OCHA-Burundi Situation Report 10 - 16 Mar 2003

Situation Report
Originally published
1. WFP International Women's Day Awards

This year's International Women Day [8 March] World Food Programme (WFP) theme, was "Women and HIV/AIDS". WFP said it is "very concerned" over the high growth rates of HIV/AIDS in Burundi. "Due to the ongoing civil war in Burundi, the fight against HIV/AIDS is an enormous challenge", said WFP in a statement to mark the Day. Mrs Jeanne Gapiya, a member of the Burundi's association Nationale de Soutien aux Séropositifs (Burundi's Association for support to HIV/AIDS affected people) received an Award in recognition of her advocacy on behalf of women and HIV/AIDS in Burundi. "She has mobilised and influenced the youth in secondary schools, the women's leagues, the media and the authorities to combat against HIV/AIDS," WFP reported.

2. UNWFP appeals for 16,000 mt of food

The UN World Food Programme in Burundi (WFP) issued a press release [11 March] expressing concern about the deteriorating food and humanitarian situation in Burundi due to late rains and insecurity. "We are doing everything possible to respond to heightened food needs in the last couple of months, but we simply do not have enough resources to tackle the full magnitude of this crisis," said Mustapha Darboe, WFP's Country Director in Burundi. "... further contributions from donors are urgently required. The bottom line is that the number of hungry people has doubled and we don't have enough food," Mr Darboe added. Immediate pledges of 16,000 tons (valued US$ 9 million) of cereals, pulses and vegetable oil are urgently required to feed over 1 million vulnerable people until end of June 2003.

3. Medical management of victims of sexual exploitation and rape in emergency

The Ministry of Health, with UNICEF support, have set up a pilot programme for the medical management of victims of sexual exploitation and rape in emergency. The programme will be expanded to other parts of the country and will start to take a more holistic approach to the care of these victims through counselling and sensitisation.

4. Human Rights: EU calls for independent inquiry in Itaba massacre

The EU has called upon the TNGoB to set up a "neutral and independent" inquiry into the killing of 173 civilians in Itaba Commune, Gitega Province [9 September 2002]. The EU said an independent inquiry "would establish the facts rapidly and identify the guilty parties so that they can be prosecuted and judged in accordance with due judicial process."

5. Returnees as at 4 March 2003

UNHCR (Burundi) report 5,511 facilitated, and 3686 spontaneous, returnees Y.T.D.


6. Military tension rises in central, eastern and western Burundi

Ambushes and clashes followed by looting have been reported in the Burundi provinces of Gitega (centre) and Ruyigi (east) where the Army has been fighting with rebels for several months. Colonel Cyprien Hakiza, Commander of the 2nd Military Region, indicated that fierce fighting has been raging in the communes of Gishubi, Giheta (Gitega Province) and Butangazwa (Ruyigi Province), between regular Army troops and elements from CNDD-FDD, the main rebel movement. Meanwhile, the Makamba provincial education officer, Mr Charles Ndikumana, has advised that CNDD-FDD continues to recruit secondary school students. Since January, 119 school students have reportedly left school to join rebels.

In Bujumbura Rural Province, Mutambu Commune, Ruvyagira area, intense fighting between the Army and FNL rebels (Rwasa) caused 1,500 families to flee. More than 300 people fled insecurity following the Palipehutu-FNL led expedition in Kinyinya, Rukaramu Zone [eve of 8-9 March]. One person was killed, 10 wounded and over 200 households looted.

7. General

  • Makamba Province: Two people (a policeman and a "former" rebel) reportedly killed [Friday 7 March and Saturday 8 March, early morning].

  • Ruyigi Province: Ruhwago area (3 kms from Ruyigi centre): Rebels attacked, then stole livestock. Two women were reportedly raped.

  • Commenting on the situation in Gitega, Ruyigi and Cankuzo provinces, Colonel Cyprien Hakiza, Commander of the 2nd Military Region, reported that CNDD-FDD rebels are responsible for looting, theft of livestock and money, and the rape of women.

  • The Human Rights Association in the Great Lakes Region (LDGL), in collaboration with HRW, conducted a five-day workshop in Arusha, Tanzania [10-14 March] on the theme, "Civil Society contribution to the fight against impunity".

  • Rebels attacked the town centres of Kayanza and Ruyigi provinces. In Ruyigi, two people have been reportedly killed and livestock stolen [9 March].

  • Bujumbura Rural, Kabezi Commune, Migera Zone (National Highway N=B0 3): Palipehultu-FNL rebels ambushed a public transport vehicle and killed one person (a soldier) [10 March].

  • Intense fighting reported between FDD rebels (from the Kibira Forest) and the Army in several communes of Kayanza Province [starting 11 March].

  • Ruyigi Province: CNDD-FDD rebels led attacks in Kinyama, Gasenyi and Kizige areas; One person was wounded and many households looted (livestock, money and other goods stolen).

  • Security: Armed men laid an ambush on a vehicle and stole money from the traders (women) who were going to purchase rice at Randa, Bubanza Province [11 March].

  • Musaga Zone, Bujumbura Mairie, Palipehultu-FNL rebels attacked Kigobe quarter and looted more than 20 households.

  • Gitega Province, Mungwa Zone: Two people reportedly killed by FDD rebels [11 March].

  • Armed bandits attacked Carmes Brothers'community (30 metres from the Regina Mundi Cathedral) [12 March] Bujumbura Town. Three of them were immediately captured.

8. AU team now complete

Arrival of eight Gabonese soldiers in Bujumbura [12 March] brought the AU's ceasefire monitors for Burundi to its full complement [Total: 43]. Mr Mamadou Bah, AU SRSG advised that the commander of the team, Lt-Col Tahar Ayari of Tunisia, accompanied by Mr Bah's Military Advisor, has already visited the places where the observers will be deployed. Locations identified include Ruyigi (east), Makamba (south), Kayanza (north) and Gitega (centre). Further visits will be conducted in Bubanza (northwest) and Muyinga (North).

9. Burundi Army accused of shelling Tanzanian territory

The Tanzanian Army accused the Burundian Army of shelled its territory. The Burundi Defence Minister, Major-General Vincent Niyungeko, denied the accusations, saying it was completely false since there has been no fighting on Burundian territory bordering Tanzania.

10. CNDD-FDD rebels accuse TNGoB of seeking to prolong war

With regard to the TNGoB's announcement (that it would resume supplies to rebels only if they withdrew to the positions they had before the signing of the 3 December accord and if they (CNDD-FDD rebels) halted all acts of violence and looting against civilians), the FDD reacted through its Spokesperson, Mr Daniel Gélase Ndabirabe, declaring that the "conditions are an excuse by the interim government, of the Army to pursue war."

11. Latest events

EU donates 2.6m Euros to the TNGoB [12 March]


12. Contact Group Meeting (for the Minutes access: www.ochaburundi.org)

  • Chaired by Mr Stefano, Severe (Humanitarian Coordinator a.i.) 33 attendees [12 March].

  • Mr James Oilor, Ngozi Province Focal Point (CARE), presented the minutes [12 February].
For Information

Nicholas McGowan, Information Officer
OCHA Burundi, PH: (257) 951 68, E-mail: mcgowann@un.org

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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