Southern Africa: IRIN News Briefs, 29 February

Report
from IRIN
Published on 29 Feb 2000
MOZAMBIQUE: Chissano appeals for more aid
Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano described seeing dead bodies in the rising flood waters after he over flew affected areas on Tuesday, news reports said. He appealed to the international community for additional assistance and said more people would die in the next few hours unless the rescue operation was expanded.

Chissano said the currents were so strong as fresh waves of water coursed down already flooded rivers that boats could not be used.

NAMIBIA: Heavy rains

The tail end of Cyclone Eline drenched central and northeastern parts of Namibia on Monday, a report by 'The Namibian' said.

Riaan Van Zyl at the Weather Bureau in Windhoek said the current rainfall is "connected" to Cyclone Eline, which devastated Mozambique last week. Van Zyl forecast that the heavy rain would "last for another 36 hours".

ZIMBABWE: Mugabe promises government aid

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Monday pledged government assistance to victims of last week's storms as he toured the affected areas, the official 'Herald' newspaper reported.

"You must believe in your government that it is there to help you. We will help all the affected people, as we have always done in the past, without looking at their race or political affiliation," Mugabe announced.

"There is now need to assess the quantities of grain being held in the Grain Marketing Board silos as most crops were washed away," he added.

ZIMBABWE: White-owned farms invaded

Law and order broke down in farming districts across Zimbabwe on Tuesday after police reportedly ignored continuing invasions of white-owned properties by ex-liberation fighters armed with axes, spears, clubs and knives, news reports said.

Landless peasants led by former guerrillas forcefully occupied at least 26 farms in nine districts, the reports quoted the Commercial Farmers' Union as saying.

Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri said the invasions were "beyond the police," the state-controlled 'Herald' said. "It's a political issue. What do you expect the police to do?" he was quoted as saying. The invaders threatened white farmers and their families and broke fences and gates, the union said.

AFRICA: De Beers guarantee "rebel free" diamonds

Diamond seller De Beers said on Tuesday that its raw stones are to carry a guarantee that they are not being used to fund rebel groups fighting in Africa.

De Beers said in a statement that its invoices would certify that none of its diamonds had been bought in breach of a United Nations resolution outlawing the purchase of diamonds from rebel fighters.

In the statement the company said that the guarantee would be introduced from 27 March. It would state: "The intake of diamonds being purchased by De Beers and its associated companies and being sold into the market through the sight system does not include any diamonds which come from any area in Africa controlled by forces rebelling against the legitimate and internationally recognised government of the relevant country."

[ENDS]

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