Burundi + 4 more

IRIN Update 805 for the Great Lakes

News and Press Release
Originally published
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

RWANDA: ICTR investigating genocide suspect in London

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) is working on the case of a genocide suspect currently living in London, tribunal spokesman Kingsley Moghalu told IRIN on Friday. The case of Colonel Tharcisse Muvunyi, who was the army commander in Butare and Gikongoro prefectures where tens of thousands of people were killed in the 1994 genocide, was highlighted by the British daily 'The Times' earlier this week. "We are aware of the case and we are working on it," Moghalu said. On Wednesday, Anastase Murunva, the secretary-general of the Rwanda genocide survivors' organisation Ibuka, added his voice to that of the Rwandan government requesting that Muvunyi stand trial. "Muvunyi should be judged and punished in an exemplary manner," Murunva said in an interview with the BBC Kinyarwanda service. He added that Rwanda had handed "irrefutable proof" to the relevant authorities, including Britain. "I don't think there was a shortage of proof. I believe the British justice has taken too long to act," he said.

Britain, which has no extradition treaty with Rwanda, said the ICTR should take the lead in investigations to determine Muvunyi's case. "We have worked in support of the ICTR," a Foreign Office spokesman told IRIN. "If the ICTR fails to come up with a conclusive decision on the case, then Britain would look into the legal possibility of getting involved," he said. "But as it stands, Britain has no extra territorial agreement or obligations with Rwanda on the extradition of genocide suspects."

RWANDA: Prosecutor to travel to Africa next week

The chief prosecutor of the UN tribunal, Carla del Ponte, will travel to Africa next week, contrary to press reports that she is due in Rwanda this weekend, an official at the prosecutor's office in The Hague told IRIN on Friday. Rwandan officials have indicated they will not meet her if she goes to Kigali following the ICTR's decision to free genocide suspect, Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, for procedural reasons.

RWANDA: Barayagwiza asks to go to Cameroon

Meanwhile, Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza has withdrawn a previous request to have his release postponed, an ICTR statement said. Barayagwiza said in his new request that he now wishes to be returned "without any further delay" to Cameroon, where he was originally arrested. Rwanda has filed an international warrant seeking his re-arrest.

RWANDA: UN details drought programme

UN agencies in Rwanda have detailed a six-month US $12.9 million programme to provide food aid and agricultural inputs to drought-affected communities. An OCHA drought situation report issued on Thursday said some 18,000 mt of WFP emergency food aid was required for distribution in Umutara, Kibungo, Gikongoro, Butare and Kigali-Rural, while FAO would provide seeds, tools and animals in affected areas. Earlier this month, the government said some 178,000 households were drought-affected. The UN assistance programme is based on the preliminary findings of a 2-5 November assessment mission. "The UN system is concerned with the drought situation in Rwanda, particularly in the most affected areas which host large numbers of returnees and lack basic socio-economic infrastructure," the OCHA report stated.

BURUNDI: MSF suspends activities in Bujumbura Rural camps

Medecins sans frontieres (MSF) has suspended its activities in the regroupment camps of Bujumbura Rural province, saying its intervention is having little impact on improving camp conditions. In a press release issued on Friday, MSF said it had been assisting 54,000 people in three camps - Ruyaga, Buhonga and Ruziba. "After two months of relief activities, MSF has found that conditions in these three camps are still falling short of the vital minimum," the statement said. "Within this context, MSF's intervention can have little impact on the improvement of the condition of the regrouped people." It added that the conditions of regroupment itself "deprive the population of its most basic human rights, and are therefore in direct contravention of the principles of the MSF charter". However, MSF would maintain other programmes in Burundi and remained "prepared to intervene" in the camps.

BURUNDI: Regional summit slated for December

A regional summit aimed at choosing the new mediator for the peace process will be held in Arusha, Tanzania, on 1 December, according to the Ugandan foreign ministry. The Internews agency quoted a foreign ministry official as saying the date was set by President Yoweri Museveni, coordinator of the regional initiative, after consultations with other leaders. Nyerere Foundation spokesman General Hashim Mbita told Internews he had no information on the summit date.

UGANDA: Thousands displaced in Kibale

About 10,000 people have been displaced and some 20 others killed in the past three months in Kibale district in western Uganda, according to an OCHA report from Kampala. It said security personnel at the Kyangwali refugee camp in Hoima district had reportedly advised the refugees to stay alert as rebels may infiltrate the area from neighbouring districts.

UGANDA: Rebels continue attacks in the Rwenzori region

Meanwhile, eight civilians were killed by rebels at a displaced people's camp in Masaka, forcing residents to flee to Nyahuka in Bundibugyo district, the OCHA report said. Rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) have increased their attacks in response to recent Ugandan army successes in locating rebel camps in the mountains. The report said scattered ADF attacks were continuing in Kisomoro sub-country of Kabarole district, as well as Kasese. It noted that the displaced population in Bundibugyo remained relatively constant. Displaced people were moving frequently to alternate sites in response to new security incidents or in order to increase access to cultivable land.

UGANDA: Humanitarian agencies active in Rwenzori region

Humanitarian agencies are carrying out various relief activities in the Rwenzori region to provide health and water services, food, seeds, non-food items and construction of shelter. SCF-UK and UNICEF will undertake some emergency training of district and local officials in disaster management and psycho-social care for children, particularly those abducted in Kasese and Bundibugyo districts.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Annan appoints Special Representative

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has appointed Kamel Morjane of Tunisia as his Special Representative for the DRC. Morjane, 51, who has most recently served as Tunisia's ambassador to the UN in Geneva, has extensive prior experience throughout Africa with the UNHCR, a UN press release stated on Thursday.

The appointment of a special representative was seen by UN officials as an opportunity to give new momentum and "political drive" to the Lusaka peace process by initiating "frank and uninhibited dialogue" with the authorities in Kinshasa, diplomats told IRIN. This included dispelling the mistrust and stalling that has so far beset MONUC, the UN Observer Mission to the Congo. It was also depicted as "a signal from the UN of its willingness to act out its role" under the Lusaka agreement and an opportunity to promote consensus on a humanitarian agenda linked to the Lusaka process.

DRC: Rwanda denies Lusaka accord has collapsed

Rwandan Presidential Affairs Minister Patrick Mazimhaka, visiting Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe with a message on the ceasefire, said on Thursday that "the Lusaka peace accord has not collapsed but is being seriously violated". Mazimhaka said Kigali was concerned about widespread movements of the Interahamwe militia and their renewed attacks on Rwanda, Zimbabwe radio reported.

DRC: Zimbabwe claims new role in keeping peace on track

Mazimhaka's visit represents one strand of a new round of regional shuttle diplomacy being coordinated by Mugabe in order to put the peace process back on track, according to Zimbabwean government officials cited by the PanAfrican News Agency (PANA) on Thursday. In addition to Mazimhaka, Mugabe has met DRC Justice Minister Mwenze Kongolo and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in recent days. "The president is coordinating efforts to end the war. We should be seeing some positive movement in that direction soon," PANA quoted a Zimbabwean diplomat as saying.

DRC: Harare preparing contingency plan for new northern offensive

However, contingency planning is also underway in Zimbabwe to open a northern front in the DRC in the event of the Lusaka ceasefire agreement collapsing, security sources in Harare told IRIN on Thursday. "We are preparing for full peace, but we are also cognisant of the fact that it might break down and options need to be given," a Zimbabwean government official said. The plan involves outflanking the Uganda-backed Mouvement de Liberation du Congo (MLC) rebels and establishing a frontline that would be held with the assistance of DRC troops. [see full report at http://www.reliefweb.int/IRIN/sa/countrystories/zimbabwe/19991118.htm]

DRC: US says it will not tolerate backtracking on Lusaka commitments

Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Susan Rice on Thursday said the Lusaka peace process was the only way to end the DRC conflict and the US administration would not tolerate any violation of it. "The Lusaka agreement is the only viable way to stop the violence ... This agreement is very important and needs to be respected. We shall not tolerate abrogation of this agreement," Reuters news agency quoted her as saying during a satellite link-up with participants in DRC, Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

"No excuse" for violation of accord, Rice warns

The rearming and movement of troops, and the aerial bombardment of towns, posed "a serious threat" to the Lusaka process, Rice said. "There is no excuse for any parties to violate this agreement as the accord has all the elements to achieve a sustainable peace," she added. She did not elaborate on how the US would react towards any side abandoning the ceasefire and returning to all-out war, Reuters reported.

DRC: 25 rebels arrested after Ugandan commander's killing

Spokesman Mbusa Nyamwisa of the rebel Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie - Mouvement de liberation (RCD-ML) said on Wednesday that 25 Congolese rebels, including two at "ministerial" level, had been arrested in connection with the killing in Beni on Sunday of Ugandan Colonel Reuben Ikondere. Nyamwisa said those arrested included the "defence minister" of the RCD-ML for failing to protect Ikondere and the "finance minister" of Jean-Pierre Bemba's Mouvement de liberation du Congo (MLC), as well as other members of both factions, the PanAfrican News Agency reported. Nyamwisa also said Ikondere had been captured alive and later speared and beaten to death by Mayi-Mayi militiamen, contradicting earlier Ugandan army reports that he had been shot dead in his hotel room.

Rwanda says commander's death "a big blow"

The Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA) sent a condolence message signed by Chief of Staff Brigadier Kayumba Nyamwasa which said the killing of Ikondere, "a courageous and committed officer", was a big blow to the peace process in the Great Lakes region, the semi-official 'New Vision' newspaper in Uganda reported on Friday.

DRC: Interahamwe reportedly kill two in ambush

Rwandan Interahamwe militiamen on Wednesday killed two people and injured two more in an ambush on a vehicle travelling from a market in Rusizi, near the Burundi border, rebel-controlled radio in Uvira reported on Thursday. The injured, a civilian and a soldier, were being treated at Uvira hospital, the report added.

Nairobi, 19 November 1999, 14:30 gmt


[ Feedback: irin@ocha.unon.org UN IRIN-CEA Tel: +254 2 622123 Fax: +254 2 622129 ]

Item: irin-english-1997

[This item is delivered in the "irin-english" service of the UN's IRIN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations. For further information, free subscriptions, or to change your keywords, contact e-mail: irin@ocha.unon.org or Web: http://www.reliefweb.int/IRIN . If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer.]

Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 1999