IRIN Weekly Round-up 32-98 31 July-6 Aug 1998.8.7

IRIN Weekly Round-up 32-98 31 July-6 Aug 1998.8.7

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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[The weekly roundup is based on IRIN daily updates and other relevant information from UN agencies, NGOs, governments, donors and the media. IRIN issues these reports for the benefit of the humanitarian community, but accepts no responsibility as to the accuracy of the original sources.]

Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Weekly Round-up 32-98 covering the period 31 July-6 Aug 1998

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Anti-Kabila rebellion in east

A rebellion was launched in eastern DRC, after government troops managed to put down an apparent revolt by Banyamulenge soldiers in the capital Kinshasa on Sunday. The towns of Bukavu, Goma, Uvira and Kindu were said to be in rebel hands by Thursday, with fighting underway in DRC's third city of Kisangani. The head of the rebellion was named as opposition politician Arthur Z'Ahidi Ngoma with his deputy, former foreign minister Bizima Karaha.

The DRC authorities accused Rwanda of "invasion", although Kigali has consistently denied any involvement. Kinshasa vowed to "take the war to Rwanda" and President Laurent-Desire Kabila warned the Congolese people to "prepare for a long war". Rebel leaders denied they wanted to break away from Congo, and said their rebellion was aimed at toppling Kabila whom they accused of "corruption, dictatorship and nepotism".

Human rights organisastions and aid workers expressed concern over the persecution of ethnic Tutsis in the capital Kinshasa. Humanitarian sources told IRIN Banyamulenge and other Tutsis were being rounded up by the armed forces. According to diplomatic sources, the Kinshasa authorities voiced doubt over their ability to protect ethnic Tutsis.

[For detailed information, please refer to a series of special reports filed by IRIN this week].

RWANDA: Hutu rebels kill over 100 in Kigali Rurale

Over 100 people were killed in a weekend rebel attack on a village in Kigali Rurale prefecture, the military commander of the area announced on Sunday. AFP quoted Colonel Fred Ibingira saying a large group of rebel youths struck Rushashi - 60 km north of the capital - overnight on Friday. Most of the victims were reportedly women and children, both Tutsis and Hutus, bludgeoned to death with clubs and machetes. The commander said at least 102 people were killed. He added the attackers were from the prefecture, but appeared to have launched the raid from Hutu rebel bases in northern Ruhengeri region. The authorities in Kigali said the army was combing the area for the rebels on Sunday. Map:

According to AFP, the countryside close to Kigali has been the target of a recent wave of rebel attacks. Demands by the local population for arms to defend themselves have been rejected by Kigali on the grounds that the army was capable enough, regional administrator Wellars Gasamagera told the news agency.

Nun killed, rebel officer captured in northwest

A Roman Catholic nun was shot dead on Friday in Gisenyi, northwestern Rwanda by unidentified attackers, AP reported. Sister Valens Mukanoheli was killed in front of her mission. A church official said it was unclear if the gunmen were rebels or criminal elements. Meanwhile, Rwandan radio announced the capture on Friday of a rebel officer Lieutenant Joseph Barangerageje. He was allegedly responsible for coordinating the ambush of vehicles along the Ruhengeri-Gisenyi road.

Senior rebel leader killed

A second top Hutu rebel leader Lieutenant-Colonel Frodouald Mugemana has been killed in a military operation in northwestern Rwanda, news agencies reported on Tuesday. Details of the overnight battle in Nyarutovu commune, 80 km north of Kigali, are yet to be disclosed. But the military authorities said other rebels were killed and equipment captured in the strike. Mugemana was the aide de camp of Rwanda's late president Juvenal Habyarimana. His death follows the killing of Lieutenant-Colonel Leonard Nkundiye, another senior commander of the rebel Army for the Liberation of Rwanda (ALIR), and 250 militiamen on 23 July.

ICTR expects first judgements soon

The President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Judge Laity Kama said the tribunal would render its first judgements in "the very near future". Speaking at a press conference in New York on Wednesday, Kama said among the cases coming to a close are those of Jean-Paul Akeyesu a former mayor, and ex-prime minster Jean Kambanda.

UGANDA: LRA rebels killed in SPLA offensive, paper says

At least 19 Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) gunmen were allegedly killed in southern Sudan's eastern Equatoria region by Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) rebels, the state-owned 'New Vision' reported at the weekend. The Uganda paper said the LRA soldiers were killed during SPLA attacks on Torit, Magwi and Kapoeta on the Ugandan border. The 'New Vision' quoted security sources as claiming that 1,000 LRA rebels are encircled along the Juba-Torit road. The LRA is believed to operate out of bases at Jubelein, 60 km south of Juba, the southern capital. The paper said the SPLA have been battling government forces for a week in eastern Equatoria. Khartoum has claimed that the offensive is being assisted by the Ugandan army. Kampala has countered that two other Ugandan rebel groups, the West Nile Bank Front and the Former Uganda National Army, are supporting the Sudanese military.

ADF bases overrun, 25 rebels dead

The Ugandan army killed 25 rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and rescued 56 abducted people in the western district of Bundibugyo last week, the 'New Vision' said. It quoted the army Chief-of-Staff Brigadier James Kazini as saying the rebels were killed on Tuesday and Wednesday when their hideouts were overrun near the Sindira river. Six government soldiers and an abductee were killed in the operation, AFP reported. Among those rescued were 13 old women and 43 children aged between one and 10 years. They were citizens of both DRC and Uganda, the news agency said.

SUDAN: Peace talks make little progress

Sudan peace talks between the SPLA and government in Addis Ababa entered their third day on Thursday with little progress made, news reports said. According to Sudanese state radio negotiators have failed to agree on the key issues of the nature of the state and role of religion, and these were dropped to keep the talks alive. They also failed to agree on the definition of the south. For the government it represents the territory demarcated at independence in 1956. The rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) wants the "south" to encompass all areas where black Africans reside, including the central Nuba mountains.

BURUNDI: Belgium promotes international peace effort

Belgium has announced an international effort to promote peace in Burundi. Belgian Foreign Minister Erik Derycke said on Sunday that Canada is to host a meeting in Ottawa on 19-20 August to evaluate progress in peace talks "and the methods of an eventual implementation", Reuters reported. He added that any relaunch of Belgian links with Burundi would be taken in consultation with international partners after the Ottawa meeting. His statement clarified comments by Secretary of State for Cooperation Reginald Moreels on Sunday who said that Belgian cooperation would be relaunched in the coming months. Moreels said that a new policy of constructive engagement would not be a sign of approval for the government of President Pierre Buyoya.

A spokesman for the opposition CNDD told Reuters he was "astonished" by Moreels' comments as Burundi had not met the democratic conditions set by the international community.

Minister laments human cost of sanctions

Burundi's gross domestic product has fallen by seven percent as a result of regional economic sanctions, PANA reported Finance Minister Astere Yirukurigoma as saying. "We lost about 50 percent of export earnings in 1996 and import costs increased by over 25 percent," the minister said on Friday. The price of fuel has risen by 300 percent. He added the figures failed to adequately describe the human impact of the embargo, which has affected access to healthcare and schooling.

Nairobi, 7 August 1998


[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-weekly]

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DRC: Rebels consolidate gains in west as expatriates evacuate

NAIROBI, 7 August 1998 (IRIN) - The western towns of Muanda and the Banana naval base are firmly under rebel control, sources in the area confirmed to IRIN today. The soldiers are said to include Rwandans and the situation is now calm.

The military forces in control were described as friendly. Currently no boats or helicopters are being allowed into Banana. Two oil workers who failed to report for evacuation to Soyo in Angola on time have been told by the military to stay put. IRIN's sources said the two are not being held captive. The border with the Angolan enclave of Cabinda is closed.

Burundian Defence Minister Alfred Nkurunziza today denied reports circulating in Bujumbura that Burundian troops had crossed into Uvira, which was under rebel control by yesterday. Thirty-nine expatriate aid workers were today evacuated from the town, which lies on the border with Bujumbura, humanitarian sources in DRC told IRIN.

Former DRC foreign minister Bizima Karaha, who was yesterday named deputy leader of the rebellion, declared President Laurent-Desire Kabila was a "spent force". In an exclusive interview for the opposition newspaper 'Le Soft International', he said the first rebellion in 1996 had brought to power a "man worse than Mobutu". "We ask the people to forgive us," he said. The current rebellion had nothing to do with the Banyamulenge and even less with the Rwandans, he said. "It is a decision taken by the entire Congolese people." Karaha accused Kabila of surrounding himself with members of his Balubakat clan, from Katanga province. Kabila "couldn't manage a shop, let alone a country," he added.

Also in 'Le Soft', DRC army general Eluki Monga Aundu appealed for a general mobilisation, warning the country was "occupied" and "in danger". Kabila, in his first comments since the start of the rebellion, yesterday again accused Rwanda of "aggression", saying Kigali thought of DRC as a "colony". "They committed crimes when they were our allies," he added and described Rwanda as a "toad that wants to swallow an elephant". He also said Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni was the ally of Rwandan Vice-President Paul Kagame "in this aggression".

Kabila is due to meet South African Foreign and Defence Ministers Alfred Nzo and Joe Modise in Lubumbashi today, press reports said. According to AFP, only local Lubumbashi media have been authorised to cover the meeting. A summit meeting, bringing together the leaders of DRC, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Namibia and Tanzania is to be held in Victoria Falls over the weekend.

The main opposition party in DRC, Union pour la democratie et le progres social (UDPS), issued a statement saying it was not too late to find a political solution to the crisis "before resorting to more radical military options".

Residents of Kinshasa described the situation there as "more and more tense". The OAU is to send a mission to the city in a bid to resolve the crisis. Meanwhile, the USA, Britain, Japan and other embassies have told non-essential staff to leave. The UN evacuated 77 non-essential staff from Kinshasa yesterday, a UN spokesman said. About 20 essential staff remain in the city.

Nairobi, 7 August 1998, 15:20 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-weekly]

Date: Fri, 7 Aug 1998 13:04:05 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Weekly Round-up 32-98 31 July-6 Aug 1998.8.7 Message-ID: <>

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

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