IRIN Update 474 for 5 Aug 1998.8.5

IRIN Update 474 for 5 Aug 1998.8.5

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. 474 for Central and Eastern Africa (Wednesday 5 August 1998)

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Shooting reported in Lubumbashi

Humanitarian sources in Kinshasa told IRIN today (Wednesday) shooting had been reported in Lubumbashi since last night but no further details were immediately available. Rwandan radio said Kisangani airport had been closed since yesterday (Tuesday). It is expected that expatriate aid workers will be evacuated from Uvira and Goma. The US has ordered all non-essential embassy staff to leave the country, saying the situation is unpredictable.

Main Kivu towns under rebel control

Bukavu and Goma were under rebel control today and the situation in both towns was said to be normalising. Foreign Minister Bizima Karaha announced he was joining the rebels, and denounced President Laurent-Desire Kabila as a "dictator" who must be toppled. The mayor of Bukavu told IRIN all Congolese forces in the town were united against the Kabila regime. The DRC authorities accused Rwanda of "invading" and warned of a "vigorous riposte". [For more information, see separate IRIN story headlined "Rebels control main Kivu towns, vow to topple Kabila"].

600 flee to Cyangugu

News reports, quoting eyewitnesses, said Bukavu residents were fleeing across the border with Rwanda to Cyangugu. UNHCR confirmed 600 people had arrived in Cyangugu, but most of them were staying with friends or relatives. The Rwanda News Agency yesterday said about 150 Banyamulenge, mostly women and children, had crossed into Cyangugu claiming fighting in Bukavu had been "extremely violent". UNHCR has suspended operations in Uvira and Baraka due to insecurity. Some internal displacements have been reported from Uvira and Bukavu.

ADFL not affected by "defectors"

The secretary-general of the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (ADFL), Vincent Mutomb Tshibal, has stressed the movement still remains in place "even though certain people with selfish personal interests have defected". In comments broadcast by state television, he said "defection does not mean there will be no alliance". He acknowledged people occupying "key posts" in the ADFL were among the defectors, saying they "did not understand the meaning of liberation" and had "joined forces with those who destroyed this country".

Congolese plane reported at Entebbe airport

The Ugandan state-owned 'New Vision' daily yesterday reported that a Congolese-registered aircraft had been parked at Entebbe airport for the past 18 days. It said the plane flew in from Goma last month and has since been at the old Entebbe airport. It was unclear whether the Boeing 727, operated by a private company Goma Air, is in Entebbe because of the rebellion in eastern DRC, the newspaper added. A Ugandan army spokesman, contacted by IRIN, said Uganda currently had no troops in DRC.

Bizimungu denies involvement but says Rwanda will intervene if necessary

Rwandan President Pasteur Bizimungu, who is visiting Zambia, today reiterated his country's denial of any involvement in the rebellion. "For the time being there is no reason for Rwanda to be there, but of course if we have serious reasons to be involved, maybe we should," he was quoted as saying by AFP. He again stressed events in DRC were an internal matter.

Mining company to go ahead with venture

The US mining company, America Mineral Fields Inc. (AMI) has stated final negotiations with the DRC government on exploiting the Kolwezi copper and cobalt mines will not be affected by the current fighting. Negotiations on the joint venture, with the Anglo-American Corporation of South Africa, would be concluded in the next 30 days, according to AMI. A spokesman for the company said it had the "greatest confidence" in President Kabila. And an Anglo-American spokeswoman said it was still early days. There were no reports of fighting in the southeast where Kolwezi is located, she said.

RWANDA: 60 rebels killed with commander

Some 60 Hutu rebels died alongside their commander Lieutenant-Colonel Frodouald Mugemana in an army operation overnight on Monday in Rwanda's northern Ruhengeri province. AFP quoted military sources as saying 20 of the rebels were killed as they tried to carry away Mugemana's body. He was the second senior rebel leader to be slain by the army in less than two weeks. The military said the Ruhengeri operation was based on information supplied by local residents.

SUDAN: Both sides in peace talks welcome Annan's mediation offer

Sudan's peace talks entered their second day in Addis Ababa today with both delegations welcoming an offer by UN Secretary-General to mediate in the conflict between the Islamic government and southern rebels. But progress in the talks was slow and the atmosphere tense, AFP quoted sources as saying.

In a statement issued in New York yesterday, Kofi Annan called on both sides to "redouble" their efforts to find a political solution and that he "stands ready to contribute to those efforts, if requested by the parties and the mediators." At Tuesday's opening ceremony OAU Secretary-General Salim Ahmed Salim urged an urgent solution to the "senseless" 15-year-old civil war. "Absolutely nothing can justify a continuation of this conflict," he said. "We must speak out and act more forcefully."

More European aid announced

Meanwhile, the EC announced US $50 million in humanitarian aid to southern Sudan yesterday and Germany released an extra US $1.1 million. The EU executive said in a statement that EC assistance would help co-fund the activities of WFP, Reuters reported. Bonn had already increased its emergency aid to the region on Friday by US $550,000, bringing its total contribution to humanitarian projects in Sudan so far this year to US $1.6 million. In a separate development, Action Contre la Faim said it was sending a team into Wau to open nutrition centres and medical clinics, an AFP dispatch from Paris said.

UGANDA: Five abducted children killed by ADF

Five students abducted from a technical college in Uganda last June by Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels were killed recently while trying to escape, AFP reported the state-owned 'New Vision' as saying today. The daily quoted a former rebel captive, nine-year-old Susan Katusiime, as saying that three of the students taken from Kichwamba Technical College in western Uganda on 8 June were beheaded, two were shot and 20 remained in rebel hands. "The rebels tied the three students on trees and hacked off their heads like goats, before shooting the other two," said Katusiime, who was among 43 children and 13 women rescued last week in an army assault on ADF bases in the Ruwenzori mountains.

Bomb scare leads to evacuation of parliament offices

An abandoned briefcase led to a bomb scare and the evacuation of parliamentary offices in Kampala on Tuesday. The briefcase was later found to contain cartridges for private firearms and the owners ID. He was contacted by the police, AFP reported. The building, which also houses the justice and foreign affairs ministries, is adjacent to President Yoweri Museveni's office. "We couldn't take chances," police spokesman Eric Naigambi said.

Museveni's brother turns down ministerial post

President Museveni's brother, popularly known as Major-General Salim Saleh, told a local newspaper that he turned down a proposed appointment as minister of state for defence to avoid the appearance of nepotism. Saleh said he wrote to Museveni on Saturday asking to be withdrawn from a list of proposed ministers, the 'Monitor' newspaper reported today. Museveni ran into political trouble last week when he presented parliament with 16 cabinet nominees. Parliament first rejected the entire list because it was unbalanced in terms of region and religion, and it had not been consulted before the list was made public, AFP said. But Museveni later persuaded its appointments committee to approve the nominations.

TANZANIA: 50 percent of Tanzanians below poverty line

One out of every two Tanzanians lives below the poverty line, with the situation worse in rural areas, the independent daily 'The African' quoted minister of state Bakari Mbonde in the vice-president's office as telling parliament on Tuesday. Mbonde told the House that Tanzanians were among the poorest people in the world, with 50 percent earning incomes of less than one US dollar per month, AFP reported the paper as saying. "Poverty is manifest in rural areas, where about 60 percent of the people are poor as compared to 39 percent of those living in urban centres," Mobonde said.

Nairobi, 5 August 1998, 15:25 gmt


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Date: Wed, 5 Aug 1998 18:23:27 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 474 for 5 Aug 1998.8.5 Message-ID: <>

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

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