DR Congo + 3 more

IRIN Update 874 for the Great Lakes

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UNITED NATIONS
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Integrated Regional Information Network
for Central and Eastern Africa
Tel: +254 2 622147
Fax: +254 2 622129
e-mail: irin@ocha.unon.org

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Villagers flee Interahamwe attacks

Thousands of people have been displaced in the Kalonge area of South Kivu as a result of recent attacks on their villages by groups of armed men, independent sources in the region told IRIN. The most recent reported attack took place on Wednesday evening at Lulamboluli village near Bukavu, with the attackers stealing livestock and goods, burning houses and raping women, the sources said. "Several people were beaten severely and left for dead," one source told IRIN. Those fleeing have accused the Interahamwe militia of carrying out the assaults, the sources reported.

DRC: Displaced children severely malnourished

Most people in the Kalonge area have left their villages as a result of attacks since late December, with an estimated 15,000 internally-displaced people (IDPs) now in Katana health zone and 9,000 in Kabare, the sources said. There is also an unverified report of 6,000-8,000 more displaced at Walungu, and an undetermined number of IDPs have arrived in Bukavu, they stated. Humanitarian sources said most of the Kalonge IDPs were living with local families and working in the fields of the host population to survive. With the influx of IDPs into Kabare, the price of some staple food items has more than doubled, making life more difficult for both the displaced and local residents, they said. A recent nutrition survey indicated that 7.8 percent of the displaced children in Kabare were severely malnourished, the sources added.

DRC: Attack disrupts vaccination campaign

Meanwhile, an international NGO said that a three-day vaccination campaign it was undertaking in South Kivu's Katana health zone last month could not be completed because of an attack on a health centre in Kajeje, some 20 km from Bukavu, on 15 February. At least three people, including a teenage girl, were killed in the Kajeje attack. The local population, together with many IDPs from Kalonge who had sought refuge in Kajeje, had now moved into Kabare. In addition to burning houses and beating people, the Kajeje attackers took hostages and stole vaccines, the NGO told IRIN.

DRC: More haemorrhagic fever

Six more cases of Marburg haemorrhagic fever have been confirmed from the Watsa area of Province Orientale, WHO said on Thursday, citing the results of tests conducted by the National Institute for Virology in South Africa. In a statement, WHO said all six new cases had occurred in adult men, of whom three had died. It was not yet known whether the new cases were gold miners working in nearby Durba, the statement said. Marburg infections in miners in Durba were first diagnosed in April 1999, but were believed to have begun as early as November 1998, it added.

DRC: Nigerian police to ensure talks' security, Minister says

Nigeria has sent 52 police officers to Kinshasa to provide security for rebel leaders invited to a national consultative meeting launched on Tuesday by Congolese religious groups, news agencies reported. Interior Minister Gaetan Kakudji, presenting the Nigerian policemen on state television on Thursday, said the officers had arrived in the capital on
Wednesday to give "maximum protection" to any rebel leaders showing up for the talks. Congolese rebel leaders have so far declined to attend, saying the meeting constituted an attempt by President Laurent-Desire Kabila to undermine planned inter-Congolese negotiations called for in the Lusaka ceasefire agreement. But Kakudji said the presence of the Nigerian police should "reassure those who are still afraid," AFP reported.

Meanwhile, Kabila said several African heads of state who had been invited to Kinshasa to participate in the talks' opening could not attend because they had been informed too late, Congolese television reported. "They even asked me to postpone the meeting, but because the initiative was taken by religious leaders, I did not want to ask for a postponement," Kabila said on Tuesday.

DRC: SADC ministers review crisis

Defence ministers from the 14 countries of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) began a two-day meeting in the Zimbabwean capital Harare on Thursday to review the crisis in the DRC, news agencies reported.
Zimbabwean Defence Minister Moven Mahachi said the meeting would "map out strategies on the best way forward in the search for permanent peace", AFP reported.

RWANDA: ICTR asks Belgium to extradite suspect

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Thursday officially asked Belgium to extradite genocide suspect Augustin Ndindiliyimana, the Internews agency reported from Arusha. Ndindiliyimana, who was arrested at his Belgian home by police last month, is facing 11 counts including genocide and rape. He is implicated in a plan to disarm
and kill 10 Belgian peacekeepers guarding the-then Rwandan prime-minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana, who was also murdered. ICTR prosecutor Ken Fleming said the tribunal's request was a procedure "but it's a big step". "We can't prosecute him if we haven't got him," he stressed.

RWANDA: US to deport genocide suspect

Meanwhile, the US has authorised the extradition of another genocide suspect, Pastor Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, news organisations reported. US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright signed the extradition papers on Thursday and US officials said Ntakirutimana would soon fly to Arusha, Tanzania, where the ICTR is based. The 75-year-old pastor, who fled to the US shortly after the 1994 genocide, is accused of involvement in the deaths of Tutsis in Gishyita commune, Kibuye prefecture, by encouraging them to take refuge in a church before they were massacred there.

BURUNDI: More regroupment camps closed

Two more regroupment camps in Bujumbura Rural were closed by the Burundian authorities this week, humanitarian sources told IRIN on Friday. Kinonko site was dismantled on Wednesday and Matara site on Thursday. Nearly 7,000
people from the two sites went home under cover of darkness for fear of attack, the sources said. NGOs are to visit the returnees and assess the situation. Meanwhile, in Maramvya, where a camp had already been dismantled, an inter-agency assessment mission provided non-food items - such as jerry cans, plastic sheeting, soap and cooking pots - to the returnees.

UGANDA: Army denies looting allegation

The Ugandan army has reacted angrily to a story in the government-owned newspaper 'The New Vision' that implicated the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) in a racket involving stolen vehicles. "The deputy army commander has already issued a statement denying The New Vision story. There is no way the army leadership can condone organised crime," Captain Shaban Bantariza, army spokesman for western Uganda, told IRIN on Friday. 'The New Vision' on Thursday reported that 16 stolen four-wheel drive vehicles and other merchandise and cash were loaded onto two cargo planes that left Old Entebbe Airport last Friday to the DRC. It said the planes returned to Uganda loaded with timber and coffee.

Nairobi, 3 March 2000, 15:00 gmt

[ENDS]

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