IRIN Update 400 for 21 Apr 98.4.21

IRIN Update 400 for 21 Apr 98.4.21

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. 400 for Central and Eastern Africa (Tuesday 21 April 1998)

RWANDA:+ Former French prime minister defiant before Rwanda probe

Former French prime minister Edouard Balladur and three former cabinet members appeared today (Tuesday) before a parliamentary team probing France's role during Rwanda's 1994 genocide. Balladur, the centre-right premier at the time, hit out at what he called "violent, biased, hateful" allegations against France. AFP reported a defiant Balladur added in his preliminary remarks that "this campaign arouses general indignation". The commission has already heard incriminating claims about the part played by France before and during the slaughter, including a charge that then officials must know who shot down a plane carrying Rwanda's president Juvenal Habyarimana. Appearing with the former premier were his foreign minister and successor Alain Juppe, ex-defence minister Francois Leotard, and former cooperation minister Michel Roussin. Balladur pledged that he and his ex-government colleagues would try to contribute to the investigation's bid to shed light on events, but only from April 1993, when his team took office.

Two military officers called shots on Rwanda for Mitterrand - 'Le Monde'

Meanwhile, the influential daily 'Le Monde' reported yesterday (Monday) that two military officers called the shots for late French president Francois Mitterrand during the 1994 crisis. It said the two officers, General Christian Quesnot and Colonel Jean-Pierre Huchon, later also a general, headed a crisis cell at Mitterrand's offices and strongly influenced his decisions concerning Rwanda between 1991 and 1994. "It made direct use of the services of men sent to the scene by the Marine Infantry Parachutist Regiment, a unit tasked with special and secret operations," 'Le Monde' said.

Militiamen kill 10 in north of country

Suspected Interahamwe militia massacred 10 people at the week-end in Cyanika, Kidaho commune, 25 km northeast of Ruhengeri town, on the border with Uganda, the Rwandan news agency reported. Quoting the mayor of Kidaho, agency said about 40 militiamen participated in the attacks that were carried out Saturday to Sunday night. "Those killed in this spate of attacks include a woman who was the head of Cyanika sector and three members of her family,'' the mayor indicated. Her fourth children was critically injured, he said. Six other people were also massacred in the same area. It has also been reported that an ex-FAR soldier and his family were critically wounded by the militia. In the past, Hutu militiamen have targeted the settlements of Tutsis, as well as Hutus who have not been supportive. In a separate development, the agency said it had heard of another attack on Sunday on Cyungo commune in northeastern Byumba prefecture by Hutu militiamen. A Rwandan army spokesman confirmed that attack and said that the number of casualties was yet to be known.

UN tribunal adjourns genocide trial of Rwandan ex-mayor ++ The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda yesterday indefinitely adjourned the genocide trial of a former mayor. The Swiss-based Hirondelle news agency said that the tribunal adjourned the trial of Elie Ndayambaje, the former mayor of Muganza in southern Rwanda, in a partial response to a prosecution request.+The prosecution has asked the tribunal's court of appeal, based in The Hague, to allow group trials, partly in a bid to speed up hearings by the court in Arusha northern Tanzania, first founded under a UN Security Council resolution in November 1994. Ndayambaje has been in detention for three years.

WFP plans food-for-work projects in Gikongoro

WFP says it plans to make available some 600-800 mt of food per month through food-for-work projects in Gikongoro. The decision followed the visit of a WFP team which held talks with the prefect and local officials on possible forms of intervention to reverse the deteriorating situation in the area. WFP said in its latest weekly report the assistance would help redress some of the problems related to the upcoming lean season.

SUDAN: WFP seeks to increase airlift to Bahr al-Ghazal

WFP warned today that unless it receives permission to double or triple its airlift of food aid to southern Sudan within a matter of days the Bahr al-Ghazal region will face catastrophe. WFP said farmers in the region also needed seeds and tools within the next three weeks to plant the crop they would harvest in August. "The situation in Bahr al-Ghazal has reached a critical and frightening level," David Fletcher, head of WFP's southern sector operation for Sudan, said. "The threat of thousands of people dying from lack of food and disease is becoming a reality as we anxiously wait for clearances to fly more aircraft. The deprivation we've seen so far could very well be just the beginning of a humanitarian catastrophe." Aid workers say this year is becoming one of southern Sudan's worst in recent history. In addition to the Bahr al-Ghazal crisis, other areas, such as Upper Nile and Eastern Equatoria, are facing serious food shortages due to a combination of drought and insecurity. WFP is currently authorised to fly only one C-130 Hercules into southern Sudan, and Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) has appealed to the government to grant immediate clearance for at least one more C-130 to boost food deliveries from Lokichoggio, Kenya. At present, WFP says it is barely meeting 30 percent of the food needs in Bahr al-Ghazal. The agency estimates this month's total deliveries to southern Sudan at only 2,500 mt of food against a minimum requirement of 6,000 mt.

UN Special Rapporteur criticises government over treatment of women and children

Gaspar Biro, Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Sudan, has said there are indications of worsening treatment of women and children, increased restrictions on freedom of religion, and abuses and atrocities committed against religious communities and their leaders by agents of the government or individuals known for their close relationships with the government. In a report presented to the UN Commission on Human Rights on 16 April, he said requests from him for information on numerous detailed allegations of human-rights abuses had gone unanswered by the government and that hundreds of thousands might soon be starving in southern Sudan in great part because the Government hampered relief efforts.

A Sudanese representative said in response that alleged human rights violations related to the broader context of the armed conflict in the south of the country, which the current government, after major efforts, had largely resolved peacefully. He termed the rapporteur's contention that the overall situation had not improved inaccurate and unfair, and charged that the rapporteur used the same language he had used in 1992 'without any effort to update that language to reflect the tremendous developments which have taken place'.

ANGOLA : Mandela to visit Angola next week ++ South African President Nelson Mandela is to pay a state visit to Angola next week to give his blessing to the fragile peace process which has brought an end to decades of conflict in the former Portuguese colony, news agencies reported yesterday. The visit on Wednesday of next week is scheduled to last only one day, during which Mandela will hold talks with Angolan President Eduardo dos Santos. Meanwhile, Angolan television reported Rwandan Vice-President Paul Kagame had arrived in Luanda on Monday for talks with dos Santos. It gave no other details.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Garreton says hopes fading for DRC government

UN special rapporteur on the human rights situation in DRC, Roberto Garreton, says hopes placed on the regime that overthrew the dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko had begun to fade. Presenting his report to the Commission on Human Rights in Geneva last week, Garreton said the new government had had the historic possibility of installing a democratic regime respectful of human rights by bringing together all the forces that had fought the dictatorship, but had not done so. Instead he said the winner looked on the rest of the country as enemies and power was wielded unchecked by President Laurent-Desire Kabila.

Garreton said his main concern, however, related to the use of the death penalty, which was being applied with "terrifying frequency following military trials that left no possibility of appeal". The country's military tribunal has so far sentenced 56 people to death.

The special rapporteur said political parties were prohibited and those who violated the ban were imprisoned, banished and even tortured. Human rights NGOs had also come under attack. Most recently, the group AZADHO had been banned. AFP reported the Commission today went on to condemn DRC for "serious violations" of basic freedoms. It said the 53 participating countries adopted the resolution by 28 votes to seven with 18 abstentions. ++++++++ Government suspends Kisangani Catholic Radio

The DRC government has suspended a private radio station run by the Roman Catholic church in the town of Kisangani, a journalist at the radio said on Monday. Jose des Chartes Menga of Radio Amani told Reuters in the capital Kinshasa that Deputy Interior Minister Faustin Munene announced the move on Saturday evening on local state radio. He said Munene had accused Radio Amani of "functioning outside the limits of the law governing press freedom in DRC. "What they really have against us is that we report what is actually happening," Reuters quoted Menga as saying by telephone.

KENYA:+ Food supplies to Dadaab back to normal

Food supplies to thousands of Somali refugees in north-eastern Kenya which were disrupted by severe flooding are back to normal after a six-week period of half rations, WFP said on Friday.The WFP spokeswoman Michele Quintaglie told IRIN road repairs partly funded by WFP had enabled trucks to take supplies to the camps.The main road to the Dadaab camps which houses about 125,000 refugees were badly damaged by El Nino rains last November and December.

Four civilians die in police camp raid

Four people died in crossfire on Saturday night when bandits raided and stole firearms from a police camp in West Pokot District, the 'Daily Nation' reported today. The paper quoted West Pokot District Commissioner John Abduba as saying the victims were caught in crossfire between the raiders and security forces which also left three administration police injured.

Nairobi, 21 April 1998, 14:30 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: Tue, 21 Apr 1998 17:50:17 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 400 for 21 Apr 98.4.21 Message-ID: <

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

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