IRIN Update No. 573 for Central and Eastern Africa

from IRIN
Published on 23 Dec 1998
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Integrated Regional Information Network
for Central and Eastern Africa
Tel: +254 2 622147
Fax: +254 2 622129

CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: Electricity, water restored in Brazzaville

The situation in Brazzaville was calmer today (Wednesday), with government forces now in control of the Bacongo and Makelekele areas of southern Brazzaville and a considerable reduction in the level of looting reported, humanitarian sources told IRIN. Electricity and running water supplies have been restored in the city, they said. However, insecurity remained a major concern and access to Bacongo and Makelekele was still not possible, the sources added. AFP reported today that Angolan soldiers stationed in Brazzaville had been deployed to the two neighbourhoods to stop looting by Cobra militiamen.

ICRC airlifts supplies to treat wounded

ICRC has flown in urgently-required medical supplies to Brazzaville for three city hospitals where wounded people are being treated, an ICRC spokesman told IRIN today. He said the Congolese Red Cross was helping transport the injured to the hospitals. Residents are also carrying wounded family members to the hospital in wheelbarrows or on their backs, humanitarian sources said.

Displaced are mainly women and children

UNICEF Representative Eric Laroche told IRIN today that about 95 percent of the displaced in north Brazzaville are women and children. Many are in a traumatised state and in poor nutritional condition. Up to 250,000 people moved from the southern districts to the northern part of the city as a result of fighting from Friday to Sunday between government forces and Ninja militia allied to former prime minister Bernard Kolelas. Between 60,000 and 100,000 displaced are estimated to be sheltered in churches, schools and other public buildings and the remainder are staying with friends or relatives, humanitarian sources said. UNICEF is providing essential drugs and therapeutic milk for functioning health centres in north Brazzaville, while ICRC is also trucking potable water to five displaced sites sheltering some 17,000 people.

Kolelas criticises Angolan military support

Kolelas said the involvement of Angolan troops enabled President Denis Sassou-Nguesso to put down last weekend's "uprising" by young people who sought to "get rid of an irresponsible government", AFP reported yesterday (Tuesday). "They were within a hair's breadth of their goal but once again foreign troops came to the government's help," AFP quoted Kolelas as saying from the United States. Earlier, Reuters quoted Sassou's director of public security as saying that fighters belonging to the Angolan UNITA and FLEC rebel movements, reportedly allied to the Ninja, were among those captured by the Congolese army during the clashes.

BURUNDI: Burundians meet in Nairobi to discuss peace process

Burundians from within the country and from the diaspora have been meeting in Nairobi this week at a conference organised by the Burundi organisation, Compagnie des apotres de la paix (CAP). The meeting - a follow-up to a previous gathering in October - is aimed at bringing together as many Burundian representatives as possible, including exiles and government members. Participants in the meeting told IRIN today the themes under discussion were the internal and external peace processes and ways of maintaining a durable peace. Many participants reportedly questioned the external Arusha process, saying the mediator Julius Nyerere should recognise the rebel CNDD-FDD faction of Colonel Jean-Bosco Ndaykengurukiye as a negotiating party, rather than the more isolated Leonard Nyangoma.

Concern over possible holiday violence

Burundian MPs attending the meeting also expressed concern over a possible upsurge in violence over the Christmas and New Year period. They told IRIN there were reports that the Forces nationales pour la liberation (FNL), the armed wing of the rebel PALIPEHUTU group, were planning attacks. Rebel attacks on New Year's Eve last year against military positions near Bujumbura airport left at least 200 people dead and caused the displacement of thousands of others. The FNL later claimed responsibility for the airport attack in a press release.

South African company moots "floating hospital"

The BBC Kirundi service last week reported that a private South African company was seeking to establish a "floating hospital" in the Great Lakes area. The hospital ship would be based in Bujumbura port, but would serve other countries bordering Lake Tanganyika such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania. The project is estimated at US $2 million, the radio said.

Japan recognises Buyoya government

Japan yesterday officially recognised the government of Major Pierre Buyoya, the Kyodo news agency reported. "Japan decided to recognise the Burundi government after confirming that Buyoya now controls all the country's territory," Kyodo quoted Japanese government officials as saying.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Rebel authorities appoint new governors

The rebel authorities in eastern DRC have appointed new provincial governors to areas under their control, the Rwanda News Agency (RNA) reported yesterday. According to an announcement by the Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD), each governor will now be assisted by two vice-governors, the first in charge of finance and the second in charge of administration. The governor of South Kivu is Norbert Bashengezi Katintima, first vice-governor Benjamin Serukiza, second vice-governor Ernest Mundjo Munzenze. In Maniema, the governor is Nestor Kiyimbi Mutangi, first vice-governor Kasongo Olango, second vice-governor Abeli Butezi. In North Kivu, the governor is Leonard Kanyamuhanga Gafundi, first vice-governor Shomwa Monghera, second vice-governor Muhima Salumu. In Province Orientale, the governor is Theo Baruti Amissi, first vice-governor A.Lotsoye, second vice-governor Yogba L.Bazono. [Names as given by RNA].

Rebels capture Pweto, advance on Lubumbashi

RDC rebels captured the southeastern town of Pweto late last week and are advancing on Lubumbashi, according to Bukavu radio. The station, monitored by the Rwanda News Agency, said the fall of Pweto - on the DRC-Zambian border - was "strategically important." The radio did not give any details on the fighting or casualties.

UGANDA: 12 LRA rebels killed

Twelve Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels were killed and scores wounded in clashes with the army near the Sudan border, AFP quoted local newspapers as saying today. A column of more than 100 LRA members crossed back into northern Uganda armed with mortars, anti-aircraft guns, and armour-piercing grenades. The military equipment bears Arabic inscriptions, according to the independent ' Monitor'.

SUDAN: Turabi re-nominated as speaker

Sudan's parliament today re-nominated Hassan Turabi as speaker of the house, two days after he had resigned to work full time for the ruling party, AP reported. If Turabi, the country's most influential politician, accepts the nomination as expected, he will hold the post until the end of the parliament's term in April 2000, AP said.

ERITREA-ETHIOPIA: Addis moves troops into Djibouti, Eritrea claims

Eritrea has alleged that Ethiopia has moved troops into neighbouring Djibouti to outflank Eritrean positions. Eritrean Foreign Minister Haile Woldensae said on Monday the move was "dangerous for Djibouti" and that Eritrea would defend itself whenever necessary, AP reported. He accused both Djibouti and Sudan of supporting Ethiopia.

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Election results announced

The party of President Ange-Felix Patasse, the Mouvement de liberation du peuple centrafricain (MLPC) won 49 of the 109 seats in the legislative elections of 22 November and 13 December, AFP said yesterday. Citing results released by the constitutional court in the capital Bangui, AFP said eight opposition parties won a total of 53 seats and the remaining seven seats were won by independent candidates. As no party got an absolute majority in the new parliament, the seven independent candidates hold the balance of power needed to form a government, it added.

MINURCA extension proposed

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has recommended the extension of the mandate of the UN's Mission des Nations Unies en Republique Centrafricaine (MINURCA) within its existing structure and overall strength. A UN spokesman said yesterday in New York that Annan has also proposed the creation of a UN team to assist in the restructuring of the armed forces. The mission would be terminated shortly after the announcement of the results of the presidential elections, scheduled to be held by autumn 1999, the spokesman said. MINURCA's current mandate expires at the end of February.


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