News and Views on Africa from Africa
Last update: 1 July 2022 h. 10:44
Subscribe to our RSS feed
RSS logo

Latest news


War and Peace


At least 25,000 Angolan refugees have been returned to their home country since the start of the voluntary repatriation programme run by the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The returns have been organised by UNHCR in cooperation with the governments of Angola and countries of asylum.

"Returns from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) continue to lead with nearly 14,000 Angolans returning to date, followed by Zambia at close to 10,000 and Namibia with almost 2,000," a UNHCR statement said.

UNHCR said it was planning to increase the pace of returns over the next month in advance of the rainy season in October/November.

The organisation estimates that about 75,000 Angolan refugees will be assisted to return home this year under the voluntary repatriation operation. "UNHCR's total budget for the operation is US $29.5 million in 2003. To date, UNHCR has received US $20 million from various donors, including the United States, Japan, Germany, the European Union, Denmark and Sweden," the agency noted. (Source: IRIN)


Mozambique and South Africa, two of the three countries contributing African Union (AU) peacekeeping troops to Burundi, will only deploy all of their contingents when the number of rebel combatants reporting to cantonment centres increases significantly, South African Defence Minister Patrick Mosiwo Lekota said on September 11.

"We are ready to deploy, even Ethiopia [the third country] is ready to deploy troops, but we have to watch whether the numbers of cantoned combatants justifies the deployment of a large number of peacekeepers," he said, at the end of a one-day visit to the Burundian capital, Bujumbura.

He was with the Mozambican deputy defence minister, Henrique Banze. The two were in the country to discuss with AU officials the funding of the peacekeeping force, known as the African Mission in Burundi (AMIB). They were also in the country to inspect the cantonment process.

"We must deploy the troops when we see that many former combatants are coming forward for cantonment," Lekota said. "We will also be guided by the response of the ex-combatants."

Cantonment and demobilisation of former rebel fighters began at the end of June, as part of the implementation of ceasefire agreements signed in 2002 between the transitional government in Burundi and various rebel movements. (Source: IRIN)

Central African Republic

Fifteen experts from the UN Peace-building Office in the Central African Republic (BONUCA) and other UN agencies have been taking part in preparations for the national conference scheduled to start on September 15.

BONUCA announced on September 12 that that the contribution of UN experts as well as logistic and financial support, yet to be determined, were a result of consultations between the dialogue coordination team and the UN system, headed by the UN Secretary-General's representative to the country, Lamine Cisse.

President Francois Bozize officially launched the national dialogue on September 9, saying that its "ultimate goal is to ensure the return to a constitutional democracy within a realistic timeframe".

The dialogue was first initiated in November 2002 by former President Ange-Felix Patasse who Bozize ousted on 15 March. The National Transitional Council, a law advisory body set up by Bozize, excluded Patasse from the talks to be attended by 350 delegates. (Source: IRIN)


A national human rights NGO in the Republic of Congo has said that an amnesty bill for Ninja militants who fought government forces in the Pool region in the south of the country is not sufficiently inclusive and could, therefore, prove an obstacle to genuine national reconciliation.

In a commentary published on September 11 in its newsletter, Lumiere, the Congolese Human Rights Observatory (Observatoire congolais des droits de l'homme - Ocdh) called the amnesty "selective", saying it excluded opposition politicians currently in exile.

"Reconciliation should first of all involve the protagonists of conflict in the Congo, namely current President Denis Sassou-Nguesso, his predecessor, Pascal Lissouba, and Lissouba's former prime ministers, Yhombi Opango and Bernard Kolelas, and others," Ocdh said. "It was due to them that war erupted, it is through them that we must put it behind us."

Ocdh said that the bill, which speaks primarily of Ninjas, would also be applicable to government forces, as well as allied militias and mercenaries. Furthermore, it would allow the most serious war crimes and crimes against humanity to go unpunished. (Source: IRIN)


Seven Uruguayan soldiers of the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) are under investigation for allegedly stealing sacred objects from a church in Bunia, the main town in the eastern district of Ituri, UN spokesman Fred Eckard said On September 11 in New York.

Quoting the UN's Department of Peacekeeping Operations, he said the objects, among them a chalice, were found in the men's camp following the allegation of theft from the church earlier in the week.

He said the soldiers would be transferred to Kinshasa, the Congolese capital, and could be repatriated to Uruguay for disciplinary action by their military authorities if the allegations against them were true.

UN News said that the reports by the Board of Inquiry and the Military Police would be concluded soon.

The Uruguayans are among 2,500 MONUC troops from Bangladesh, Indonesia and India deployed to Bunia. There are also 280 Pakistanis and 800 more of them expected next week. MONUC troops are patrolling Bunia's streets and carrying out weapons searches in homes with the intent to clean it of weapons. (Source: IRIN)


The Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) rebel movement has threatened to pull out of a broad-based transitional government that is due to take power next month, claiming there are plans to deny it key government posts.

"There are attempts by some associates of incoming transitional leader Gyude Bryant to stop the warring parties from occupying certain slots given to us in the Accra agreement," Joe Gbala, LURD Secretary General said on September 12.

"They want Bryant to appoint all assistant ministers, which is a violation of the agreement," he added. Gbala formed part of the LURD delegation to talks in Ghana which led to the signing of a peace agreement between the government, LURD and another rebel faction, the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL)on 18 August.

The deal to end 14 years of civil war was signed a week after former president Charles Taylor stepped down and sought asylum in Nigeria, leaving the government in the hands of his deputy Moses Blah. (Source: IRIN)

Contact the editor by clicking here Editor