IRIN Update 396 for 15 April 98.4.15

IRIN Update 396 for 15 April 98.4.15

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. 396 for Central and Eastern Africa (Wednesday 15 April 1998)

BURUNDI: UN rapporteur says army and rebels violating rights

The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Burundi Paulo Pinheiro has accused both the army and rebels of serious human rights violations. In a briefing to the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva yesterday (Tuesday), he said it was regrettable the international community had not provided more human rights observers for Burundi. In areas of rebel activity, the civilian population was harassed. According to Pinheiro, there were "massacres and involuntary disapperances" following clashes between the army and rebels. He again stressed the regional economic sanctions imposed on Burundi should not be designed to punish the people. The country was suffering from "dangerous isolation", he said, and appealed to the international community to cease that isolation immediately.

Minister says Burundians don't want "superficial peace"

Burundi's Minister of Human Rights and Institutional Reforms Eugene Nindorera told the commission his government was trying to achieve national reconciliation and establish respect for human rights. He said armed gangs continued to roam the countryside, killing and kidnapping and destroying schools and health centres. Burundians did not want a superficial peace imposed by constraints, but a lasting peace built by the people themselves.

Burundi offers to co-finance railway extension

Burundi has offered to co-finance the extension of the Tanzania-Zambia railway (TAZARA) from Kasama in northern Zambia to the Lake Tanganyika Zambian port of Mpulungu, PANA news agency reported. Burundi's Commerce Minister Gregoire Banyiyezako made the offer yesterday during a visit to Lusaka. PANA said the move was envisaged as a way of diversifying outlets for Burundi's imports and exports. Currently cargo destined for Burundi via TAZARA has to be offloaded at Kasama and transported 50 km by truck up to Mpulungu which handles 75 percent of Burundi's merchandise.

RWANDA: Human rights assessment must take into account genocide

The UN commission's special representative on human rights in Rwanda, Michel Moussalli, stressed any consideration of the situation in that country must be taken with full awareness of the 1994 genocide and the international community's inability to confront it. He told the commission he was impressed by the government's commitment to promote and respect human rights and he urged increasing the presence of human rights monitors in the country to work with the authorities in promoting national dialogue. He deplored the "inhuman" prison conditions and called for international economic assistance to help Rwanda undertake development programmes.

Gerald Gahima, Directeur de Cabinet at the justice ministry, acknowledged many problems remained unresolved in Rwanda, such as overcrowding in detention centres. However, he said those suspected of genocide crimes had to remain imprisoned and brought to trial as justice for the victims was a prerequisite for reconciliation and stability in the country. Regarding allegations that the army had committed atrocities in combatting the rebel insurgency, particularly in northwest Rwanda, Gahima said the government always investigated such claims and prosecuted when necessary. He noted the army had a difficult task in ensuring "evil forces would not turn the country into a sea of blood again". A report by the UN Human Rights Field Operation in Rwanda has called on the government to "take steps to prevent excessive use of force by the security forces and police".

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: World "too preoccupied" with refugees - minister

Justice Minister for the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mweze Kongolo, charged that the international community's preoccupation with the issue of Rwandan refugees meant it had forgotten its responsibility regarding the "murderous catastrophes" in the Great Lakes region. He said Interahamwe forces had "continued the Rwandan genocide on Congolese soil and aggravated the region's ethnic conflict". He added that his country "should not, only a few months after the war of liberation, be asked to eradicate immediately and totally human rights violations".

Masasu escapes from jail

Three prominent detainees, including former military commander Masasu Nindaga, are reported to have escaped from a jail in Katanga province. According to a BBC report, Deputy Interior Minister Faustin Munene, confirmed the jailbreak in Buluwo near Lubumbashi but gave no further details. The other escapees are Joseph Olenghankoy, leader of the opposition party Forces novatrices pour l'union et la solidarite (FONUS) and Arthur Z'ahidi Ngoma of the Forces du Futur party.

SUDAN: Peace talks to resume at the end of April

Peace negotiations between the Khartoum government and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) will resume in Nairobi during the last week of April, the Kenyan foreign ministry said today (Wednesday). The talks, which broke off in November, will be held under the auspices of the regional Inter-Governmental Authority for Development, AFP reported.

Parliamentary committee investigates death of conscripts

A Sudanese parliamentary committee is investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of young army conscripts attempting to escape from a military camp near Khartoum earlier this month. According to the government, 54 conscripts drowned as they fled Aylafun camp on the Blue Nile. According to Sudanese TV yesterday, monitored by the BBC, the deputy commander of the camp denied opposition claims that 120 conscripts were shot by guards and 140 drowned after they mutinied over the army's refusal to let them return home for the Moslem sacrifice of Al-Adha. He said that some 250 conscripts out of a total of 1,262 attempted a disorderly escape. But 95 were saved from drowning by a unit of army engineers and 107 returned to the camp.

CAR: UN peacekeeping mission commences

The UN peacekeeping mission to the Central African Republic, known as MINURCA, kicked off today. The 1,350-strong force is mandated to strengthen security, collect weapons and maintain order in the capital Bangui. It will also train police officers and provide technical assistance for elections scheduled for September, following a national reconciliation agreement signed by political groups last month. The UN force takes over from the Inter-African Mission for Surveillance of the Bangui Accords (MISAB) which has been keeping the peace for the past year. Contingents from Gabon, Togo, Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso and Senegal serving with MISAB have transferred to MINURCA. Their 700 men will make up just over half of the new force. Of the four other countries due to participate, from France, Canada, Cote d'Ivoire and Botswana, only the 215-strong French contingent is already in place, the others being represented by a handful of officers or, in the case of Botswana which agreed to step in at short notice to replace Ghana, entirely absent, AFP reported. The MINURCA mission initially has a three-month mandate.

UGANDA-KENYA: Kampala concerned over Mombasa congestion

Landlocked Uganda has expressed concern over congestion at Mombasa port and its effects on regional trade, Kenyan state radio reported yesterday. Uganda's Minister for Trade and Industry Abel Rwendeire, in Nairobi for talks with his Kenyan counterpart, said that excessive bureaucracy was exacerbating delays at the port. He offered Ugandan assistance to resolve the problem.

UGANDA: Food needs exceed 90,000 mt - WFP

WFP reports that of about 560,000 people targeted for food aid in Uganda, 189,000 are refugees from Sudan, Rwanda and DRC while 257,000 are estimated to be displaced in northern districts and 61,000 displaced in western Uganda. A further 56,000 Ugandans suffering food insecurity in the northeast will be assisted in 1998. Overall food needs for these groups are estimated at 93,989 mt. WFP, in preparing its plans for Uganda, draws on its own surveys and assessments from other agencies. The Famine Early Warning System told IRIN today that, contrary to a report in the Kenyan 'Daily Nation', it had not mounted any new surveys in 1998.

CENTRAL AND EASTERN AFRICA: UN appeal gets off to a slow start

The US $573 million UN Inter-Agency Consolidated Appeal for the Great Lakes and Central Africa has so far raised only US $29.2 million, or five percent of the target. Figures released today by OCHA reveal that other humanitarian programmes in the region (mainly NGO and Red Cross Movement activities) had raised US $51 million by the end of March. OCHA's Financial Tracking Unit collects statistics on humanitarian financial flows from donors.

Nairobi, 15 April 1998, 15:15 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: Wed, 15 Apr 1998 18:27:25 -0300 (GMT+3) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 396 for 15 April 98.4.15 Message-ID: <>

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

Previous Menu Home Page What's New Search Country Specific