OCHA-Burundi Situation Report 3 - 9 Feb 2003

Situation Report
Originally published
Humanitarian Activities
1. Amnesty international: No further human rights abuses

Amnesty International (AI) has called on the signatories to the ceasefire agreement to take immediate steps to prevent human rights abuses, in particular the killing of unarmed civilians. "The Ceasefire agreement will mean virtually nothing to ordinary Burundians if the pattern of human rights abuses persists or even escalates," AI said. AI believes it is essential for the AU peacekeeping force mandate to include human rights protection and prevention.

2. Returnees as at 28 January 2003

UNHCR (Burundi): report 2,065 facilitated and 1,255 spontaneous returnees Y.T.D.


3. Fighting increases between the Army and rebel groups

Fighting between the Army and rebel groups has been reported Bujumbura Rural, Bujumbura Town, Ruyigi, Bubanza and Gitega provinces. The Palipehutu-FNL (Agathon Rwasa) has increased attacks in Bujumbura Rural and in northern quarters of the capital. An increased number of ambushes on military vehicles/patrols has led to fighting which caused the temporary displacement of people, with some casualties reported. In Mutambu Commune (Bujumbura Rural Province) approximately two thousand people have fled fighting that broke-out Sunday 2 February, following an ambush in which four soldiers were killed. In Gitega Province, the Army has continued tracking CNDD-FDD rebels in the communes of Bugendana, Giheta and Itaba.

4. General

In Bujumbura Town, nine people (from Kamenge, Gihosha, Ngagara zones) have been killed in the fighting between the Army and FNL rebels following an ambush on a military vehicle (2 February) where one soldier was killed.

Isale Commune, Bujumbura Rural Province: One soldier killed, several civilians wounded; Rushubi market place and some shops were looted (2 February).

Palipehutu-FNL rebels (Agathon Rwasa) ambushed a military patrol on the National Highway N=B0 9 (2 February). Four people were reportedly killed.

Fighting between the Army and FDD rebels reported in Kinyinya Commune, Ruyigi Province since Saturday 1 February-3 February.

Celebration of the National Unity Day. In Gitega, the 12th Anniversary for the National Unity has been celebrated while fighting continues - Kabanga Zone, Giheta Commune, two soldiers abducted and two wounded. In Bugendana Commune, many FDD rebels are reported present in Kirimbi and Busangana areas (4 February).

According to witnesses, thirteen people were killed (31 January and 1 February) in Giheta Commune, Gitega Province, due to fighting between the Army and CNDD-FDD rebels.

Bujumbura Rural Province: Four soldiers killed and five wounded in Mutambu Commune in a rebel attack (FNL) on a military patrol. A military vehicle was also ambushed at Nyamutenderi area (6 February).


5. EU Envoy in the African GL region warns against military coups

Addressing a news conference to conclude his four-day visit to Bujumbura (2 February) Ambassador Aldo Ajello, the European Union envoy in the African GL region warned that the international community would not tolerate another coup d'état. "Such an adventure is out of date," he said. Ambassador Ajello conceded that the Burundi peace process had reached a delicate phase with impending army reforms, which could trigger some resistance within the armed forces.

6. Burundi Peace Force

While in Ethiopia, attending the extra-ordinary AU Heads of States' Summit on Monday (3-4 February), President Buyoya requested the rapid deployment of military observers and the mobilization of an African Peacekeeping Force. "I should say that the meeting responded positively," Buyoya said on his return from the AU Summit. From the Ethiopian capital, President Buyoya announced that he welcomed the AU's decision in January to deploy a military mission to oversee the ceasefire signed by the TNGoB and rebel groups.

The Central Organ of the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution at Heads of State and governmental level, has approved the deployment of the African Mission provided for in the 2 December 2002 (signed on the 3rd) Ceasefire Agreement. The Central Organ expressed appreciation to the governments of South Africa, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Republic of Mozambique, which have indicated their willingness to contribute troops fro the Mission. The Central Organ requested South Africa, the chair of the African Union, to lead the efforts to ensure a speedy deployment of the Mission in Burundi and calls on the Burundi Parties to extend full cooperation in order to facilitate the deployment.

7. Latest Events

The CNDD-FDD (Pierre Nkurunziza) issued a press release (4 February) accusing the TNGoB of "Burning Gitega region with its killings and massacres despite the signing of the Joint Declaration." (27 January).

Following the signing of the Joint Declaration in Pretoria (27 January) ceasefire talks between the TNGoB and CNDD-FDD (Pierre Nkurunziza) resumed on Monday 3 February in Dar-es-Salaam on a technical level. A TNGoB source reported that negotiations were making slow progress.

The February Ordinary Session for the Transitional National Assembly commenced 3 February. Dr Jean Minani called upon Mr Agathon Rwasa of FNL to join the ceasefire talks.

Commemoration of the twelfth anniversary for the National Unity Chart (5 February). "National unity remains hypothetical" assert members of the Accord cadre (including UPRONA non-signatory wing, J.R.R, P.A-Amasekanya, AC-Génocide, Coalition against dictatorship, women's association/UFB).

Former President Jean-Baptiste Bagaza to stay under house arrest for at least another sixty days, decision taken Tuesday 4 February by Mr Salvator Ntihabose, Minister for Interior and Public Security. Mr Laurent Nzeyimana (Bagaza's lawyer), "it is against human rights".

The food distribution to CNDD-FDD rebels did not resume as planned on Monday (3 February) in Ruyigi, the point of distribution is reportedly not yet agreed.

Three CNDD-FDD officials (Jean Bosco Ndayikengurukiye's wing) arrived in Bujumbura (8 February) as per the Memorandum of Understanding signed in Pretoria, 25 January).


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

Chaired by Mr Antoine Gérard, OCHA Head of Office. Thirty-six people participated (6 February).

Mr Amadou Samake of United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Burundi gave a presentation on the current WFP food pipeline.

Dr François Buyoya, Representative for Red Cross Burundi (local NGO) gave a presentation on the situation of the NGO re: financial and personnel issues.

9. GTS meeting (Monday 3 February)

Chaired by Mr Emmanuel Jenje, GTS President. Mr Alphonse Barancira, Minister for Human Rights attended the meeting. Participants discussed the situation in Ruyigi Province and discussed a possible mission. OCHA met Ruyigi provincial authorities (6 February).

10. OCHA field visits and meetings

A meeting was held with the local authorities regarding IDP issues in Bujumbura Rural Province. OCHA conducted a provincial contingency plan meeting in Ruyigi (6 February).

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/.