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War and Peace


The rebel Conseil national pour la défense de la démocratie-Forces pour la défense de la démocratie (CNDD-FDD) and the government army accused each other on 10 December of numerous violations of the ceasefire agreement they signed on 2 December.

"Yesterday we used artillery to free our positions that were encircled by FDD rebels on edge of the Kibira Forest in the province of Bubanza," Col Augustin Nzabampema, the army spokesman, told reporters in the capital, Bujumbura.

"We in the army have problems observing the ceasefire 100 percent because we cannot distinguish between [the CNDD-FDD] rebels of Pierre Nkurunziza, Jean Bosco Ndayikengurukiye and Alain Mugabarabona - the three who signed the ceasefire - from those of Agathon Rwasa [of the Front national de liberation], who did not," he added.

For its part, in a communiqué, the CNDD-FDD condemned what it described as the army's "blind bombardments, which have been the first violation of the ceasefire agreement" signed in Arusha, Tanzania. The rebels called on the international community, the Burundi ceasefire facilitation team and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni (who chaired the regional summits on Burundi) "to condemn the bombardments and urge Major Pierre Buyoya to respect, at least once, his undertakings". (Source: IRIN)


The government of the Republic of Congo (ROC) filed a petition on 9 December before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) seeking to prevent France from trying ROC Interior Minister Pierre Oba for crimes against humanity and torture. France had no right to exercise its authority on the territory of ROC, which was an equal sovereign state, an ICJ statement quoted the petition as saying. Moreover, a warrant issued instructing police to examine the ROC President Denis Sassou-Nguesso as a witness violated the "criminalimmunity of a foreign head of state".

The case against several key members of the ROC government was brought in December 2001 by a French-based human rights body, the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues. The procedure named Sassou-Nguesso, Republican Guard commander Blaise Adoua, and Army Inspector-General Norbert Dabira, among others.

The allegations stem from May 1999, when thousands of Congolese who had fled fighting in ROC chose to return to the capital, Brazzaville, taking advantage of a "humanitarian corridor" established by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Numerous sources at the time reported the "disappearance" of over 350 of the returnees. (Source: IRIN)

Cote d Ivoire

The French government hopes that an international investigation would be established to bring to book those responsible for the killings of people buried in mass graves either already uncovered or are suspected. "We hope the perpetrators will be held accountable for their actions before a court of justice. Impunity in Côte d'Ivoire must end," French foreign ministry spokesman Francois Rivasseau told journalists on 10 December.

He said France remained engaged in Cote d'Ivoire and encouraged all initiatives that might move the discussions forward with a view to achieving a political settlement to the crisis. "In short, we are working hard and we are very involved," he added.

Villagers in Monoko-Zohi near Vavoua town in western Cote d'Ivoire said that some 120 of their relatives were killed and buried in the grave after "men in uniform" invaded the village, news organisations had reported last week.

Rebels of Mouvement Patriotique de Côte d'Ivoire (MPCI) had blamed government troops for the massacre and had threatened to pull out of the negotiations in Lome, Togo. The government has absolved itself from the killing in Monoko-Zohi and conversely accused the MPCI. (Source: IRIN)

Horn of Africa

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld flew to Djibouti on 10 December after agreeing with Ethiopia to coordinate the fight against terrorism. Rumsfeld, who met Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in Addis Ababa on 9 December said both countries should work closely to counter terrorist activities. The defence secretary is on a 28-hour whirlwind tour of the Horn of Africa visiting Eritrea, Ethiopia and Djibouti. Meles said terrorist activity in the region was on the rise. Earlier this week he accused a Somali-based Islamic organisation, Al-Ittihad, of being behind last month's twin bomb attacks in the Kenyan holiday resort of Mombasa. He said the organisation was linked to the Al Qaeda network. (Source: IRIN)

Cote d ivoire

Five West African heads of state are to meet on 16 December in Kara, Togo, to discuss the crisis in Cote d’Ivoire and efforts to resolve it, according to a report on the official Togolese website, RepublicofTogo. The five presidents are John Kufuor (Ghana), Omar Bongo (Gabon), Olusegun Obasanjo (Nigeria), Abdoulaye Wade (Senegal) and Togo’s Gnassingbe Eyadema. Eyadema heads a contact group of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) that has been mediating between the Ivorian government and the rebel Mouvement Patriotique de Cote d’Ivoire (MPCI).

The mediation effort followed a 17 October ceasefire signed by the rebels, who occupy much of the north and centre of the country, and accepted by the government.

While the two sides reached agreement on some of the rebels’ demands, they have failed thus far to agree on political issues. (Source: IRIN)


Burundian rebels killed at least 19 rural folk on 11 December in Kiliba, South Kivu, eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). A survivor of the incident, told the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC) that Hutu rebels of the Forces nationales de liberation (FNL) had kidnapped 20 people while they were harvesting rice in Rukoko - close to the Burundian border - demanding a ransom of US $100 for each. He had witnessed a total of 19 of the peasants being killed, he said, before he managed to escape. (Source: IRIN)


The Military Coordination Commission (MCC), which brings together military leaders from Ethiopia and Eritrea, met in Nairobi on 11 december after an eight-month gap, the UN announced. The 14th MCC meeting, chaired by Legwaila Joseph Legwaila, the head of the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), discussed the peace process between the two countries following their 1998-2000 border war.

Participants focused on the military situation in the buffer zone between the two countries, known as the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ). (Source: IRIN)

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