DRC Monthly Humanitarian Bulletin Mar - Apr 2000

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 17 Apr 2000

Endorsed in the early February 2000, the Security Council Resolution 1291 set out the framework through which the UN contribution to the Lusaka Accords could be bolstered with the following underlying tenets: reaffirmation of DRC's territorial integrity and sovereignty; and recognition that the Lusaka Accords are the most viable tool to take DRC out of war into a sustainable, durable peace and towards the re-establishment of structures of governance. Agreement, support and security guarantees for the implementation of the Security Council resolution were received from all parties to the conflict during the visit of Mr. Bernard Miyet, the UN under-secretary General for Peace Keeping, to the region in March. On 12-14 March, during his official visit clearly aimed at ending the "world's embargo" on the DRC, Mr. Louis Michel, Belgian Foreign Minister brought another support to the Lusaka process and made unambiguous statements in favour of the DRC's territorial integrity.

Despite all the above initiatives and assurances, the number and magnitude of cease-fire violations has increased all along the frontline and within the eastern provinces. The intensity of military operations in the course of March was, according to military analysts, the highest since the signing of the Lusaka agreement and, perhaps since the beginning of the war in 1998. While the Rwanda and Uganda backed rebel forces launched a major offensive in the Kasais and southern Equateur, the DRC army and its allies attempted to recapture areas lost in Katanga, South Kivu and central Equateur. The March military campaign appears to be especially gainful for rebel (both MLC and RCD) forces, which captured significant areas in Western Kasai and Equateur thus virtually isolating Mbuji-Mayi , Kananga, and Mbandaka, the Government's remaining economic backbone.

The escalation of hostilities was the main subject for discussion at the JMC and political meetings held in Kampala from 4th to 7th April. Issued from both the military commission meeting and the following political meeting was a plan for active disengagement as a 'jump-start' to the Lusaka Process. The date set for active-disengagement of all troops involved was April 14th. The visit of Presidents Nujoma, Mugabe and Dos Santos to Kinshasa between the 8th and the 9th April was a clear affirmation of their backing to this initiative. On 14 April, rebel forces stated the cease-fire had already been violated. The same day, the blasting of a stock of ammunitions stored at the Kinshasa international airport caused the death of over 100 and wounded 217 persons.

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