Burundi + 3 more

IRIN Update 829 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
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e-mail: irin@ocha.unon.org

DRC: Security Council expresses "deep concern" at fighting

The UN Security Council, after a second briefing this week on the DRC by Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hedi Annabi, on Thursday said it was "deeply concerned" about the scale of recent fighting. Council President Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock of Britain said members were also concerned about the "continuing disregard of the Lusaka agreement" and called on all parties "to exercise the utmost restraint and to stop immediately any further violations of the ceasefire under Lusaka."

DRC: Peacekeepers depend on confidence in respect for Lusaka

The Council urged the parties to convene an early meeting of both the political committee set up under the Lusaka accord and the Joint Military Commission (JMC), established to implement the ceasefire agreement, and to "facilitate the deployment of local military commissions and UN liaison officers." Security Council members reiterated the willingness of the UN and the international community "to work with the parties to the Lusaka accord in order to implement the agreement and bring peace and stability to the region," Ambassador Greenstock said. However, in order to play its role in a peacekeeping operation, "the UN must be confident that the parties themselves are determined to respect the ceasefire, and to refrain from hostile acts and propaganda," Greenstock added. DRC: UN awaits authorisation for liaison team in Kindu.

The UN Observer Mission to the DRC (MONUC) last week conducted reconnaissance missions to Kindu, Isiro and Gemena to determine the security situation on the ground, UN officials told IRIN on Thursday. MONUC is understood to be still awaiting authorisation from the rebel Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD) for the deployment of military liaison officers (MLOs) in Kindu, South Kivu province, where they were scheduled to deploy by 17 December. It is also proposed to have MLO teams deployed in Gemena (Equateur province) and Isiro (Orientale) - as well as at Lubumbashi in Katanga - by 30 December.

DRC-UGANDA: Kabila and Museveni sign "normalising accord"

Presidents Laurent-Desire Kabila and Yoweri Museveni have signed a "normalising accord" at a mini-summit hosted by Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi in Tripoli, news organisations reported on Thursday. Eritrean and Sudanese Presidents Isayas Afewerki and Omar al-Bashir were also involved in the Tripoli meeting. Libyan television said "the summit was crowned by the signature of the four heads of state of accords allowing the end of differences, the normalisation of relations and the resumption of flights between Sudan, Eritrea and Uganda on the one hand, and between Uganda and the DRC on the other." Kabila and Museveni had agreed to "apply international accords to bring an end to civil war in the DRC," it added.

UGANDA: Six reported killed in ADF raid

The rebel Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) killed six people and injured six others during an attack on a displaced people's camp at Hima in Bundibugyo District, western Uganda, on Tuesday evening, Radio Uganda reported on Thursday. Police in Fort Portal and Kampala confirmed the attack, after which the rebels fled into Semliki National Park with seized food and clothing, it added.

UGANDA: Kazini attributes ADF "rampage" to intense army pressure

Chief of Staff Brigadier James Kazini said on Wednesday the ADF had gone "on the rampage" in the past few weeks not because the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) had been lax but because the rebels were under intense pressure from the army, the semi-official 'New Vision' newspaper reported. Kazini admitted that the rebels had wreaked havoc in areas of Bundibugyo and Kabarole, but told reporters the rebels were now "making desperate attacks" in low-lying areas to lure the army from the Rwenzori Mountains where it was permanently occupying captured ADF camps and deploying heavily to contain the deteriorating security situation. He also denied reports of collaboration between some army officers and the ADF, and that the UPDF had failed to act on intelligence reports of imminent attacks. Kazini said he had no intelligence to confirm reports that the ADF had joined forces with Congolese Mayi-Mayi or Rwandan Interahamwe fighters.

RWANDA: Rwigema escapes censure over education funds debacle

Prime Minister Pierre-Celestin Rwigema has survived a no-confidence motion in parliament over allegations that he misappropriated millions of dollars of World Bank loans earmarked for education projects when he was Minister for Education in 1994. Rwigema survived the motion, levelled against him by a parliamentary commission of enquiry chaired by MP Major Rose Kabuye, on a 34-27 vote on Wednesday evening, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported. Rwigema had argued that the funds were mismanaged during what was a chaotic period in Rwanda following the genocide earlier that year.

Ambassador Jeani-Pierre Bizimana, former Minister of State in the Department of Education, was also cleared of mismanaging the World Bank education project, Radio Rwanda reported. However, parliament recommended that the government should take "appropriate measures" against junior officials found to be responsible, and to devise means of recovering millions of Rwandan francs lost in paying incompetent construction companies who were supposed to rehabilitate schools throughout the country that had been destroyed in the war and genocide. RWANDA: Prosecutor says year 2000 a crucial one for ICTR

Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and former Yugoslavia Carla Del Ponte said in a statement marking her first 100 days in office on Wednesday that "next year will perhaps be the most important year so far for the Rwanda Tribunal." She also vowed to spend "a considerable portion of her time" on Rwanda Tribunal business. Next year, the accused for three major genocide prosecutions were being grouped together, and she would lead the prosecution of ministers of the former regime in Rwanda herself, a UN press release on Thursday quoted Del Ponte as saying. In conclusion, the Prosecutor she and her colleagues were "rapidly building a unique legal system" of which they could be proud.

BURUNDI: Curfew eased in Bujumbura

The government has eased a night curfew in Bujumbura, imposed following a series of rebel attacks on the capital city. The curfew, imposed in August, had been from 10pm to 6am but was now to start at midnight, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported. The government wanted to illustrate that life in the capital could proceed normally despite continuing fighting in the countryside, the BBC reported, adding that business people and residents would be glad of the reprieve having resented the strictly-enforced 10pm curfew.

GREAT LAKES: "Humanitarian favouritism" threatening children's lives

The DRC and Uganda were among the six most under-funded countries in 1999 in terms of UNICEF's emergency humanitarian appeals, the agency stated on Wednesday, adding that "humanitarian favouritism" was threatening the lives and future of the most needy children and women in the developing world. Donors had substantially funded well-publicised crisis spots like Kosovo, Turkey and East Timor, while UNICEF appeals for DRC and Uganda were 46 percent and 17 percent funded respectively, the agency's Executive Director Carol Bellamy said in a press statement. She warned against "unconscious favouritism towards new emergencies rather than seemingly intractable ongoing crises" and said if leaders "became committed to levelling the playing field for the world's children, we could undo a sad situation in which life-saving resources are being denied to precisely the most vulnerable."

Nairobi, 23 December 1999, 12:45 gmt

[ENDS]

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