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Angola announced on 12 August that it would arrest the Rwandan genocide suspect, Augustin Bizimungu, who has been discovered among disbanding UNITA fighters who had gathered at a demobilisation centre in the country, Angolan media reported.

"Bizimungu is one of 68 Rwandan military [men] who, like another 583 soldiers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo [DRC], formed the foreign forces illegally stationed in DRC territory fighting institutions of the Angolan state," the Angolan state-owned news agency, Angop, citing a government communiqué, said.

Angop reported that Bizimungu would be handed to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), in Arusha, Tanzania. The US government has offered rewards of up to US $5 million for information leading to the arrest of nine suspects believed to be living in the DRC, Bizimungu being one of them. (Source: IRIN)


The Burundian cabinet has been debating a bill proposing the establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission, somewhat along the lines of a similar body set up in South Africa following the end of its apartheid era, a local news agency reported. The content of the bill is based is based on recommendations made by a ministerial committee.

The undertaking to set up a truth commission was included in the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Burundi of 28 August 2000, which eventually led to the inauguration on 1 November 2001 of a transitional power-sharing government of Hutus and Tutsis: (Source: IRIN)

Meanwhile despite the sense of urgency expressed at the opening ceremony of the ceasefire talks, the first week of discussions between the Hutu rebel groups and the Burundian transitional government ended on 8 August without much real progress having been made, officials involved in the talks said.

Talks between the government and the Conseil Nationale pour la defense de la Democratie-Force (CNDD-FDD) of Pierre Nkurunziza, the first of the groups due at the negotiations, had been adjourned, and although there seemed to be more of an understanding between the groups and talks were taking place in "a good environment to go forward", discussions on the draft ceasefire proposal had not yet begun, they added.

While an official from the Burundian embassy in Dar es Salaam said that "no progress" had been made during the week, the South African facilitators were less pessimistic on what remains to be done. "We trust that the outstanding issues will be resolved soon, to allow agreement to be reached between the two parties," Jacob Zuma, the South African deputy president and chairman of the talks, said at the end of the proceedings on 9 August. (Source: IRIN)


The mandate of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) has been adjusted to include mine clearance and administrative and logistical support for the field offices of the independent Boundary Commission, the UN reported. A resolution adopted by the UN Security Council recently stated that the adjustment would permit UNMEE to assist in the "expeditious and orderly" implementation of the Boundary Commission's decision on the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea It demanded that UNMEE be allowed full freedom of movement and that the relevant parties immediately remove all restrictions on the Mission's personnel. The Council also appealed to the parties to exercise constraint, and to refrain from unilateral troop or population movements until the demarcation and orderly transfer of territorial control had been accomplished. (Source: IRIN)


Liberia's government said on 9 August it had recaptured the northern town of Voinjama, which rebels of the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) had been using as a field headquarters. The town, which is the capital of Lofa County, is 270 km north of the capital, Monrovia.

Diplomatic sources said there was no immediate confirmation of the government's claim but confirmed that the government had driven back the rebels towards the Guinean and Sierra Leonean borders. They said government troops were also fighting the rebels in Bong County, which is east of Lofa and also borders Guinea.

Liberian Minister of Defense Daniel Chea was quoted by news agencies as saying on 9 August that Voinjama was retaken after three days of heavy fighting. Voinjama had been captured by rebels and retaken by government three times before. Sources said it was unclear whether the rebels had been driven out of the town or had retreated on their own. President Charles Taylor, who has been visiting the frontlines, was said to have coordinated the re-capture. (Source: IRIN)


The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) sponsored Somali reconciliation conference is scheduled to convene on 16 September, in the town of Eldoret, western Kenya, A Kenyan foreign ministry official told IRIN. An IGAD technical committee completed its report this week, after ending a fact-finding mission to Somalia, during which it held talks with theTransitional National Government (TNG) and all other groups. The committee, whose membership comprises representatives from the front-line states of Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia, was established by the foreign ministers of the IGAD member states when they met in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, in February. Its mandate includes monitoring the Somali peace process and drawing up the terms of reference for the forthcoming conference, determining the criteria for participation and deciding on the number of participants.

A regional analyst, however, told IRIN that the 16 September date was too optimistic, and that more time was needed to prepare. He pointed out that the technical committee had "only two days ago presented its report", which would have to be approved by the IGAD Council of Ministers, expected to meet soon.

"Everybody is talking about holding the conference, but no-one seems interested in the outcome", said one Somali source. "Unless we want to hold a conference for the sake of a conference, more time is needed for it to be successful."

The talks, which are expected to bring together the TNG and other Somali parties, had originally been scheduled to take place in April, but were then repeatedly postponed. (Source: IRIN)


The Ugandan authorities have said they are seeing a marked improvement in security in Katakwi District, eastern Uganda, since the government launched a disarmament programme in the neighbouring Karamoja region in December 2002. However, "The New Vision", Ugandan government-owned newspaper reported on 7 August that suspected Karamojong warriors had attacked a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Okoboi, Katakwi District, killing two people and leaving four critically wounded. In the incident, on 12 August afternoon, about 80 warriors attacked the camp, which was being guarded by 13 members of the Local Defence Unit, and stole 140 head of cattle, according to the paper. People in the camp had expressed fears of the possibility of another attack, it added.

Asked by IRIN on 8 August to comment on the report, Martin Owuor, assistant commissioner for disaster management within the Office of the Prime Minister, noted that the attack having been the first of its kind for more than a year was indicative of marked progress in the government's efforts to disarm the Karamojong community. "To me, this is a good progress. It is the first attack in a year. It means that the disarmament process is effective," he said.

The Karamojong, a pastoralist community living in the north eastern districts of Kotido and Moroto, which constitute Karamoja region, have repeatedly been accused of raiding neighbouring districts, notably Katakwi, causing displacement and untold human suffering. As a result, by early this year, about 80,000 people were living in IDP camps in Katakwi District alone, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs humanitarian update for January 2002.(Source: IRIN)

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