Burundi + 4 more

IRIN Update 821 for the Great Lakes

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UNITED NATIONS
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Integrated Regional Information Network
for Central and Eastern Africa
Tel: +254 2 622147
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e-mail: irin@ocha.unon.org

UGANDA: Security strengthened in west

The Ugandan army has tightened security in the west after an upsurge in attacks by the rebel Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). According to the semi-official 'New Vision' on Monday, a more troops were flown to Bundibugyo from Gulu in the north. On Sunday, a helicopter gunship pounded ADF positions in the Semliki national park, west of Bundibugyo. People in the area have been warned to be on the lookout for rebels trying to flee the army and hiding in the villages.

UGANDA: More ADF attacks

Following Thursday's attack on Katojo jail in Fort Portal, in which the rebels freed over 360 prisoners, more attacks were launched on army positions over the weekend. On Friday, the ADF attacked five army barracks at Butama, Ngite, Kabango, Ndugutu and Kanyamirima in Bundibuygo district, killing four soldiers and injuring a number of others, Ugandan radio
reported, citing Minister of State for Defence Stephen Kavuma. Six rebels were also killed. Kavuma stressed the army was pursuing the rebels who had retreated to neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The 'New Vision' said heavy gunfire rocked the Bunyangabu and Kibota subcounties of Kabarole district at midday on Friday, as the army and rebels exchanged fire for nearly two hours. More fighting was reported in Bundibugyo town on Saturday when a group of about 50 ADF rebels engaged the army in a two-hour gun battle. Ugandan Chief of Staff Brigadier James Kazini was in the town at the time of the attack. The newspaper said the rebels were repulsed, and Kazini told residents the insurgents had attacked Bundibugyo to try and divert the army from its flushing-out operations in the mountains. Sporadic fighting was reported in the Rwenzori mountains where the ADF have their hideouts.

Analysts note that the intensified fighting comes in the wake of last week's peace deal signed in Nairobi by the presidents of Sudan and Uganda. The Ugandan authorities believe Sudan has been supplying and training the ADF rebels, whose core group are Tabliq Muslims. The rebels have also apparently snubbed an amnesty offer last week by President Yoweri
Museveni.

UGANDA: Tabliq leader parades former rebels

Meanwhile, the leader of the Tabliq sect in Uganda has paraded suspected rebels during prayers to mark the month of Ramadan, the 'New Vision' reported. Sheikh Suleiman Kakeeto displayed seven former rebel suspects at the Nakasero Mosque and urged Muslims to desist from engaging in rebel activities. "The people before you...were misled to the bush by people with selfish interests to join rebel activities," he told worshippers. "They need help, they are unemployed..." He told the suspects they were free to interact with the Tabliq community and urged them not to return to the bush.

UGANDA: Holbrooke meets DRC rebel leaders

The US ambassador to the UN, Richard Holbrooke, met leaders of the three DRC rebel groups in Kampala on Friday, the 'New Vision' reported. Holbrooke, who is touring Africa to discuss the DRC conflict with regional leaders, met Jean-Pierre Bemba of the Mouvement de liberation du Congo (MLC), Emile Ilunga of the Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie
(RCD) and Ernest Wamba dia Wamba of the RCD-Mouvement de liberation (RCD-ML). Holbrooke later told reporters there was "no substitute" for face-to-face talks. "We learned a lot," he said. He reiterated that a facilitator should be found as quickly as possible to implement the Lusaka ceasefire accord, signed by all parties to the DRC conflict. The rebel groups have called for the appointment of ex-Botswanan president Ketumile Masire as facilitator.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: OAU to discuss facilitator

From Kampala, Holbrooke went to Kinshasa where he held talks with President Laurent-Desire Kabila. DRC state television broadcast comments by Holbrooke who said OAU Secretary-General Salim Ahmed Salim would convene a meeting on Tuesday to examine the issue of the facilitator. Holbrooke also said Kabila had stated "clearly and frankly" his commitment
to the Lusaka accord. "The US and the government of DRC have agreed on the importance of the Lusaka accord," he added.

DRC: No peace without enemy pullout, minister says

Speaking ahead of Holbrooke's arrival, DRC Foreign Minister Yerodia Abdoulaye Ndombasi said his country was in favour of the Lusaka accord, but demanded the prior withdrawal of "occupation troops". "Nothing, absolutely nothing can be accomplished in terms of peace and in accordance with the Lusaka accord if the main contradiction is not resolved - that is
to say if the Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi occupation troops of aggression do not immediately and unconditionally withdraw from our country," Ndombasi said in a speech broadcast by state television on Friday.

DRC: MLC-controlled town falls

Rebel MLC leader Jean-Pierre Bemba on Monday said his group had lost the northwestern town of Nkonya to government troops, the Associated Press reported. Fighting for the town on Sunday left 119 government soldiers and two rebels dead, he said. He also announced his movement would join ranks with the other two DRC rebel groups in a bid to improve military
cooperation against Kabila.

DRC: Kabila meets Sassou Nguesso

President Kabila on Friday met his counterpart from Congo-Brazzaville, Denis Sassou Ngeusso to discuss ways of enhancing cooperation between the two countries, DRC state television reported. A final communique stressed that the two sides agreed to guarantee security for the free movement of people and goods, and reiterated their commitment to joint surveillance on the common border. They also agreed not to allow their respective territories to be used as rear bases for "subversive forces".

BURUNDI: Arusha to remain peace talks venue

The mediator in the Burundi conflict, Nelson Mandela, has urged the international community to support efforts to find peace in that country, Tanzanian radio reported on Saturday. A statement released by the office of the mediator also said the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha would remain the venue of the peace talks and all concerned parties would be involved. Justice Mark Bomani of the Nyerere Foundation would continue to be the representative of the mediator and leader of the mediation team, while Judge Joseph Warioba would remain as senior adviser and Brigadier Hashim Mbita as spokesman.

RWANDA: Former minister on trial for genocide

A former minister has made an initial court appearance in Kigali on genocide charges, Rwandan radio reported. Agnes Ntamabyaliro, from the western Kibuye prefecture, was justice minister in the interim government of Jean Kambanda in 1994. Ntamabyaliro, a member of the 'Power' faction of the Parti liberal, is accused of inciting the killing of Tutsis and moderate Hutus who were seeking refuge at Gwataho stadium in Kibuye. She was arrested in 1997 during the mass repatriation of refugees from DRC, the radio said. Ntamabyaliro has pleaded not guilty to the charges against her.

Nairobi, 13 December 1999, 11:45 gmt

[ENDS]

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