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Last update: 1 July 2022 h. 10:44
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War and peace


Preliminary reports from the UN Office in Burundi shows that 170 people have been killed and between 6,000 and 7,000 civilians displaced since rebels began attacking the capital, Bujumbura, from July 7.

In a statement issued from the UN headquarters in New York, Hua Jiang, the deputy spokeswoman for Secretary-General Koffi Annan, said the figures were given on July 10 in a report to the UN Security Council during a closed-door meeting.

The new director of the Africa I Division of the Department of Political Affairs, Haile Menkorios, briefed the council on the latest rebels attacks on Bujumbura.

Fighters loyal to Agathon Rwasa's faction of the Forces nationales de liberation have been shelling the city since July 7. The Burundian army was reported to have responded, and that it had killed 15 rebels.

After the meeting in New York, Council President Inocencio Arias, who is also the Spanish ambassador to the UN, said the council members strongly condemned the offensive on Bujumbura, and called for the unconditional and immediate end to the attacks. (Source: IRIN)

Central African Republic

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in the Central African Republic (CAR) has set aside 10 million francs CFA (US $17,988) to assist some 2,000 people who have returned home since June, the agency's country representative, Emile Segbor, said on July 10.

He said the agency had identified health centres and schools in four neighbourhoods in the capital, Bangui, to receive the aid. These are the areas where most of the returnees settled when they arrived in the country. "Drugs will be distributed to health facilities and will certainly benefit other residents," he said.

He added that the drugs would be dispensed free of charge for a certain period, and that the UN agency has been paying for medical tests, treatment and drugs for returnees who fell ill after their repatriation. He said that special attention would be paid to the vulnerable among the returnees.

In June, the agency repatriated from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo about 2,000 refugees who had been living there since June 2001. About 200 were repatriated from Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of Congo (ROC), where some 100 more are yet to be repatriated. (Source: IRIN)


The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) repatriated on July 10 197 Republic of Congo refugees from neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), following assurances from Brazzaville authorities that their safety would be guaranteed.

Concern for the refugees' security is based on the events of May 1999, when thousands of Congolese who had fled fighting that had plagued Brazzaville since 1998 chose to return to the capital, taking advantage of a "humanitarian corridor" established by UNHCR.

UNHCR has registered 1,774 refugees in DRC who fled civil war in the Republic of Congo in 1999. Since the March 17 signing of a peace accord between Ntoumi and Brazzaville, there have been two prior but smaller rounds of refugee repatriations from Kinshasa to Brazzaville: the first on April 17, when 20 Congolese were returned, the second on June13, when 42 Congolese were returned. (Source: IRIN)


The independent claims commission, which is looking into post-war claims by Eritrea and Ethiopia, has announced partial awards regarding the issue of prisoners-of-war. In a lengthy document issued on July 8, the commission - which sits at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague - made awards to the parties after they filed their claims regarding the treatment of their POWs. All prisoners were finally released in 2002.

Both sides were found liable for issues such as failing to take measures to stop the abuse of POWs, and in Eritrea's case for failing to protect Ethiopian POWs from being killed upon capture or immediately afterwards. Eritrea was also found liable for subjecting Ethiopian POWs to "unlawful conditions of labour".

They were both found liable for "endangering the health" of POWs at certain camps, and for "depriving prisoners of footwear during long walks from the place of capture to the first place of detention".

Ethiopia was found liable for subjecting Eritrean POWs to "enforced indoctrination" from July 1998 to November 2002 in the camps of Bilate, Mai Chew, Mai Kenetal and Dedessa, and for delaying the repatriation of 1,287 Eritreans in 2002 for "longer than was reasonably required".

The Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission was established by the Algiers peace agreement of December 2000 to rule on claims for loss, damage or injury by the governments and by nationals of the two countries. Its arbitration is binding.

The two countries fought a bitter two-year border war from 1998 to 2000, sparked by a skirmish in the border town of Badme. Tens of thousands of people died on both sides. (Source: IRIN)


The Nigerian army is putting two battalions with 1,600 troops on standby for possible deployment to war-ravaged Liberia as part of a regional peacekeeping force, the Nigerian army spokesman, Colonel Chukwuemeka Onwuamaegbu, said.

President Olusegun Obasanjo, the spokesman added, gave the order last week. "We are working round the clock to ensure they are ready and we're prepared to deploy in under two weeks," he said on July 11.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) this week said it planned to deploy at least 1,500 troops in Liberia within two weeks to secure a fragile ceasefire brokered by the regional body and protect civilians from further clashes between rebels and troops loyal to embattled President Charles Taylor.

Taylor, who has been indicted for war-crimes by a United Nations court in neighbouring Sierra Leone, is under pressure from the rebels and the US government to quit power. On July 13 he accepted an offer of asylum in Nigeria.

However he said would step down from office and leave the country only after an international force, preferably led by the United States, arrives in Liberia "to prevent chaos". He also insisted that the indictment against him be lifted.

The chairman of ECOWAS who is also President of Ghana, John Kufuor, was quoted by Reuters as saying in Maputo, Mozambique that he hoped an initial force from Nigeria, Ghana, Mali and perhaps Senegal would land in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, by about July 20.

The force would be followed by more contingents from ECOWAS and perhaps also from South Africa and Morocco. Kufuor said. After Taylor's departure and the deployment of a peacekeeping force, a transitional administration would lead Liberia to elections to be held as soon as October 2004, he added.

Kufuor also said Nigeria's offer of asylum for Taylor would not make Taylor legally untouchable for life. "The impunity principle is an eternal principle. After all, how long did it take the war criminals of World War II to get arrested and prosecuted?" Kufuor said.

"If it is found that anybody committed genocide anytime I'm sure that the international legal system could come into operation against such a person," he added.

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