Angola + 3 more

Southern Africa: IRIN News Briefs, 26 January

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NAMIBIA: Rights group blames UNITA for murders
The Namibian Society for Human Rights (NSHR) on Wednesday blamed a group of Angolan UNITA insurgents for the murder of two people in what it called a "brutal" attack on remote Namibian village along the Angolan border on Friday night, some 170 km east of the Kavango regional capital, Rundu.

"The NSHR strongly condemns the wanton killing of two Namibians and the serious wounding of another person at the hands of a large group of UNITA rebels," the society said in a statement. It quoted eyewitnesses and NSHR monitors who visited the village as saying the rebel group of about 40 armed men, were well known in the area. They returned the next morning, ransacked the village, and left a landmine to prevent pursuit. NSHR said the area had not been patrolled by by either Namibian security forces or their Angolan allies.

"As a responsible and impartial human rights organization, we do not tolerate any wanton killings of civilians by any armed formations operating along our northeastern border. UNITA is, definitely, not an exception," said NSHR director Phil ya Nangoloh. "We reiterate our call that all the warring parties, the Governments of Namibia and Angola as well as the UNITA movement should prevent all atrocities perpetrated by their forces along the border areas."

ZIMBABWE: Zimbabweans may face power rationing

Zimbabweans face possible electricity rationing because the country's power imports are being threatened by serious foreign currency problems, the country's electricity supplier, media reports said on Wednesday.

According to the reports, the state owned Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) said it was struggling to pay its import bills because of hard currency shortages and its own serious cash-flow problems. ZESA imports about 55 percent of its power needs from Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. If imports were cut, ZESA said it could be forced to ration power to residential areas and other "non-essential" institutions.

ZIMBABWE: Fuel crisis worries tobacco sector

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's tobacco sector warned on Wednesday that a similar acute fuel shortage was hindering the harvesting of the 1999/2000 crop. Tobacco accounts for an estimated 30 percent of Zimbabwe's foreign exchange. Zimbabwe Tobacco Association Marketing Director Pat Davis was quoted as saying the harvesting was only half complete and that the producers still needed adequate supplies until March to "get the rest of the crop off the

ground."

MALAWI: No date yet on talks with lending agencies

Malawi's treasury secretary, Respiscious Dzanjalimodzi, has said that no date has been set for a resumption of talks with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the South African Broadcasting Corporation reported on Wednesday.

Donors are demanding the privatisation of loss-making parastatals in Malawi, including the Agriculture Development and Marketing Corporation. But it said the government has been reluctant because the Corporation has ultimate control over the price of the national staple, maize.

[ENDS]

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