IRIN Update No. 446 for Central and Eastern Africa

Report
from IRIN
Published on 26 Jun 1998
UNITED NATIONS
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Integrated Regional Information Network
for Central and Eastern Africa
Tel: +254 2 622147
Fax: +254 2 622129
e-mail: irin@ocha.unon.org

SUDAN: UN receives clearance for increase in airlift capacity

WFP announced today (Friday) that the Sudanese government had approved a total of 12 cargo aircraft for relief operations. WFP told IRIN that it currently has four C-130 aircraft operating into southern Sudan. A fifth aircraft, delayed due to a worldwide lack of specialised air-drop equipment, is due to start work on Monday, a WFP spokeswoman said. The four Hercules have not performed as well as expected this month. "We never thought we'd have so much downtime with mechanical problems," a spokeswoman said, adding that WFP expected 4,500 mt of a targeted 6,500 mt of food aid for 930,000 people would be delivered by the end of the month.

The new Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) estimates of southern Sudanese in need of food total 1.2 million people between the following areas: Bahr al-Ghazal: 701,000; Western Upper Nile 162,000; Eastern Equatoria 182,000; Jonglei: 181,000. These figures do not include displaced and other vulnerable people in southern government-held areas. In the whole of Sudan, about 2.6 million people are estimated to need food aid assistance.

New nutritional data confirms serious food situation

While major logistical operations continue to contain the southern Sudan food emergency, new figures confirm that hunger is still severe in many parts of the war- and drought-hit region. MSF's latest nutritional surveys in Bahr al-Ghazal (Tonj county) and Western Upper Nile showed overall malnutrition rates of 32.5 percent (using the weight for height method). MSF's latest update says that the situation "is not improving" and that they are registering more children in their feeding centres and planning new centres to cope with the needs.

Splits within pro-government Sudanese groups

Two former rebel soldiers were shot dead in Khartoum on Wednesday, reports the German press agency DPA. Quoting the 'Akhbar al-Yom' newspaper, the report states that pro-government southern factions have been instructed to disarm their members in Khartoum. A captain in the pro-government South Sudan Defence Force (SSDF) ordered his men to shoot two men who resisted disarmament. The report links the incident to a recent attack on the house of the governor of northern Bahr al-Ghazal, Kawac Makuei, another defector from the SPLA.

The All Africa News Agency, in a report on Monday, claimed that the rebel umbrella organization, the National Democratic Alliance was also suffering from strains between its southern and northern partners. The AANA describes the rebel coalition as "fragile at best" and mentions the northeastern conflict zones as being areas of tension between the different rebel groups.

BURUNDI: CNDD-FDD faction says Arusha agreement "totally unrealistic"

The breakaway military faction of the rebel Burundian Conseil national pour la defense de la democratie (CNDD), the so-called CNDD-FDD, has rubbished the agreement reached in Arusha last weekend as "a dream", according to AFP. Jerome Ndiho, spokesman for the CNDD-FDD in Brussels, said that "the two main belligerents, Buyoya's army and the FDD, consider the agreement does not concern them, which means that the Arusha accord is worth nothing." The government delegation at Arusha had excused themselves from a suspension of hostilities as they were not an "armed factions".

CONGO-ANGOLA: Security talks on Congo-Cabinda border

The Governor of Angola's Cabinda enclave, Jose Amaro Tati, recently visited the Kouilou and Niari areas of southern Congo (Brazzaville) to talk with the leaders of the two regions about security measures in common border areas, 'La Semaine Africaine' weekly newspaper reported on 25 June. The "delicate question" of Cabindan refugees in Pointe Noire was also discussed, the newspaper reported. There are some 20,000 refugees from Cabinda presently in Kouilou. A joint communique issued at the end of the visit noted the "excellent relations" that exist between Cabinda and the Congo, according to the newspaper, adding that similar talks are scheduled in July.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: More refugees arrive from Angola

A total of some 17,000 Angolan refugees have now arrived in DRC and a further 3,000 people are believed to be on the way, UN humanitarian sources told IRIN today. They said there were now some 13,000 Angolans around Dilolo in Katanga most of whom had crossed over from Luau, a further 1,300 people in Kulindji and another 2,700 scattered around Kahemba district. "In total, we are looking at around 20,000 refugees as it is sure there are 3,000 more on the road," said one source. The refugees are fleeing an upsurge in fighting between government troops and those of the former UNITA rebel movement.

UGANDA: Rebel group abduct passengers

Fifteen people were abducted in an ambush on a passenger bus by a small rebel group in northern Uganda, the state-owned 'New Vision' reported today. The Uganda National Rescue Front II (UNRF-2) rebels looted and torched the vehicle which was travelling on a road parallel to Uganda's northwest border with Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo on Wednesday.

The paper says the abduction brought to 200 the number of people abducted by rebels in recent months, including children. The UNRF-2 was formed in 1996 after breaking from the West Nile Bank Front and is headed by a former soldier of the deposed dictator Idi Amin. The two most active rebel groups in Uganda are the Lord's Resistance Army in the north and the Allied Democratic Forces in the west.

Non-governmental organisations free to meet rebel groups

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni has ruled out talking to the rebel groups. But lawmakers, church leaders and human rights groups are planning to meet in the northern town of Gulu to discuss how to approach the rebels for talks, AP reported yesterday (Thursday). The president's press secretary Hope Kivengere told IRIN today that non-governmental organisations are free to talk to the rebels.

HUMAN RIGHTS: UN Secretary-General appeals for eradication of torture

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has appealed to governments and civil society to take action to defeat torture and torturers. In his message released today to mark the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, Annan said over 100 states have ratified the Convention against Torture, which came into force 11 years ago. He said that while many national Constitutions, criminal codes, laws and regulations proclaim the prohibition of torture, the practice is still reported. Annan said over a decade after the Convention against Torture came into force, the international community has realized the need to place a further spotlight on this atrocious phenomenon.

Nairobi, Friday 26 June 1998 15:00 GMT

[ENDS]

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