclear whether UNITA's shortwave radio "Voice of the Black Cockerel" had ceased broadcasting in compliance with the peace deal. UNITA leaders were meant to install themselves in the capital Luanda yesterday but failed to arrive, although the movement's secretary-general Lukamba Paulo Gato said they would come today (Wednesday). UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi has consistently expressed fears over his personal safety in the capital.

SUDAN: Government to send troops to contain clashes in west

President Omar al-Bashir is to send troops to western Sudan to contain communal clashes in which 23 people have been killed and over 50 villages torched. According to press reports, quoted by AFP, Bashir told a gathering of non-Arab Aringa tribesmen that troops would be despatched to "maintain order and impose the state's authority". Arab tribes have reportedly been attacking the homes of non-Arab communities in western Darfur state. Bashir claimed the clashes were "motivated by enemies of the nation who are planning to distract attention from the fighting in south and east Sudan".

MALARIA: British scientists develop possible preventive vaccine

Scientists in Britain have developed a vaccine against malaria which has proved 100 percent effective in mice, the BBC reported. The vaccine, produced by the Oxford Institute of Molecular Medicine, is due to be tested on humans next year, and if all goes well the two-part vaccine could be in use within five years. The scientists hope the same type of two-part vaccine may prove effective against diseases such as AIDS and Hepatitis-B.

Nairobi, 1 April 1998, 13:30 gmt


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Date: Wed, 1 Apr 1998 16:28:56 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 387 for 1 Apr 98.4.1 Message-ID: <>

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

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