DR Congo

Daily Emergency Highlights on Eastern Zaire

News and Press Release
Originally published
This report has been produced to fulfill the information requirements of the UNDHA Geneva Taskforce on Eastern Zaire and the UNDHA mission in the Great Lakes region. The report attempts to fill the gaps resulting from time delays and should not be viewed as a replacement of coverage from either IRIN or UNDHA New York. This report is a summary not a copy of news and wire stories. All sources are cited.
Humanitarian Situation

WFP Director stresses need for military support

WFP's Executive Director, Catherine Bertini is currently in Rwanda and intends to meet with the Government of Rwanda and aid agencies' officials. (20 November 1996 WFP). She stated that 700,000 refugees are still unaccounted for out of the 1.2 million that were being fed in the camps prior to the crisis. 100,000 refugees appear to be moving north along Lake Kivu to Goma. Mrs Bertini stressed the need for military support to reach refugees who have moved further west and a need for the disarmament of Hutu militia and former soldiers. (20 November 1996 Reuters 22:02)

Journalists report Bukavu calm

20 journalists were allowed into Bukavu yesterday, under armed escort in a former WFP truck. The town appeared calm, shops were shut but the market was open. There was no sign of looting with the exception of the aid agencies' depots. The rebel Zairean soldiers appeared well armed and disciplined. Aid agencies were not granted permission into Bukavu. (20 November 1996 AFP 18:29)

Rebels extend control

A rebel spokesman said that fighting continued around Minova, but confirmed that the rebels now had control of Sake and Masisi. He said that Kalehe and Katana refugee camps north of Bukavu were still being used as bases by armed Hutu militia. A large concentration of people are reported north of Bukavu. (20 November 1996 IRIN)

UNHCR release figures

The UN Regional Humanitarian Coordinator released UNHCR figures of returnees to prefectures: 165,388 to Ruhengeri; 163,913 to Gisenyi; 138,130 to Kigali and 108,382 to Byumba. Many are on their way home and there is a need for transportation. (20 November 1996 WFP)

Refugees reported south of Uvira

An NGO with contact in Kalemie, south of Uvira has told IRIN that area was calm. Several thousand IDPs and refugees were in the town and a few were believed to be outside. All require food and shelter. (20 November 1996 IRIN)

Border to open

A rebel radio station stated that the border between Bukavu and Cyangugu would be open as of 20 November and a statement signed by the rebels declared that local people would be allowed to move around to obtain supplies from both sides of the border. (20 November 1996 IRIN)

Tanzanian refugees moving west

UNHCR said the refugee population in the Kigoma region of western Tanzania had more than doubled in the last two weeks. (20 November 1996 IRIN)


US track refugees

The US are using satellites and Orion planes to track the missing refugees. (20 November 1996, Reuters 20:04) However, the estimates appear to conflict with those of the Canadian and French Governments. (20 November 1996 IRIN)

Food packages distributed

High Energy Biscuits are being distributed at way stations and food commodities have been distributed to the hospital at Umubano camp. WFP are distributing monthly returnee packages to the returnees in Byumba and Kigali Rural prefectures but not in Gisenyi prefecture where agreement with local authorities has not been reached. NGOs and the Rwandan Government are implementing partners of WFP for distribution in the communes. Aid agencies trucks were requisitioned for the transport of returnees to the home communes. (20 November 1996 WFP)

WFP Trucks arrive

A WFP trucking fleet (40 trucks) has arrived in Kampala from the Pakistan/Afghanistan operation and will be in Kigali from 22 November. (20 November 1996, WFP)

UN increases Human rights observers

60 UN volunteers have been identified, funded mainly by the Dutch Government, for human rights monitoring in Rwanda. (20 November 1996, IRIN)


US plane under fire

A US Navy P3 surveillance plane (Orion) appeared to come under fire south of Goma from anti aircraft fire. The plane was out of range. (20 November 1996, AFP 21:48)

Tutsi's rally support

At a rally in Goma yesterday, Tutsi rebels restated their commitment to continue on to Kinshasa and to oust Mobutu Sese Seko now they were no longer blocked by refugees. Little enthusiasm was shown however, by the crowd. (20 November 1996, AFP 19:29) The military leader of the Zairean rebels also revealed plans for taxation to fund schools and hospitals. (20 November 1996 Reuters 20:04)

Uganda's border clashes are with Sudan

Uganda has claimed that the heavy fighting in the Kasese area on the border with Zaire was coordinated from Sudan and not from Zaire as had been previously reported. 230 people have been killed in the clashes. (20 November 1996, IRIN)

International Responses

Diplomats meet in New York

60 countries participated in a meeting at UN headquarters in New York on Wednesday to discuss the proposed international force. Most expressed a continuing need for a force in some form with the exception of Rwanda, who now remains adamant that there is no longer a need. (21 November 1996, Reuters 02:41) Strong support for the force came from France and Spain. Participation by the Netherlands would probably be on the condition that the mandate would include disarmament of militia (20 November 1996, Reuters 18:33)

Rwandan Diplomats and UNHCR clash over figures

Rwandan representatives state 1 million refugees had now returned, while Soren Jessen Petersen, UNHCR, suggests more than 700,000 remain in Zaire. (21 November 1996, Reuters 02:41) At a press conference in Kigali on Wednesday, Rwanda Vice President Paul Kagame accused the aid agencies of inflating the numbers of refugees still in Zaire. (20 November 1996 IRIN)

Saturday's meeting to focus on resettlement

Canada's Minister for International Cooperation, Donald Boudria, will head this Saturday's meeting to focus on the reintegration of the refugees into Rwanda and the coordination of aid. It will not be a pledging meeting. The US will be represented by USAID Director, Brian Atwood. Europe, Japan, Australia, the OECD and Rwanda will attend at ministerial or junior ministerial level. The World Bank, UN agencies and ICRC will also attend. (21 November 1996, AFP 01:53) Zaire is not invited. (20 November 1996 Reuters 20:02)

Agencies warn against forgetting refugees

Aid agencies warned against forgetting the plight of those Rwandan and Burundian refugees still stuck in Zaire and those in Tanzania. (20 November 1996, AFP 19:29)

Regional Responses

Zairean army head suspended

General Eluki Monga, the chief of the Zairean army has been suspended by Kinshasa for opposing military international intervention. The Government of Zaire has indicated that it sees the international force as assisting its recovery of its territory lost to the rebels. (21 November 1996, Reuters 01:32)