Namibia + 5 more

Southern Africa: IRIN News Briefs, 18 February

SOUTH AFRICA: Mbeki to join Mandela in Arusha
South African President Thabo Mbeki will join former president and mediator Nelson Mandela in Arusha, Tanzania, for peace talks on the Burundian conflict.

Presidential spokesman, Parks Mankahlana, told IRIN on Friday that Mbeki's participation was in support of Mandela's mediation efforts. "We are giving substantial support to the peace process in Burundi. It shows the interest we have," Mankahlana said.

Mandela has also invited regional heads of state and world leaders such as US President Bill Clinton and French President, Jacques Chirac, to the peace talks. Media reports said this week that Clinton and Chirac would most likely address the talks via a video conference system.

NAMIBIA: Human rights abuses

Human rights monitors in the Kavongo region in northern Namibia say that between eight and 14 people have been abducted by suspected UNITA rebels in two separate incidents in the past three weeks, the Namibian Society for Human Rights (NSHR) said in a statement on Friday.

The NSHR said that in one incident a number of people were taken by gun point when their village, Shinyungwe, about 230 km from the main border town of Rundu, was attacked. The statement said that several people were injured in three landmine explosions when they attempted to track down the suspected UNITA attackers.

In another incident the rights group said that two Namibian teenage girls were abducted and were allegedly being held at Mura inside Angola, about 40 km north of the Kavongo river. The NSHR said that it called upon all warring parties in the area, "to strictly observe international human rights and humanitarian law."

NAMIBIA: Opposition calls for talks on Angola war

Ben Ulenga, the leader of Namibia's opposition party the Congress of Democrats (CoD), has called on the Namibian government to assist Angola's warring parties to establish lasting peace through negotiations, news reports said.

Ulenga was quoted as saying: "The best and most lasting reward Namibians can offer the Angolan people for supporting Namibia throughout our liberation struggle, is by helping our neighbours find each other again and establish lasting peace through negotiations."

"It is meaningless to seek peace by making more war. Brothers cannot make peace with one another through killing each other. We should support efforts for peace, there is no single justification for this war to continue," he told a press conference in Windhoek.

MOZAMBIQUE: USAID gives US $450,000 to flood victims

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) says that it is to give US $450,000 to assist flood victims in Mozambique.

"We are looking into what else we can do to relieve the suffering of those whose lives have been impacted so greatly," USAID administrator, J. Brady Anderson said at the National Summit on Africa in Washington. USAID is the US government agency responsible for worldwide distribution of humanitarian and development assistance.

The Mozambique government said earlier this week that it estimated that it would need about US $15 million to fully rehabilitate flood-stricken areas. It said that US $2.7 million was needed for the initial emergency response.

ZIMBABWE: Bank workers to strike

Zimbabwe's 8,000 banking workers have threatened to go on strike next week if employers do not meet their demands for a salary increase, media reports said.

An official of the Zimbabwe Banking and Allied Workers Union, Collen Gwiyo, was quoted as saying: "There has been no progress in the talks."

Gwiyo said the only way that employers could avert a crippling nationwide strike would be to offer workers a salary increase. The workers are demanding a cost-of-living salary hike ranging between 25 and 30 percent because of a sharp rise in the cost of living emanating from galloping price increases of basic goods and services, Gwiyo added.


IRIN-SA - Tel: +27-11 880 4633
Fax: +27-11 880 1421

[This item is delivered in the English service of the UN's IRIN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations. For further information, free subscriptions, or to change your keywords, contact e-mail: or Web: . If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer.]

Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2000