From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
ALL AFRICA NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN January 20, 2003 (A)
Worldwide Faith News <email@example.com>
Sun, 19 Jan 2003 09:59:23 -0800
ALL AFRICA NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN January 20, 2003 (A)
All Africa News Agency
P. O. BOX 66878 NAIROBI, KENYA.
TEL: (254 2) 442215 FAX: (254 2)445847/443241
Editor - Mitch Odero
Acting Editor - Silvie Alemba
Khartoum Govt Deals A Major Blow To Peace Talks
NAIROBI (AANA) January 20 - Sudanese peace talks last week hit a snag when
Sudan government introduced new conditions at the eleventh hour.
The talks, which were due to resume on January 15 could not take off as
Khartoum insisted on changes regarding mediation.
Well-connected sources told AANA that Khartoum wanted a shift from IGAD
(Inter-governmental Authority on Development) mediation, stressing that
they would rather the Kenya government steered the process and not IGAD.
It could not be confirmed why Khartoum was introducing fresh conditions,
which appeared could stall the peace negotiations.
Asked for comment, Special Envoy to IGAD, Lieutenant General Lazaro
Sumbeiwyo, said "There is nothing to say".
He was evidently stressed after what appeared to have been a crucial
telephone conversation, where he was overheard saying: "These are the same
people who want their problems solved, and they are the same ones again who
are dictating who should broker the talks."
Envoys from the Troika governments - Britain, Norway and United States had
arrived at the meeting venue in time to observe the resumption of the
talks. The discussions had last November been postponed to allow
participants time for the December festive season.
Kenya's foreign affairs minister, Kalonzo Musyoka, appeared at the venue,
set to open the talks. The SPLM/A delegation showed up in time for the
meeting, but the government delegation was prominently absent.
The Sudan Ambassador Mr Ali Numeiri, claimed the government had not
received an invitation to the meeting. "Until this very moment, on this
very day, the 15th of January, our delegation in Khartoum is still awaiting
an invitation," he said in a press statement.
But IGAD sources confirmed to AANA that the parties involved had been
invited in good time.
As we were going to press last week, the date for a scheduled meeting had
not been confirmed.
Speaking to AANA, the Sudan embassy spokesperson, Osama Mahgoub, said the
government was working out a new proposal for the next round of talks, and
that it would continue to be in contact with the mediator (IGAD).
The venue was changed from Machakos to a different location within the
suburbs of Nairobi.
IGAD has been involved in the Sudan peace initiative for the last decade,
during which Kenya's former president Daniel Arap Moi chaired the talks.
It was expected that among the items on the agenda would be an appointment
of a new chairman.
United States was understood to have issued conditions to Khartoum
government last year that the peace process must be completed early this
year, or otherwise it would take drastic action.
The directive seems to have added impetus to the peace talks last year,
enabling the Machakos 1 and Machakos 2 processes to be accomplished.
Concerned circles recalled that the only peace Sudan has ever had was after
the Addis Ababa peace pact brokered by the All Africa Conference of
Churches (AACC) jointly with the World Council of Churches (WCC), which
provided a peace reprieve from 1972 to 1983.
Accordingly, some of the concerned parties were suggesting that AACC/WCC
should come aboard once again in search for peace in the Sudan.
There have been calls from the civil society, churches and other armed
groups in the Sudan seeking to be involved in the peace process. They
contend that leaving the process to only two parties is a gamble that
cannot be relied upon.
The calls were made during a meeting in Kampala, Uganda, last year. The
meeting had been organised by the New Sudan Council of Churches (NSCC).
Reported by Joyce Mulama
UN Team Investigates Alleged Acts Of Cannibalism
NORTH KIVU, DRC (AANA) January 20 - A six-man team from the United
Nations sent to North Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo
(DRC) to investigate alleged cases of cannibalism has completed its
The team concentrated more in Beni region, where rebels aligned to the
Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) and its ally, Rally for
Congolese Democracy-National (RCD-N), had been accused of "eating" pygmies.
Beni area is said to be currently accommodating between 80,000 and 120,000
internally displaced persons.
Bishop Melchise Sikuli Paluku of Beni-Butembo blamed both MLC and RCD-N
for the reported cases of cannibalism in the area.
"Some internally displaced persons had earlier on reported that rebels had
eaten a number of pygmies, while some people held by the rebels had had
their own ears, big toes and other parts of their bodies eaten up", Bishop
Paluku is reported to have told a eucharistic Mass, held in Beni on January
The investigators interrogated more than 200 displaced people, most of whom
were victims of these violations and had witnessed some cases of summary
Latest reports indicate that the team has already presented their findings
directly to the UN Security Council in New York.
Both leaders of the rebel Movements, Mbusa Nyamwisi of the RCD-Kisangani
and Jean-Pierre Bemba have not condemned the alleged acts but have promised
to punish those involved
Reported by Clare Mbombo and Elly Wamari
Humanitarian Situation Worsens As Conflict Intensifies
CONAKRY/ABIDJAN (AANA) January 20 - A humanitarian crisis looms in West
Africa as clashes in the western part of Ivory Coast and recent violations
of the cease-fire in the north displace an estimated 400,000 persons.
The Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says key
humanitarian needs in Ivory Coast such as medicines, medical equipment and
the retention of medical staff in and around the war zones are in a
Hospitals in rebel-held areas are depleted of supplies and lack
staff. Food aid is needed in cities such as Bouakh, as well as for
displaced persons on the move in Daloa, Deukoue and Yamoussoukro.
A joint assessment team from the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and Action
by Churches Together (ACT-International) in Guinea observed recently that
incoming refugees from the Ivory Coast experienced psychological and social
trauma that needed to be addressed.
The team, LWF/ACT Mental Health and Trauma Healing Program in Guinea,
accordingly said that an emergency counselling service will be established
at transit camp level for the purpose.
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) recently appealed
to the Ivorian government to protect lives of thousands of displaced
persons caught up in the current clashes between the government and rebel
In a communiqui issued in Abidjan on January 7, the UN agency called on the
Ivorian government to find a new and safe place for thousands of refugees
living within the 40-kilometre " war zone" in the western side of the
According to the UNHCR, most of the refugees preferred to be transferred to
Nicla. The camp initially sheltered an estimated 5,000 refugees but the
number has now swollen to 8,000.
Elke Leidel, LWF Guinea Program Coordinator, however said: "the average
number of arrivals per week is decreasing," noting that by December 27,
2002, 3575 refugees were registered by the UNHCR at the border entry points
Ivorain refugees are transferred to Nonah transit camp, which as of 30
December, 2002, had registered 2100 people. Liberians are sheltered in
Laini camp, which is currently hosting about 7500 refugees.
Meanwhile, fresh information indicate that a new transit centre for the
displaced persons has been established.
The port of San Pedro, situated about 368 kilometres Southwest of Abidjan,
will now offere shelter to thousands of victims of the Ivorian conflict.
According to some humanitarian sources in San Pedro, many displaced people
have already arrived at the new transit centre on feet, having fled the
country's economic capital of Abidjan.
Local authorities and non-governmental organisations are reported to have
embarked on offering humanitarian assistance, but some sources say that it
is becoming difficult to avail all the basic needs to the growing numbers
of the displaced people.
Reported by Diana Mavunduse (ACT Press Officer) and Claire Mbombo
Agencies Team Up To Bring Relief To The Displaced
SHOWA, Ethiopia (AANA) January 20 - A number of humanitarian organisations
have expressed concern over growing numbers of internally displaced persons
here, and have stepped in to offer relief aid.
Members of Action by Churches Together (ACT-International) namely Norwegian
Church Aid (NCA) and Christian Aid, together with their local partner, the
Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY), are working to bring
relief to about 34,000 internally displaced people currently living in
While Christian Aid is focusing on supplementary feeding and health
services, the Norwegian Church Aid is assisting mainly in food
distribution. "We have to cover a 10 hour journey to reach the Showa camp
from Addis Ababa," said Arne Saeveraas, NCA country director in a recent
The situation in the area has been complicated by the uncertainty created
by the Ethiopian government, on whether the internally displaced persons
should be allowed to settle in the area, or sent back.
"We have been in fairly tough negotiations with the state on the future of
the 34,000 IDPs (internally displaced persons) whose numbers are growing
daily. We are waiting for their decision, but we will continue to provide
relief to the people," says Saeveraas.
The Norwegian Development Minister was due to visit Ethiopia some time last
week. "We hope that the minister will be able to visit the camp and also
tackle the issue concerning the IDPs in the area," said Saeveraas.
Meanwhile, ACT, which is a world-wide network of churches and related
agencies meeting human needs through coordinated emergency response, has
issued an appeal of US$ 27,030,875 million to bring relief to the
estimated 6.8 million people affected by drought in Ethiopia.
SOURCE: Diana Mavunduse, ACT Press Officer
Kenya's Education Sector Receives A Major Boost
NAIROBI (AANA) January 20 - Kenya's education sector received a boost last
week when the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) contributed US
dollars 2.5 million in support of the government's new policy of free
The UNICEF fund, which will be put to use in the next three months is to
benefit over 450,000 children and will assist to buy learning material for
class 1 to 3 in eight districts including Nairobi.
The UN body will also support the government to accelerate efforts
undertaken in the past year to train 5,000 teachers and participate in the
improvement of primary school classrooms as well as water and sanitation
UNICEF has pledged its total support to the Kenyan government initiative of
free primary education, which has seen some 1.5 million children previously
out of school turn up to attend classes.
"The new government's education initiative is a milestone and we are
heartened at the speed with which the government has moved to fulfil its
election promise and the provisions of the Children's Act," UNICEF
Representative Nicholas Alipui said in a press statement released on
UNICEF's contribution was announced as a stormy meeting between school
heads and Ministry of Education officials went on to discuss how public
schools would accommodate the overwhelming demand for enrolment of pupils.
School heads took the Ministry of Education to task to explain whether
there was a policy guideline on how free primary education would be
In particular, they requested the government to come out clearly on how
street children and over-age children who had turned up for enrolment would
Meanwhile, a veteran Kenyan journalist, Mitch Odero, who is also the
information consultant for the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC),
has called on parents and teachers to assist the government to implement
the free primary education policy.
He said this was necessary, now that the nation had realised that over 50
percent of school-going children had been staying away from school due lack
of school fees.
Odero observed that lobbying both locally and internationally should be
intensified to seek support for the education sector, noting that since the
government had shown goodwill for free education, the donor community
should immediately resume aid to Kenya for the government to streamline the
Reported by Herman Kasili
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