An extract from "The Washington File - Africa edition"
From MAREK Business Briefs 4 Apr 2000
Mozambican sugar production is affected by flooding. PANA reported on March 14 that all of Mozambique's operational sugar companies have been badly affected by flooding. Only Marromeu the province of Sofala was mostly unaffected. The target of producing 310, 000 tons of sugar by 2005 is not possible.
The severe floods lashing Southern Africa over the past six weeks have had localized impacts on some markets in Mozambique, but no discernable regional effect on white maize prices or price expectations.
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Technical support for the establishment of TradeInfo-Africa is provided by USAID's Food Security II (Michigan State University) project and the European Commission's Food Security Network (Resal).
Late-breaking editor's note: Our mst recent report says that the USAF MC-130P is airborne at this time conducting a reconnaissance mission looking for thesed 20,000 people. Guillaume de Montravel, the UN's senior liaison officer in the area, is said to be abaoard. We will keep you informed.
USAF's MC-130P Combat Shadow in Mozambique
It is still an open question whether this aircraft spotted 20,000 stranded Mozambicans or not. For sure the aircraft is flying today to confirm the reports making the rounds that such a group exists.
The point she has made, however, is not trivial, and will require Africans to come to grips with their hangover from the colonial period and the realities of the demands created by emergencies --- logistics, logistics, logistics.
Mozambique's former first lady, Graca Machel, while flying over her flood ravaged country, angrily attacked the West for its slowness to respond to her country's flood emergency, saying:
"It seems the world has no conscience when it comes to human life."
Burundi is a country mired in eternal war, with no obvious way out. Everything in Burundi is dictated by the rebels --- people cannot work the fields because of the rebel threat, they cannot fish because of the rebel threat, they cannot live in their homes in the Bujumbura area because of the rebel threat, they cannot get out of the regroupment camps because of the rebel threat, and many cannot even live in refugee camps on the other side of the border because of the rebel threat there. The rebel threat controls everything in Burundi.
Angola today stands as a real testimony to what happens when you just don't give a damn
January 25, 2000 - The dos Santos government has been boasting of victory after victory, it has told the world it has nearly completely destroyed the UNITA rebel capacity to fight -- the figure used by General de Matos was 80 percent of UNITA's warfighting capacity destroyed --- Savimbi's arrest was said to be imminent, and most of Angola was said to be successfully reclaimed.
Yet, the reports continue streaming in that describe a far different picture, one of continued refugee flows …
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Congo Republic government have started an operation to integrate Rwandan refugees into Congolese society. IPS reported on December 21 that the operation, which has already begun, is intended to ensure that Rwandan refugees who fled to the republic more than two years ago are fully integrated socially and economically into the society. A total of 345 Rwandans from the refugee camp at Loukolela, 600 kilometers north of the capital Brazzaville, were transferred to the villages of Boleko and Bokouango in the La Cuvette region.
Angolan military forces (FAA) have announced the capture of the traditional UNITA stronghold at Jamba in southeast Angola, and say they have secured the entire border with Namibia, meaning that UNITA will be hard-pressed to fall back into Namibian territory. AP has reported that Namibian Defense Forces (NDF) participated with their FAA ally in the operation. Reuters reported on December 27 that Angolan state radio said 200 UNITA soldiers were captured in the process.
Machete-wielding Rwandan rebels attacked a resettlement camp in northwestern Rwanda, hacking to death at least 30 people and injuring scores of others. AP reported that the attack occurred in Tamera, a village 50 miles northwest of Kigali, on the DR Congo border. Most of the victims were civilians. The rebels allegedly crossed over from Congo on December 23 and attacked during the evening hours. An army patrol arrived too late to do any good. It was the first such attack inside the country since Rwandan troops crossed into Congo in August 1998.
UN Security Council hears warning of potential violence against Tutsis in South Kivu, the Kabila government charges Rwanda buried 15 women alive in the east, and Kinshasa moves to a full war footing
There are plentiful ways to die in Burundi, and now a cholera epidemic in the squalid displaced peoples' camps in the country are killing as well. Louis Kamwenubusa reported for Reuters on December 14 that an outbreak of cholera in the controversial camps in Burundi has cost at least 48 lives in the last week and aid workers fear the epidemic could spread quickly. The Burundian army has forced an estimated 330,000 citizens, mostly from Bujumbura, into more than 50 of these so-called "regroupment" camps in the hills surrounding Bujumbura since September.
Albert Siassia and his French-born wife, Annie Siassia have filed a suit in the Paris tribunal against President Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Congo Republic for atrocities committed against them during the civil war before they fled to France in December 1998. Also accused are Nguesso's two serving ministers and army generals. Ruth Nabakwe reported for PANA on December 15 that all of Siassia's property was looted by the soldiers who attacked his farm claiming that he acquired the property under Lissouba's regime.
Understanding the situation on the ground in Angola remains almost impossible for the public at large. Xinhua has reported, however, on November 30 that Angolan rebels have launched a new round of raids on government targets, attacking the town of Waco Kungo and ambushing tanker trucks belonging to the state oil company Sonangol. An official source said that Angolan government forces and UNITA rebels are currently engaged in "violent combat" around the town of Waco Kungo, which is on the Luanda-Huambo road, about 300 km south-southeast of Luanda.
How can this be? Angola's oil discoveries are said to be major, the price of oil is now over $25 per barrel, and the government says it has routed UNITA and is pushing for the final kill
Reuters reported on November 22 that UN estimates now are that fully one sixth of the Angolan population, or roughly 1.8 million citizens, has been displaced during the past year of fighting. Reuters also said the UN estimates that as many as 200 people die each day from starvation.
These are remarkable figures.
Six years of fighting, 20 percent of the population displaced, 200,000 dead
More than 100,000 Congolese displaced and up to 7,000 dead in fighting since summer, all on Uganda's doorstep in the Ugandan zone of occupation
It appears nine are dead, seven wounded from violent attack at Muzye refugee camp in southeast Burundi
The chief of UNICEF Burundi, the second in command of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) in Burundi, the Director General of Burundi Sugar Corporation and six others were shot and killed today in the latest of a series of attacks outside Bujumbura.
Pope John Paul has described the Angolan war as one of the worst humanitarian crises in Africa and the Pope warned that it threatened to engulf the entire region. Reuters reported that Pope John said specifically, "Ever more worrying news reaches us from Angola where, because of civil war, one of the most serious humanitarian crises is developing in silence and with no respect for human dignity.