IRIN Update for 25-27 April 98.4.27

IRIN Update for 25-27 April 98.4.27

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. 404 for Central and Eastern Africa (Saturday-Monday 25-27 April 1998)

RWANDA: Executions spark cooperation from genocide suspects

Friday's public execution of 22 genocide convicts has encouraged other suspects to cooperate with the authorities, judicial sources said on Saturday, quoted by AFP. A number of accused had agreed to enter into plea-bargaining to avoid the death penalty. Meanwhile, a government official told Reuters the executions were "an ongoing process" and might resume this week. The executions were the first public punishment of those involved in the 1994 genocide which left about 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus dead.

WFP to implement food projects

WFP on Friday said Kigali had given it the go-ahead to implement several new projects to help feed thousands of Rwandans facing severe food shortages. In a news release, the agency estimated over 200,000 Rwandans were finding it more and more difficult to find food due to a combination of erratic rainfall and heavy flooding over the past few months. Particularly affected are the prefectures of Butare, Gikongoro, Kibuye, Ruhengeri, Gisenyi, Kibungo and Gitarama, whose inhabitants will need food aid to carry them through to the next harvest in July. WFP intends to increase its assistance from 3,500 mt for 160,000 people to over 5,000 mt for some 360,000 people.

SUDAN: OLS pleased with Khartoum's clearance of second aircraft

Operation Lifeline Sudan has hailed a move by the Sudanese government to grant clearance for an additional aircraft to operate from Lokichokio in Kenya. In a news release issued on Saturday, OLS described the move as timely. It noted WFP had cautioned that unless permission was received to double or triple food airlifts to southern Sudan, the Bahr al-Ghazal region would face catastrophe. However OLS Southern Sector Coordinator Carl Tinstman warned that a third C-130 aircraft was essential for which flight clearance and funding was being sought.

Peace talks postponed

Peace talks in Nairobi between the Khartoum government and SPLA rebels have been postponed from 30 April to 4 May, the Kenyan 'Daily Nation' reported today (Monday), citing SUNA news agency. The talks are being held under the auspices of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD). No reasons have been given for the postponement. Meanwhile, a Sudanese army spokesman, General Abdul Rahman Kethim, claimed "hostile foreign powers" were preparing an offensive on Sudan. Local newspapers quoted him as saying intensive troop concentrations have been monitored on Sudan's southern borders.

KENYA: Concern as relief agencies wind up Garissa operations

Two major relief agencies are due to wind up operations in Garissa district next month, Kenyan radio reported on Saturday. It said the Kenya Red Cross and CARE International had already begun scaling down their activities. According to the radio, the two organisations were feeding some 80 percent of needy people in the district, with the government taking care of the rest. The Kenya Red Cross had been distributing food to some 100,000 people. The Garissa mayor, quoted by Kenyan KTN television, said the NGOs were pulling out due to lack of funds and warned that thousands of people faced food shortages as a result. He urged the government to increase relief supplies to the area.

TANZANIA/UGANDA: Cholera deaths reported

Thirty-nine people have died from cholera in the northern Shinyanga district since 30 January, Tanzanian radio reported. It cited a local health official as saying 599 people were affected by the disease in several areas of the district. Meanwhile, the Ugandan 'New Vision' daily reported today 20 people had died of cholera in western Uganda's Bundibugyo district over the past three days. Health workers told the newspaper the disease was sweeping through displaced people's camps in the region. The camps house thousands of people seeking refuge from Allied Democratic Forces rebels who operate from hideouts in the Ruwenzori mountains.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Quadripartite refugee accord reached

Delegations from Burundi, Uganda, DRC and UNHCR met in Kinshasa over the weekend for talks on refugee issues. DRC television said topics under discussion included security along common borders and modalities for the repatriation of DRC refugees from Uganda. The four sides later signed an accord, including the issues of Burundian refugees in DRC and Ugandan asylum-seekers, humanitarian sources told IRIN.

Speaking at the start of the meeting, DRC Interior Minister Gaetan Kakudji called for better structures to stop rebel incursions and attacks across the borders of Uganda, Burundi and DRC, the Agence congolaise de presse reported today. He urged close collaboration between the armed forces of the three countries and better exchange of information. Major problems hampering development in the three countries included insecurity in border areas and refugee repatriation, he noted. He added that a national eligibility commission would be set up to screen Burundian and Ugandan refugees who did not wish to be repatriated.

The 'EastAfrican' weekly today noted that a conference on refugees in the Great Lakes region is due to take place in Kampala on 8-9 May. It said high on the agenda were strategies to demilitarise refugee camps, international refugee law and how to reconcile state security and refugee situations.

New measures to curb illegal roadblocks

The DRC government has announced new measures to curb unauthorised roadblocks, DRC television reported last week. A statement read out by Interior Minister Gaetan Kakudji said it had been decided to end the "chaos, harassment and various cases of swindling" caused by the illegal roadblocks. Only certain services would be authorised to conduct their activities at border posts, ports, railway stations and airports. The minister accused those manning unauthorised roadblocks of destabilising the country's economy, describing them as "bandits and delinquents".

Prominent jailbreaker still on the run

Opposition politician Joseph Olenghakoy is still on the run after his recent escape from a high-security jail near Lubumbashi, Justice Minister Mwenze Kongolo told a news conference on Saturday. He said however it was "certain" Olenghakoy would be recaptured. Meanwhile, two other prominent detainees who escaped with him and were later caught appeared on state television at the weekend, the Agence congolaise de presse reported. Opposition politician Arthur Z'Ahidi Ngoma and former military commander Masasu Nindaga said they were being well treated.

CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: Strong earthquake hits northern area

A powerful earthquake measuring six on the Richter scale has rocked a remote area of northern Congo, the BBC reported today. According to French seismologists, the quake was centred on the town of Epena. So far, there are no details of casualties or damage.

ANGOLA: Dos Santos wants electoral run-off with Savimbi

Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos said on Thursday he wanted an electoral run-off with his longtime rival, UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi. He gave no date for the presidential elections, which would be the second round of a contest whose first round in September 1992 produced no clear winner and was followed by a return to civil war. According to AFP, dos Santos, speaking to the Central Committee of his ruling party, admitted that in the current political climate it would be extremely difficult to organise the poll. He however said the presidential elections and the disarmament of civilians were the two tasks remaining to conclude the peace process set out in the 1994 Lusaka agreement.

ZAMBIA: Treason trial moves to High Court

The treason case against former president Kenneth Kaunda and 81 others charged in connection with last year's coup attempt was moved to the High Court on Thursday, following the acceptance by a magistrate of an application by the state prosecutor. According to the independent 'The Post' newspaper, no date has been set for the trial. The accused are all soldiers with the exception of Kaunda and three other civilians. Instead of treason, Kaunda and his personal security chief, Moyce Kaulung'ombe, are charged with concealing information of a crime.

Nairobi, 27 April 1998, 14:35 gmt


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Date: Mon, 27 Apr 1998 17:37:06 -0300 (GMT+3) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update for 25-27 April 98.4.27 Message-ID: <>

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

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