IRIN Update 585 for 12 Jan1999

IRIN Update 585 for 12 Jan1999

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. 585 for Central and Eastern Africa (Tuesday 12 January 1999)

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Kinshasa invites Garreton back

The DRC government yesterday (Monday) invited a new inquiry by UN investigator Roberto Garreton into alleged human rights abuses. Human Rights minister Leonard Okitundu said President Laurent-Desire Kabila was prepared to welcome back Garreton, who was denied access to the DRC in 1997 after authoring a report on alleged massacres of Rwandan Hutu refugees by Kabila's then rebel forces.

Allied aircraft raids Kisangani

An allied air raid on Kisangani on Sunday killed 17 people including five children, rebel leader Ernest Wamba dia Wamba told the Associated Press today (Tuesday). Reuters quoted aid workers in the rebel-held town as saying 40 people died in the bombing by an Antonov aircraft. Mouvement de liberation congolais (MLC) rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba told the BBC today from Kisangani that the aircraft was Sudanese.

Kinshasa says Gemena and Libenge recaptured

The DRC government said on Sunday the towns of Gemena and Libenge had been recaptured. A military communique said 117 rebels were killed at Gemena, and Ugandan and Rwandan soldiers were taken prisoner. It added that Bemba narrowly escaped capture, and rebels fleeing to Zongo were ambushed. Reuters quoted sources across the border in the Central African Republic as saying Libenge had been bombed by allied forces. AFP reported from Bangui yesterday that mortar fire and heavy shooting was heard in the Zongo area, but could not confirm who was doing the shooting.

Confusion over RCD participation in Lusaka

DRC state TV said yesterday Kabila was to attend this weekend's Lusaka summit on the Congo conflict. However, AP reported Wamba dia Wamba as insisting today that the rebel Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD) would not be at the meeting unless they were assured of face-to-face negotiations with Kabila. Regional mediator, Zambian President Frederick Chiluba, said on Sunday that 12 countries are due to attend the summit.

The South African newspaper 'Business Day' reported yesterday a government source as saying Chiluba postponed a meeting on Sunday with Deputy President Thabo Mbeki because he had failed to win agreement from Zimbabwe and DRC over rebel participation at the summit. The postponement "is a signal that the stalemate continues," the source said.

Zimbabwean plane crashes

A Zimbabwean military transport plane crashed on the outskirts of Kinshasa killing all five people on board, the DRC ministry of defence said yesterday. The statement, reported by SAPA news agency, said the Spanish-built Casa aircraft crashed because of technical problems and bad weather conditions.

BURUNDI: Burundi peace process reviewed in New York

A two-day high-level meeting on Burundi began yesterday at the UN headquarters in New York. UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said participants were expected to discuss resource requirements for the current Arusha negotiation process and peace building activities for the country. Former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere was among the senior regional, donor and UN officials attending the meeting. Diplomatic sources said the meeting was likely to agree to continued financing for the Arusha peace process until August this year.

Regional leaders are due to meet in Arusha, Tanzania on 23 January to discuss the Burundi situation. Humanitarian sources told IRIN Nyerere had been under considerable pressure to end sanctions against Bujumbura and a compromise now looked likely where they would be suspended, but not cancelled.

UGANDA: LRA abducts 80 people

Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels abducted 80 people yesterday in northern Uganda, the independent 'Monitor' newspaper reported today. The raid took place in Aswa county, five km north of Gulu town. The state-owned 'New Vision' reported fierce fighting yesterday at Lacor, 12 km west of Gulu. The paper said that soldiers had been wounded in the clash. In separate incidents on Friday and Saturday around Gulu, the newspaper reported that three rebels were killed and an LRA commander and six other rebels surrendered.

US British missions closed

American and British diplomatic missions in Kampala were shut for a second day today. No offical reason was given for the closures, but news reports said it was on security grounds.

SUDAN: Britain trying to restore diplomatic relations

Britain is trying to restore diplomatic relations with Khartoum damaged last year by the US bombing of a pharmaceutical factory, a foreign office minister said yesterday. "We have been in contact with the Sudanese to see if we can remedy the situation," Baroness Liz Symons said in a written answer to a parliamentary question, news organisations reported.

11 political organisations seek registration

A political organisation representing Nuba people has applied for registration as a political party, Reuters reported yesterday. The Sudanese National Party of veteran Nuba politician Reverend Philip Gabboush on Sunday became the 11th political association to register, the dispatch said. However, apart from a splinter group of the Democratic Unionist Party, Sudan's main opposition groups have boycotted the process.

ETHIOPIA/ERITREA: Asmara says Addis planning to attack

Reuters reported today the Eritrean government as saying it had received intelligence reports that Ethiopia was planning to launch fresh attacks in the border dispute between the two countries and called for a ban on all hostilities. The foreign ministry was quoted as saying in a statement that Western intelligence sources and others had reported the Ethiopian government would launch attacks against Eritrea between mid-January and mid-February from three directions. The latest accusation takes place at the same time as a renewed US attempt to broker a solution to the border dispute between the Horn of Africa nations, led by US envoy Anthony Lake.

Nairobi, 12 January 1999, 15:00 GMT


Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 18:32:35 +0300 (EAT) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 585 for 12 Jan 1999.1.12

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

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