IRIN-CEA Weekly Round-up 39 covering the period 23 - 29 Sep 2000

from IRIN
Published on 29 Sep 2000
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BURUNDI: Agenda agreed at follow-up meeting

The 19 signatories to the 28 August Arusha accord, who began their meeting in Arusha last Monday, have agreed on an agenda for their talks, the independent Hirondelle news agency reported. A senior official of the facilitation team, Judge Mark Bomani, announced that they had adopted a five-point agenda, including nomination of the members of the peace accord's Implementation Monitoring Committee (IMC), leadership of the transition, reaffirmation of the parties' commitment to the accord, modifying the timetable and correcting technical errors or contradictions in the text of the peace agreement. The agenda did not include issues such as inviting the belligerents to negotiate a ceasefire, an inventory of the state's acquIsitions, an appeal for international assistance and the venue for future meetings.

BURUNDI: Attacks and killings continue

Eleven people were killed last week during an attack in Matakura, northern Bujumbura, news organisations reported at the weekend. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) said the attackers, believed to be rebel fighters, carried automatic weapons and grenades and sang religious songs during the attack.

In Rutana Province in the east of the country, rebels fighting government forces burned down a health centre at Gasakuza, according to Burundi radio, which described the security situation in the province as "deplorable".

Private Umwizero radio reported that nine soldiers had been wounded in fighting between the army and rebels in Itenga, Bujumbura Rural Province. The BBC Kirundi service said Colonel Audace Basuzuguye, the commander of Muha barracks in Bujumbura, was killed during the fighting.

DRC: Little progress in DRC peace process - Annan

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan noted at the end of last week in his latest report to the Security Councilriday that there had been "little progress, if any, in the implementation of the Lusaka ceasefire agreement, which has been consistently violated in the intensified fighting between the government, the rebels and the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF)in northern Equateur Province". The hostilities, according Annan, have not only imperilled the peace process, but have also spilled over into the Republic of Congo (ROC) and the Central African Republic (CAR). He, however, recommended an eight-week extension of the UN operation in DRC (MONUC).

On the humanitarian situation, Annan said the number of people in critical need of food was estimated at 16 million or 33 percent of the population, most particularly among displaced communities in northern Katanga (Pweto) and southern Equateur (Bokungu-Ikela).

Annan's report also expressed grave concern over the state of human rights in the country, noting that the situation in the rebel-controlled east had deteriorated significantly. Much of the violence in that area was being perpetrated along ethnic lines, the report said, with "a high incidence of murder of women and children of Rwandan origin".

DRC: Kabila in Angola

President Laurent-Desire Kabila paid a brief visit to Angola last Monday, where he held talks in Luanda with his Angolan counterpart, Jose Eduardo dos Santos. Angolan state television said they held closed-door consultations on the "worrying" situation the DRC, and on bilateral relations. No statement was issued at the end of the meeting.

DRC: Mayi-Mayi claim victories over RCD-Goma

Militias allied to the DRC government forces last Wednesday claimed to have recaptured Matere, near Shabunda in the east of the country, from Rwandan-backed rebels. A report on DRC state television quoted General Padiri Kalendu, the leader of the pro-government Mayi-Mayi militias, as saying his fighters had also taken Ngongomeka in Maniema Province, also in the east.

The governing Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD-Goma) described the claims as "wishful thinking". RCD-Goma head of security Bizima Karaha told IRIN: "Kinshasa is just fabricating claims of victories for propaganda purposes."

RWANDA: US gives $4.5 million to support democracy

The US government has disbursed US $4.5 million to the Rwandan government to support democracy, justice and good governance programmes in the country, the Rwanda News Agency (RNA) quoted a ministry of finance communiqué as saying. The money will be processed through the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The communiqué said a total of $4 million has been made available through the US government's Great Lakes Justice Initiative (GLJI). GLJI is a special programme launched by President Bill Clinton in 1998 to strengthen justice systems in countries of the Great Lakes region. RNA noted that with this increment the US government will have made available US $14 million to Rwanda under the GLJI.

RWANDA: ICTR opens information centre in Kigali

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has opened an information centre in Kigali, according to an ICTR press release. Launching the centre, the ICTR Registrar, Agwu Ogali, said the ICTR's aim was to try genocide suspects and ensure that these trials made justice a reality in Rwanda. "The launching of this centre is an important dimension in the relationship between the International Tribunal and the people of Rwanda," Okali noted.

The ICTR has also launched a new initiative to support survivors of the 1994 genocide. It will provide the survivors with legal guidance, psychological counselling, integration assistance and physical rehabilitation services. A statement from the ICTR says the programme will be implemented by five Rwandan non-governmental organisations.

TANZANIA: Rights body documents abuse against Burundi women refugees

The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) organisation has reported that Burundian women in refugee camps in Tanzania are confronted by "daily violence". In its latest report, the body said that widespread sexual and domestic abuse had left many of these women physically battered, psychologically traumatised, and in fear of their lives. It said that although UNHCR had taken "significant steps" to address the violence, the measures were "insufficient".

Reacting to the report, an official of the Tanzanian department for refugees was quoted by the BBC as describing HRW's allegations as "a grave exaggeration", adding that in most cases the refugees were living peacefully in the camps.

UGANDA: "Understanding" with Angola, Rwanda over DRC

An Angolan military delegation led by Chief-of-Staff General Joao Baptista de Matos has visited Uganda and held talks with President Yoweri Museveni and senior military officers. A Ugandan source told IRIN that the talks were a confidence-building measure between countries fighting on opposite sides in the DRC war. "We assured the Angolan delegation led by the army chief-of-staf that we are not working with their enemies," a senior Ugandan official close to the negotiations said. He said there were plans to develop an understanding between the three countries "with clear security interests in the DRC" - Angola, Rwanda and Uganda. "This three-nation concept will go a long way towards implementation of the Lusaka agreement," he said.

Meanwhile, the leader of the Ugandan-backed Mouvement de liberation du Congo (MLC), Jean-Pierre Bemba, has had a meeting with a delegation of senior Angolan officials led by the foreign minister in the French capital, Paris. "The [MLC] president visited Europe last week and he will make public the outcome of his visit next week," the MLC secretary-general, Olivier Kamitatu, told IRIN.


Nairobi, 29 September 2000

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