Burundi + 2 more

IRIN Update 811 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
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DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Rehabilitation for Wamba controlled areas

The rebel Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie - Mouvement de liberation (RCD-ML) of Ernest Wamba dia Wamba has secured a US $16 million aid package to rehabilitate health clinics and road infrastructure in northeastern parts of DRC under its control, according to a press statement by its foreign affairs delegate Claver Lumana Pashi. The statement, received by IRIN on Monday, said that under the "Agreement for Humanitarian and Economic Development Aid for the Congo", the First International Bank of Grenada (an offshore bank based on the West Indies island) will make the money available over five years, for humanitarian use and "not for any military purposes". The aid agreement's schedule for the first year allows for rehabilitation of health clinics - including medical supplies, equipment and salary allowances - at Bafwesende, Kisangani, Beni, Butembo, Isiro, Mahagi, Aru, Buta, Watsa, Banalia, Mambasa, Irumu, Niania, Djugu and Bunia. It also includes the construction of dirt roads between Bunia and Mahagi, Bunia and Kisangani, Bunia and Lake Albert, Beni and Kasindi, and in the area from Butembo-Beni to Busia, according to the press statement.

DRC: Zimbabwe warns rebels

The Zimbabwean army on Friday warned that it would break through to its forces at Ikela, northwestern DRC, if they became threatened by a Congolese rebel attempt to cut off supplies to a joint Zimbabwean-Namibian contingent at Ikela airport. "Our troops are able to hold their ground; they are being resupplied by air. But if the rebels refuse to let us resupply by river then we will force our way through," Associated Press quoted Colonel Chancellor Diye as saying. Zimbabwe also said the rebels had broken the Lusaka ceasefire by cutting off its main supply route at Bakungo and firing on aircraft landing at Ikela. It said it had filed a formal complaint to the Joint Military Commission (JMC) tasked with implementing the ceasefire agreement, AP reported.

DRC: Sweden funds JMC

Sweden on Friday announced a contribution of 800,000 kroners (about US $100,000) to the JMC. In a statement, the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the funds would be channelled through the OAU. "They constitute an expression of Sweden's desire to strengthen the OAU's conflict management capacity," the statement said.

DRC: EU support to peacekeeping "in due time"

Meanwhile, the European Union on Friday said it was ready to support, "in due time", a UN peacekeeping force in the DRC to assist in the implementation of the Lusaka accord. In a statement, the EU and its member states reaffirmed their commitment to the Lusaka accord, which they said "offers the only realistic prospect of lasting peace and security in the Great Lakes region." The EU would provide its "full political, diplomatic and resource support", provided the parties "show the necessary political will and implement the agreement", it said. The statement also stressed the importance of disarming, demobilising and reintegrating DRC-based militia groups and of bringing to justice those ex-FAR and Interahamwe accused of genocide. The EU earlier this month pledged 1.2 million Euros (about US $1.2 million) towards the JMC.

DRC: RCD's Nyarugabo meets Uvira traditional chiefs

The RCD-Goma second vice-president, Moise Nyarugabo, met traditional chiefs in Uvira on Friday to try and work out ways of "peaceful co-habitation" in the area, rebel-controlled Uvira radio reported. It described the meetings as successful, adding that one of the issues agreed upon was for the radio itself to "avoid the campaign for negative forces and Kinshasa forces". "RTNC [radio television nationale congolaise]-Uvira should have the courage to deny confusing information, it should be objective," the radio said. It also said Nyarugabo condemned a recent meeting in Kigoma, Tanzania, "between delegates of the Kinshasa government and some negative forces...a meeting during which strategies were adopted by the enemy with a view to using Uvira as the rear base of aggressive neighbouring countries".

DRC: People's Defence Forces "not private militia"

Secretary-General of the People's Power Committees, Raphael Ghenda, has begun recruiting for the government's People's Defences Forces in Kinshasa, where it hopes for 20,000 volunteers for paramilitary training, Congolese television reported on Friday. Army, air force and interior ministry officials were touring Kinshasa to check the number of recruits in the capital and to reinforce that the People's Defence Forces were an important element "in assisting the Forces armees congolaises (FAC) and their allies in kicking the aggressors out of our territory", the television reported. "The People's Defence Force is not a private militia, it is rather an extension of the FAC and the national police ... a huge rearguard and back-up structure to protect the interests of the Congolese people on the streets and villages in times of war and peace," it added.

DRC: Cholera outbreak over

Almost 500 cholera cases were reported in Kisangani between September and the beginning of November, and over 20 deaths were attributed to the disease, humanitarian sources told IRIN over the weekend. They said the cholera outbreak had now been brought to an end as a result of emergency interventions by humanitarian agencies and local health authorities. Meanwhile, residents of Kisangani told IRIN that the city's running water supply was functioning only six hours a day due to a shortage of water-treatment chemicals.

DRC: Cooperation between Kisangani and Butare

The Kisangani area and the Rwandan prefecture of Butare have agreed to cooperate at commune level, mainly the fields of education, agriculture and economy, the Rwanda News Agency reported on Saturday. Cooperation will include crops from Butare in exchange for Kisangani palm oil. Kisangani businessmen dealing in precious stones will also be encouraged to invest in Butare and there will be greater exchanges between universities in Kisangani and Butare towns.

Meanwhile, some 500 Kisangani residents, including local political and administrative leaders, returned to the city on 20-21 November after completing a one-month "ideological training" session at a centre near the Rwandan capital Kigali, sources in contact with Kisangani told IRIN on Monday.

RWANDA: DRC food imports boost local supply

Market prices have remained relatively stable in areas affected by poor rainfall distribution, with the exception of Umutara where prices have risen sharply in the last two weeks, the latest monthly bulletin from USAID's Famine Early Warning System (FEWS) stated. It said recent assessments had found that imports of staple food from the DRC were helping to maintain market supplies in Rwanda. Overall, dry conditions in October had harmed prospects for the 2000 season A bean and maize crop in one-half of Rwanda, the report said. "Total crop loss is expected in some locations, and yields will be very low throughout the affected region," it said. An inter-agency assessment team in early November recommended that WFP double its food distributions in drought-affected areas - from 3,000 mt per month to 7,000 mt.

RWANDA: More ex-FAR reintegrated into army

About 1,500 ex-FAR soldiers and other former "infiltrators" on Saturday completed a two-month camp-based "sensitisation" programme, marking their reintegration into the army or civilian life, the Rwanda News Agency (RNA) reported. It quoted well-informed sources as saying some of the reintegrated ex-FAR soldiers had already joined the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) and were fighting against the Kabila government in the DRC. According to a recent government policy paper, about 10,000 ex-FAR were absorbed into the army last year.

RWANDA: Appeals chamber freezes Barayagwiza decision

The appeals chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Thursday ordered a freeze on its decision to free genocide suspect Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza. ICTR spokesman Kingsley Moghalu said the chamber called for a stay of seven days, pending the filing of the Prosecutor's request for a review of the decision. The chamber also ruled that all other motions filed in relation to the decision would be dealt with after the seven day period.

Barayagwiza's lawyer described the order as "a nullity", the Hirondelle news agency reported. He said he would challenge the ruling.

RWANDA: Del Ponte reassures Kigali

The ICTR Prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, on Sunday assured the Rwandan government that she is "actively seeking" a review of the 3 November decision ordering the release of Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza. In a statement, reported by Hirondelle news agency, she said she recognised the frustration and anger of the Rwandan government and victims of genocide following the decision. She expressed eagerness to visit her office in Kigali, saying that without doing so she could not fulfill the mandate she had been given by the Security Council. The Rwandan government has so far refused to grant her a visa.

RWANDA: New judicial defenders boost justice system

Seventeen new judicial defenders were sworn in at the Kigali Court of First Instance on Friday, thereby becoming entitled to advise clients and plead before all first-instance courts in Rwanda, according to a press release from the Danish Centre for Human Rights. Fourteen of the group were the first batch of a group of 87 due to graduate within a matter of weeks from a six-month legal training programme by the Rwandan Ministry of Justice and Danish Centre for Human Rights, supported by several foreign donors. The graduations represent "a significant increase in Rwanda=C6s capacity to provide much-needed legal advice and representation, especially in the context of the genocide trials," the statement said. The judicial defender candidates - based in Cyangugu, Gikongoro, Gisenyi, Ruhengeri and Kigali - have reached over 60,000 people since April with an intensive information campaign that will form the basis for their future work of representing civil claimants and suspects, the statement added.

BURUNDI: 18 killed in Kayanza

Eighteen people have been massacred at a displaced people's camp in the northern province of Kayanza, according to Burundi radio. It said "genocidal terrorists" entered the Nyarusenda camp on Friday night and "chose their victims carefully". A further 16 people were wounded.

BURUNDI: Regional leaders gather in Arusha

Regional heads of state are gathering in Arusha, Tanzania, ahead of the 1 December summit aimed at choosing a new mediator for the Burundi peace process. Sources close to the peace talks told IRIN the summit will also discuss the current state of play regarding negotiations. From 2-5 December, a meeting is scheduled between the new mediator and heads of delegations, and from 6-15 December the four negotiating commissions are due to meet the new mediator.

Nairobi, 29 November 1999, 14:00 gmt


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