Angola + 3 more

Southern Africa: IRIN News Briefs, 30 March

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ANGOLA: Bishops appeal to UN
Angola's Roman Catholic bishops have made an impassioned appeal to the United Nations to promote peace talks between the government of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and Jonas Savimbi's UNITA rebels. They asked the UN to "review its policy in Angola and try to play a more efficient role".

"The truth here is that we are talking of 25 long years of war, of brothers spilling their brothers' blood, of 25 years of history seeped in blood, of one of the longest lasting genocides in contemporary Africa," the bishops said. "There is no city where people can feel safe and secure."

Citing human rights abuses by both sides in the civil war, the bishops urged the UN to step up its human rights monitoring in Angola, and said it had to push both sides towards dialogue aimed at ending the war: "Closing the doors to dialogue would be opening them to a war with no end in sight."

NAMIBIA: Security threat increases

Namibian Home Affairs Minister Jerry Ekandjo, on Wednesday warned that the country faces its most serious security problems since independence due to the Angolan rebel movement UNITA's banditry along the northeastern border,
'The Namibian' reported on Thursday.

Addressing law enforcement officials in the capital, Windhoek, Ekandjo said the meeting was taking place "at a time when Namibia's security needs are at their highest since independence".

"The banditry and terrorist activities being committed by UNITA in the Kavango and Caprivi regions require vigilance and all-time preparedness on the part of our security forces, while the incidence of crime must also be combated in the rest of the country," Ekandjo told the law enforcement agents, who included police, prisons and traffic officials.

Namibia last December allowed the armed forces of war-torn Angola to use its territory to pursue UNITA rebels into their strongholds in the southern parts of Angola.

ZIMBABWE-SWAZILAND: TB cases increase

More than 50,000 new cases of tuberculosis were reported in Zimbabwe in 1999, while Swaziland attended to over 40,000 new cases during the same period, media reports said on Thursday.

The reports said in both countries the majority of the TB cases are also infected by the HIV/AIDS disease. In Zimbabwe, between 50 and 75 percent of these cases were linked to HIV/AIDS, while in Swaziland a 1998 study indicated that 58 percent of the TB patients were also infected by HIV, added the reports.

Both countries, however, have set up centres to provide free TB treatment as well as to closely monitor the disease. Zimbabwe, said the reports, has been experiencing an upsurge in TB cases since 1987 when the first HIV/AIDS cases
were reported in the country.

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