Burundi + 3 more

IRIN Update 885 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
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e-mail: irin@ocha.unon.org

RWANDA: New government announced

The new Rwandan government has been announced and was expected to be sworn in on Monday. Observers note that the powerful minister in the president's office, Patrick Mazimhaka, has been dropped amid accusations of corruption. Other changes include new foreign, commerce and environment ministers. The new line-up, as announced by the president's office and broadcast by Rwandan radio, is as follows:

1. Vice-President and Defence Minister: Major General Paul Kagame 2. Prime Minister: Bernard Makuza 3. Minister in President's Office: Dr Joseph Mutaboba 4. Minister of Internal Affairs: Theobald Rwaka 5. Minister of Foreign Affairs: Andrew Bumaya 6. Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Forestry: Ephraim Kabaija 7. Minister of Education: Emmanuel Mudidi 8. Minister of Justice and Institutional Relations: Jean de Dieu Mucyo 9. Minister of Energy, Water and Natural Resources: Bonaventure Nibizi 10. Minister of Finance and Economic Planning: Donald Kaberuka 11. Minister of Public Works, Transport, and Communications: Jean de Dieu Ntiruhungwa. 12. Minister of Commerce, Industries, and Tourism: Alexandre Lyambabaje 13.Minister of Lands, Resettlement and Environment: Professor Laurent Nkusi. 14. Minister of Public Service and Labour: Sylvie Zainabu Kayitesi 15. Minister of Family and Women in Development: Angelina Muganza 16. Minister of Health: Ezechias Rwabuhihi 17. Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture: Francois Ngarambe 18. Minister of Local Government: Desire Nyandwi.

Ministers of State: 1. Minister of State for Security (Defence): Col. BM Emmanuel Habyarimana 2. Minister of State for Social Affairs: Odette Nyiramirimo 3. Minister of State for Agriculture: Aron Makuba 4. Minister of State for High Education: Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo. 5. Minister of State for Planning: Celestin Kabanda.

RWANDA: Allegations of UNITA support "merely hearsay"

Allegations of Rwandan collaboration with Angolan UNITA rebels were "merely hearsay" generated by those interested in "distorting the facts" for their own reasons, Rwanda's Permanent Representative to the UN, Joseph Mutaboba, said on Friday. Speaking at a UN Headquarters press briefing, Mutaboba said the allegations, contained in a recent report by an expert panel on the breaking of UN sanctions against UNITA, did not reflect information given to the panel during its visit to Kigali, according to a UN account of the press conference. Mutaboba said that, although arms or diamond traders might have been in Rwanda, it was "totally wrong" to say they had the backing and protection of the authorities. If the expert panel could identify who the traders had met and who was protecting them, "they would be arrested immediately", he said.

RWANDA: Genocide "revisionists" out to discredit government

Mutaboba also stated that the UNITA sanctions report was part of a "pattern of efforts to discredit" Rwanda's government and leaders, the statement said. A recent article in Canada's 'National Post' newspaper "fits the same pattern," he said. The 'National Post' article implicated the RPF in the downing of an aircraft in 1994, which killed the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi. Mutaboba said the "disinformation" was the work of "revisionists" supporting and harbouring genocide criminals, adding that "confusion" over the existence of a UN report cited as the source of the newspaper article "might or might not be deliberate".

Responding to a reporter's question about the existence of the alleged UN report on the downing of the aircraft, UN spokesman Fred Eckhard on Friday said he had previously referred journalists to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), "but the Tribunal has refused to comment on a leaked document".

RWANDA: Over 350 families displaced

Some 380 Rwandan families who were evicted from the Gishwati forest in western Rwanda recently are yet to be resettled, the Rwanda News Agency reported. According to RNA, the evicted families, who are camping out at Rusekura in the Karago commune of Gisenyi, received a consignment of relief aid from the Rwanda Red Cross last week. RNA said they would be re-allocated land in the Mutura and Giciye communes on the outskirts of the Virunga national park. It added they were relocated because they were destroying the forest's ecosystem by cutting down trees.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Rebels warned of "retaliation"

DRC Chief of Staff Colonel Eddy Kapend on Sunday warned of retaliation against rebels in Kasai Occidental and said he hoped the UN mission, MONUC, would not "intervene", news reports said. An official of the DRC embassy in Nairobi on Monday justified the warning "We have been aggressed, and not even the UN has faced reality and told the aggressors to leave," he told IRIN. "It is the rebels launching the attacks, what are we to do...we have to defend ourselves." The rebel Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD) took the town of Idumbe - some 375 miles east of Kinshasa - in Kasai Occidental last week.

DRC: Council informed of Kasai fighting

The DRC on Friday called on the UN Security Council to condemn what it said were attacks by Rwandan troops in Kasai Occidental, news agencies reported. In a letter to the Council president, the DRC's UN mission in New York said last week's attacks on Idumbe and another locations in the province had killed hundreds of soldiers and civilians and constituted a "new flagrant violation" by Rwanda of the ceasefire agreement, Reuters reported. The DRC also called on the Council to demand the redeployment of Rwandan troops to the positions they held before 1 March, it said.

DRC: No deployment before end June

A UN technical assessment team completed trips last week to the DRC towns of Mbuji-Mayi, Kananga and Mbandaka, UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said on Friday. The team is assessing logistical conditions in preparation for the deployment of some 5,500 military observers and troops under phase 2 of the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC). Deployment of the force was expected to take from four to six months, "which means at the earliest by the end of June", Eckhard stated. He said that Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Bernard Miyet, who just completed a tour of the region, will brief the UN Security Council on the DRC on 28 March.

DRC: Matadi visited by UN reconnaissance team

MONUC sources told IRIN on Monday that last week's UN assessment missions to Mbuji-Mayi and Mbandaka had been successful, and the reconnaissance team was able to collect useful information to enable more detailed planning for phase 2 deployment. The team met local civil and military authorities and "while acknowledging there is still a long way to go, the discussions were very productive", a MONUC official said. A smaller UN reconnaissance team visited the important port town of Matadi on Saturday, where local authorities were "particularly helpful", the official added.

DRC: Bishop of Bukavu reportedly allowed home

The bishop of Bukavu, Emmanuel Kataliko, has reportedly been allowed to return to his diocese, according a statement from the Bukavu diocese. The statement, received by IRIN on Monday, said the rebel RCD authorities had "agreed in principle" to his return following a meeting with a delegation of Congolese bishops in Goma. The RCD asked for a short period of time to prepare for his return to Bukavu, the statement said. Bishop Kataliko was prevented from returning to his diocese by the RCD-Goma leadership in February who accused him of "preaching ethnic hatred". He has been in his home town of Butembo ever since.

DRC: Kabila meets South African delegation

DRC President Laurent-Desire Kabila at the weekend held talks with a South African ministerial delegation in Kinshasa, the South African news agency (SAPA) reported. It said the delegation, led by Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, delivered a message from President Thabo Mbeki, but gave no details. South African foreign ministry spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said issues discussed included the Lusaka peace agreement, the need for dialogue among the warring parties and economic reconstruction. President Kabila reportedly requested a meeting with President Mbeki which SAPA said could take place in the "near future".

DRC: Togo recalls ambassador

Togolese President Gnassingbe Eyadema on Friday recalled his ambassador to the DRC, Mama Gnofang, a day after he was briefly detained by police who found a large sum of Congolese francs in the back of his car, news organisations reported. Radio France Internationale quoted a communique issued by President Eyadema as saying the decision was made "as soon as he was informed of the matter". AFP said that Gnofang was stopped on Thursday at Ngobila port on the river Congo as he prepared to cross to Brazzaville. DRC law forbids taking national currency out of the country.

UGANDA: Changes in DRC-based army command

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has changed the army command in the DRC-based contingent. "This is not a reshuffle, it is a new deployment of commanders already in the area," Ugandan army spokesman Captain Shaban Bantariza told IRIN on Monday. He said two extra people had been brought in "as the commander-in-chief [President Museveni] wants more coordination of the forces who are spread over a big territory". "That is why different commanders have been allocated sectors to be in direct contact with the forces."

The semi-official 'New Vision' daily on Saturday reported that Colonel John Mugume, former commander of military police in Kampala, has been transferred to the DRC to be in charge of the Isiro sector in northeast DRC. He will be deputised by Major Duncan Kamugisha in the Lisala sector of northwestern Congo. Lieutenant Colonel Francis Okello, former brigade commander in Kitgum, northern Uganda, goes to Libanda in northern Congo. Colonel Edison Muzora, former head of operations in Kisangani, moves to Basankusu northeast Congo, while Lieutenant Colonel Wasswa goes to the Gemena sector of northern Congo. Lieutenant Colonel Sula Semakula, formerly in Basankusu, has been reallocated to Kisangani. Lieutenant Colonel John Bwirizayo is to command the Kisinga sector and Major Kagenzi will head the Isiro sector. Lieutenant Colonel Phenas Mugyenyi, a deputy commander in Kisangani, moves to head the Mahagi sector near Uganda-Congo border, while Lieutenant Colonel Emmanuel Burundi is to command the Beni sector in northeastern Congo.

UGANDA: Army rescues captured civilians from ADF

The Ugandan army has so far "rescued" 213 abducted civilians from rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in eastern Congo and western Uganda, Ugandan radio quoted Chief of Staff James Kazini as saying. "The trend is that after a couple of hours people escape from the rebels and within a few days we had more than 200 former abductees reporting to our forces," army spokesman Shaban Bantariza told IRIN. "This shows you that the ADF is on the run and cannot hold onto civilians."

Kazini told the news conference in western Uganda over the weekend that thousands of arms, including 141 sub-machine guns had been captured. He handed over 90 rescued civilians and captured rebels to local administrators.

BURUNDI: Buyoya to draw on Mozambique experience

President Pierre Buyoya on Saturday returned home from Mozambique where he had discussions on the ethnic conflict in his country, Burundi radio reported. Speaking on arrival, he said Mozambique's experience on resolving its own civil war could be useful for Burundi. "Mozambique is a country, which in the framework of peace, became involved in lengthy negotiations which led the successful implementation of a peace agreement," Buyoya said. He added this was a lesson for others, although it did not mean Burundi should copy Mozambique. According to Mozambican television, Buyoya asked his Mozambique counterpart Joaquim Chissano for "advice and assistance". Chissano was quoted as saying it was necessary to involve all parties to the Burundi conflict in peace negotiations.

BURUNDI: 350,000 farming families assisted

In response to the effects of drought and population regroupment in parts of Burundi, FAO has distributed seeds and tools to about 350,000 farming households, representing about 27 percent of the country's population, FAO said in a statement received by IRIN. Most of the materials were distributed to people in Bujumbura Rurale, Kirundo and Muyinga provinces, which were particularly affected by drought last November and by recent regroupment practices, it said. The distribution campaign for the 2000B agricultural season took place from 1 February to 15 March in collaboration with the government, 11 international NGOs, the Red Cross and UNHCR. WFP provided all beneficiaries with food rations as "seed protection", the statement added.

Nairobi, 20 March 2000, 14:05 gmt


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