OCHA-Burundi Situation Report 20-26 Jan 2003

Situation Report
Originally published
1. IDPs-Gitega, and Ruyigi Provinces

The situation in Gitega Province has been concerning over the last week following intensified fighting between the army and the CNDD-FDD rebels in almost all the communes including Gitega town. In the communes of Giheta, Bugendana and Itaba, authorities estimated nine thousand families have been displaced. Due to lack of access, no evaluations could be undertaken by humanitarian actors for over three days. As at Friday 24 January, only three missions to Giheta have been completed by the INGOs Solidarités (two missions) and Doctors Without Borders-Belgium (MSF-B).

The Ruyigi provincial administrator reported large displacements in the communes of Gisuru, Kinyinya and Nyabitsinda following heavy fighting between the Army and the CNDD-FDD rebels. However, neither the authorities nor the humanitarian actors present in Ruyigi could conduct field assessments due to extremely poor security situation. On Firday 24 January, ACF conducted the first INGO led field mission in Butaganzwa Commune, Biyorwa area.

In a statement issued 23 January, the Norway Refugee Council (Burundi) addressed the need for the protection of IDPs in Burundi and appealed to "conflicting parties to respect the legal rights of the internally displaced persons as detailed in the Un Guiding Principles On Internal Displacement." All active partners, from the authorities to the rest of humanitarian community, are "also requested to apply and respect the Guiding Principles in their activities "and to assist the internally displaced persons in Gitega."

2. Returnees as at 16 January 2003

UNHCR (Burundi): report 1546 facilitated and 552 spontaneous returnees Y.T.D.


3. Intensification of fighting between the Army and rebels

Fighting has intensified in Ruyigi and Gitega provinces over the last week. In Ruyigi Province, following an ambush on a military vehicle, 10 Army members were killed in Nyabitare, Gisuru Commune, 18 January. The Military conducted operations in the villages and hills of Nyabitsinda Commune.

4. General

The army shelled CNDD-FDD positions (19 January) in four areas in the communes of Bugendana (three) and Giheta (one).

Two soldiers were killed (17 January) by Palipehutu-FNL rebels (administration source) at Nyarukere, Isale Commune, Bujumbura Rural Province.

CNDD-FDD rebels continue looting in some communes of Rutana Province. In Mpinga-Kayove Commune, three households were looted (15 January)

Two military positions attacked in Kanyosha Zone, Kagigi quarter (18 January). Two soldiers wounded, homes damaged and five goats stolen.

Upsurge of violence in several provinces (Bubanza, Bujumbura Rural, Muramvya, Ruyigi, Gitega). In Bujumbura Rural, FNL rebels (Agathon Rwasa) attacked yesterday (20 January) at Rushubi. WFP could not conduct its food distribution at Rushubi.

Ethnic tensions reported within the secondary school (Lycée) of Makamba.

Persistent insecurity in Gitega Province. CNDD-FDD rebels attacked (Tuesday 21 January) Nyamugari quarter, commonly known as Swahili, Gitega town; one wounded and approximately twenty homes looted.

Abduction, by FNL rebels (Agathon Rwasa) of Nyambuye Head of Head of Zone (Bujumbura Rural, Isale Commune, Tuesday 21 January).

Insecurity reported throughout almost all the communes of Gitega; the road Gitega-Gishubi was blocked on Tuesday 21 January due to fighting between the CNDD-FDD and Army.

CNDD-FDD rebels (Pierre Nkurunziza) continue to make incursions in Gitega Province, leading an attack (22 January) on Minyinya sector, Gishubi Commune.


5. African force for Burundi ceasefire implementation

Defence teams from South Africa and Mozambique met Tuesday 21 January to discuss logistics and contributions for an African force in Burundi. "This is the first consultation... to look at the mandate such a mission will have to fulfill", South Africa's Defense Minister Musiuoa Lekota told reporters. On his visit to Burundi last week, South Africa Deputy President announced that three countries (South Africa, Ethiopia and Mozambique) plan to deploy troops by the end of January to monitor a ceasefire between the Burundi Military and CNDD-FDD (Pierre Nkurunziza), the main rebel group. Though Zuma had set the end-of-month deadline, Mr Lekota, South Africa's Defence Minister, admitted it was "too early to say when the force would be deployed or what size it would be".

6. Latest Events

Mr Jean Bosco Ndayikengurukiye (CNDD-FDD) and Dr Alain Mugabarabona (Palipehutu-FNL) are expected to return to Burundi (10 February). "Their return should not be subjected to rumours; they are expected to take part in the imminent political institutions", stated Mr Albert Mbonerane, Minister for Communication and Spokesperson for the GoB.

CNDD-FDD faction (Jean Bosco Ndayikengurukiye) appeals to rival faction to work for peace (communiqué issued 16 January). "Now the GoB had signed a ceasefire, Nkurunziza's supporters should "change their attitude" and work for the general interest.

President Buyoya left for Pretoria (24 January) to meet with signatories to the ceasefire accord (Jean Bosco Ndayikengurukiye and Alin Mugabarabona) and to re launch the ceasefire negotiations with CNDD-FDD.


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

The contact group meeting (22 January) was chaired by Mr. Stefano Severe (UNHCR Delegate) Humanitarian Coordinator a.i. Thirty-eight participated.

Ms Hope Neighour (IRC) Provincial Focal Point for Bururi Province, made a presentation.

8. GTS meeting

Held on Monday, the meeting was chaired by Mr Antoine Gérard, GTS Co-President.

9. Contingency planning

Preparations for the contingency planning session are on going. The date set is 30 January.

For Information:

Nicholas McGowan
Information Officer
OCHA Burundi
PH: (257) 951 681, Email: mcgowann@un.org

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.