IRIN-West Africa Update 363 for 1998.12.18

IRIN-West Africa Update 363 for 1998.12.18


Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs Integrated Regional Information Network for West Africa

Tel: +225 21 73 54 fax: +225 21 63 35 e-mail:

IRIN-WA Update 363 of Events in West Africa (Friday 18 December)

GUINEA: Conte declared first round winner of presidential poll

President Lansana Conte won a new five-year term in Monday's elections according to official figures released by the interior ministry yesterday (Thursday). The ministry said Conte won 56.12 percent of the vote with Mamadou Ba, leader of the Union pour le progres et le renouveau (UPR), taking 24.63 percent. Alpha Conde, leader of the Rassemblement du peuple de Guinee (RPG) came third with 16.58 percent. The opposition has accused the government of rigging the vote and warned of trouble. Conde has been in custody since being detained on Tuesday near the border with Ivory Coast.

NIGERIA: Britain links further investment to democracy

Britain is withholding further investment in the Nigerian economy until the political transition process is concluded and financial constraints removed, news agencies reported yesterday. British Trade Minister Brian Wilson, the head of a visiting British trade delegation to Nigeria, said prospective investors had been directed to await the conclusions of the current democratisation before taking action, the Nigerian daily paper 'The Guardian' said.

Wilson added that the government's confidence in the Nigerian economy stood firm, particularly as Britain continued to dominate the business scene. 'The Guardian' quoted Wilson as saying: "The visit to Nigeria at this time is in itself a strong indication of the level of confidence we have in the Nigerian economy. But we are still watching the moves of the transition programme in Nigeria."

He added that the eradication of corruption and the scrapping of the dual exchange rate, the servicing of the debt and the government's flexibility in its economic policies would give a "tremendous boost" to Nigerian credibility.

BURKINA FASO: AI seeks full inquiry into journalist's death

Amnesty International has called for an "urgent, full and independent investigation" into the circumstances surrounding the death of Norbert Zongo, a prominent journalist and outspoken critic of the government of Burkina Faso. "The exact circumstances of the violent death of Norbert Zongo and his companions must the clarified, and if it is found that they were deliberately killed, those responsible must be brought to justice," the human rights watchdog said in a statement received by IRIN today (Friday) but dated 16 December.

Minister of Justice Yarba Larga promised, in a statement carried on Burkina radio on Wednesday, that there would be a full judicial investigation into the car accident last Sunday in which Zongo and three others died. The deaths provoked rioting in Ouagadougou, the capital, and in Zongo's home town, Koudougou. At his funeral on Wednesday a large crowd chanted anti-government slogans, saying the accident had been faked.

The full Amnesty International statement is available on the IRIN-West Africa-Extra service.

WEST AFRICA: US temporarily shuts embassies in Africa

The United States has closed 40 of its embassies in Africa for two days as a precaution following military action in Iraq and fears of violent retaliation, news organisations reported today. State Department spokesman James Rubin was quoted by the BBC as saying that: "In view of the number of threats and the heightened threat environment, 40 embassies across Africa were to be closed". Only those in South Africa, Nigeria and Burkina Faso were reported to have stayed open. The embassies were closed on 17 and 18 December. The scope of the closings, even on a temporary basis, is believed to be unprecedented and has raised questions about whether such action is warranted, Reuters said.

After the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed in August, strict security measures were enforced.

UNITED NATIONS: WHO issues tuberculosis guidelines

The World Health Organisation issued guidelines yesterday on how to reduce the risk of transmission of tuberculosis during air travel, the United Nations said in a statement. The guidelines, produced in collaboration with international TB experts, civil aviation authorities and airline companies, recommend tracing and informing passengers and crew members of an infectious person on board a commercial flight of more than eight hours.

An executive summary of the report is available on the IRIN-West Africa-Extra service and the full report on the WHO website at:

SAO TOME E PRINCIPE: Search for new Prime Minister

President Miguel Trovoada of the West African island of Sao Tome e Principe has formally asked the leader of the largest parliamentarian party to name a new prime minister following November's elections, the Portuguese agency Lusa said yesterday. Manuel Pinto da Costa, the leader of the ruling party, the Movimento de Libertacao de Sao Tome e Principe-Partido Social Democrata (MLSTP-PSD), said it had already decided on the Prime Minister, but refused to say who he would be. Political analysts point to banker Agostinho Rita, who served in the past as a finance and planning minister, as the favourite candidate. The MLSTP-PSD clinched a majority of the November vote, breaking the political impasse between a left-leaning coalition government and the President.

Abidjan, 18 December 1998 16:45 GMT


Date: Fri, 18 Dec 1998 17:02:03 +0000 (GMT) From: UN IRIN - West Africa <> Subject: IRIN-West Africa Update 363 for 1998.12.18

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

Previous Menu Home Page What's New Search Country Specific