From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
All Africa News Agency BULLETIN No. 06/03, February 17, 2003
Worldwide Faith News <email@example.com>
Sun, 16 Feb 2003 11:34:00 -0800
All Africa News Agency BULLETIN No. 06/03, February 17, 2003 (A)
All Africa News Agency
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Acting Editor -Elly Wamari
Acting Editor - Silvie Alemba
Leaders Sign New Agreement For Troops Withdrawal
DAR ES SALAAM (AANA) February 17 - Presidents Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of
Uganda and Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have
agreed on a complete withdrawal of Ugandan troops from DRC by March 20 this
According to a communiqui issued at the end of two-day talks between Yoweri
and Kabila, troop withdrawal would begin February 17 in accordance with an
agreement signed in Dar es Salaam, Monday February 11.
The agreement, which is an amendment to last year's Luanda Accord on troop
withdrawal from DRC, intends to provide for a new framework for the work of
an Ituri Pacification Commission (IPC), expected to start operations on
Ituri is a district in Orientale Province in north-eastern DRC. The
Commission's work is scheduled to be completed in March, the communiqui said.
Host President Benjamin William Mkapa of Tanzania witnessed the signing of
the agreement at the climax of a two-day consultative summit held in Dar es
Among the officials present were Uganda's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign
Affairs Minister, James Wapakabulo, DRC's Foreign Affairs Minister, Leonard
She Okitundu, and Angolan Minister for External Relations, Mr Joao Miranda
also signed the agreement as witness. The last two were also signatories
to the agreement.
President Museveni promised to continue working together for peace, when
asked to comment on his country's commitment towards the agreement. "A
child does not grow overnight, nor did a shamba yield fruits the very day
it was planted," answered President Museveni adding, "One has to sweat for
any sweets they crave for."
His DRC counterpart trod on similar ground, insisting that peace was top
priority to his mineral rich country. "The on going looting of resources
in the DRC by local and foreign elements is secondary. What we need more
than anything else is peace," he said. "Human life is at stake here, you
know," he added.
The two leaders held a press conference after their meeting, expressing
optimism that the amendment to the Luanda Accord signed in Angola last
September 6 would be fruitful.
The consultative meeting was prompted by the deteriorating security and
humanitarian situation in Ituri region caused by renewed hostilities
between armed factions.
According to the calendar of the Accord, Uganda troops, which President
Museveni confirmed to be 2,000, would withdraw from Bunia by March 20, two
days after re-establishment of an administrative authority in Ituri.
It was agreed that the IPC preparatory committee be composed of two
representatives from DRC, two from Uganda and two from United Nations
Mission in DRC (MONUC). Four representatives would come from other
stakeholders in Ituri region.
Reported by Daniel Benno Msangya
Worried Pygmies Now Seek Government Protection
ITURI, DRC (AANA) February 17 - Pygmies in Ituri district in eastern
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have asked the government for protection.
They want those who have committed crimes against humanity to be taken to
court. Their community is allegedly a major victim of reported cases of
wanton murders and acts of cannibalism.
The appeal was made public recently, after a seminar held towards the end
of last month by human rights activists in Kinshasa.
One of the delegates, Nzoki Amzati revealed his horror after witnessing
acts of cannibalism committed by rebels aligned to the Movement for the
Liberation of Congo (MLC). "From my hiding place, I saw a group of armed
men removing a heart from a dead body of a child and roasting it on fire
before they ate it," said Nzoki.
More than thirty pygmies came from Ituri to participate in a seminar on the
protection of human rights, organised by two non-governmental organisations
namely Ipakala Foundation and International Centre for the Defence of the
Rights of the Batwa.
Among them, were also eight pygmies from neighbouring Congo, whereas the
remaining 22 were delegates from Bandundu, Katanga and Eastern provinces in
DRC. The pygmies were enlightened on different issues about human rights,
after which they sought protection against being harassed.
"There is need for the government to come up with clear policies that
protect the rights of pygmies. How come wild animals have protection, but
pygmies, who are human beings like us, do not," said Prosper Noirabo, one
of the organisers of the seminar.
Reported by Claire Mbombo
Relations Between Batswana And Zimbabweans Worsen
GABORONE (AANA) February 17 - The rapid economic decline in Zimbabwe,
characterised by rising unemployment, has precipitated an influx of
economic refugees from Zimbabwe into Botswana, creating a conflict between
nationals of the two neighbours.
The worsening relations came into the fore following the death of two
Zimbabwean inmates and a Motswana at Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital in mid
January. The three died from injuries they sustained in a fight between
Zimbabweans and Batswana at the Francistown Maximum Prison. Prison warders
failed to control the fighting and police and army personnel had to be
Although the police is yet to conclude investigations into what led to the
fighting, it is an open secret that relations between Zimbabweans and
Batswana is deteriorating at an alarming rate.
In another incident, three Zimbabweans were seriously injured at the
Gaborone Bus Rank when fighting broke out on January 20 between the two
groups. Again, police are still investigating the cause of the fighting but
some reports claim that a Zimbabwean was caught wearing clothes stolen from
The Batswana have openly accused Zimbabweans, most of them illegal
immigrants, of stealing. And of late, they have also accused the
Zimbabweans of spreading the highly contagious foot and mouth disease.
It is claimed that the immigrants, who use illegal entry points, escape the
thorough check-points that have been erected along the Botswana's highways,
where travellers have to disinfect leather products. But the Zimbabweans
claim that their Batswana neighbours, including police officers, harass
them and do not accord them justice.
Analysts warn that as the economic and political problems in Zimbabwe
continue to multiply, its nationals will continue to flood Botswana,
causing further hostilities between nationals of the two countries. This
is feared may consequently drive a wedge into the two countries' diplomatic
Opposition parties in Botswana, most of them who have attacked the
government for "having a soft spot" for foreigners, are likely to join the
bandwagon of those bashing Zimbabweans.
Reported by Kholwani Nyathi
Regional Faiths Lay A Foundation For Dialogue
NAIROBI (AANA) February 17 - Representatives from various religions in East
Africa have laid a foundation for dialogue across faith communities in the
At a one day seminar held here on February 8, participants suggested
forging an inter-religious forum for East Africa, with legal and other
accreditation given by the East African Community.
According to Dr Johnshon Mbillah of the Program for Christian-Muslim
Relations in Africa (PROCMURA), such efforts towards dialogue should
include all religious groupings, "but tread carefully where theological
principles are concerned".
The inter-religious seminar brought together delegates from various
Christian churches, and representatives of Islamic and Bahai faiths under
the theme Healing Nations. "In the Christian-Muslim encounter, there are
those who gather and those who scatter," said Dr Mbillah.
"Cooperation is about those who gather. [But] we cannot afford to leave out
the bigots and the zealots. Bring all on board," he went on.
Participants examined what aspects of religion caused friction among
believers, and which promoted unity. They proposed to promote the latter.
The seminar was sponsored by German-based organisations: Bread for the
World, Misereor, and the Islamic Community Milli Gvr|s, represented at the
seminar by Dr Mustafa Yoldas.
It was organised by Chemchemi ya Ukweli (Chemchemi), an interfaith
organisation in Kenya training people in active non-violence.
Chemchemi was given the mandate to liase with inter-religious organisations
in Uganda and Tanzania towards establishing the regional body, and explore
possibilities of holding a follow-up conference in about a year. Already
in each East African country, there are inter-religious organisations or
achievements attributed to such joint efforts.
Uganda has an Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU), formed in 2001. A
second one, Inter-Religious Program (InterPro), has a regular publication
The Christian-Muslim Commission for Peace, Development and
Conflict-Resolution in Tanzania (TUWWAMUTA), had its first official
consultation in 1999, while in Kenya, different faiths have achieved much
in social and political spheres, under an umbrella body, Ufungamano.
The Nairobi seminar could be a product of an October 21-23, 2002
international conference in Germany, that sought to explore possibilities
of initiating dialogue between Christians, Muslims and adherents of other
faiths, at all levels of society in Africa.
It came amid growing friction between Christians and Muslims in Kenya over
proposals for exclusive courts for Muslims in a new draft constitution, yet
to be adopted.
Reported by Henry Neondo
Humanitarian Crisis Looms In Rebel Infested Region
KAMPALA (AANA) February 17 - Humanitarian situation in northern Uganda is
becoming catastrophic as the World Food Programme says it is short of
nearly 90,000 tonnes of food to feed displaced people.
An assessment covering the first six months of 2003 indicates that World
Food Programme (WFP) needs 108,000 tonnes of food valued at $59m to feed
800,000 IDPs (internally displaced persons) and 150,000 refugees, but that
there is a pipeline shortfall of 87,329 tonnes. Consequently, the agency
has drastically cut down on food supplies.
"WFP has been forced to completely suspend cereals distribution to IDPs in
northern Uganda and reduce cereals distribution for refugees by 50 percent
due to serious cereal pipeline shortfall," a January-June 2003 WFP report
released on January 29 said.
The UN agency is sceptical about the efficacy of government peace
programmes in the region.
It states that the two-pronged approach by Uganda government's to eliminate
Joseph Kony's Lords Resistance Army (LRA), which includes peaceful
negotiations and military operations in southern Sudan and northern Uganda
respectively, is unlikely to improve humanitarian situation.
"There is continued presence of IDPs in the camps and increased
vulnerability, and also widening food gaps for drought affected communities
and refugee settlements affected by LRA," the WFP report says.
The government, however, says it is on top of the situation. Military
spokesman Major Shaban Bantaliza says only 500 rebels remain, compared to
3,000 at the beginning of operations against LRA in March last year.
President Yoweri Museveni has predicted that 2003 will be a peaceful year,
and that LRA will be no more by April.
Uganda government is confident that Sudan will extend support to its
forces, Uganda Peoples' Defence Forces (UPDF). A ministerial delegation
left for Khartoum on February 5 for a three-day meeting to review progress
in bilateral relations and seek ways of strengthening it.
Meanwhile, pressure is building up to compel the government to hold
dialogue with for rebels. Six Ugandan Members of Parliament from northern
Uganda recently visited London and lobbied the British government to put
pressure on Uganda government to talk to LRA.
International agencies, non-governmental organisations and the Catholic
Church also favour peace talks.
Reported by Crespo Sebunya
Ivory Coast: UN Security Team Challenges Leaders
ABIDJAN (AANA) February 17 - The United Nations (UN) Security Council has
challenged both the Ivorian government and rebel leaders, who signed a
peace accord in Paris between January 25 and 26, to work hard for the
success of the peace deal.
The historic peace accord, brokered by the French government, was signed
between Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo, and rebel groups that have been
challenging authorities in Abidjan on political leadership.
The Security Council's resolution 1464 allowed both France and the Economic
Commission for West African States (ECOWAS), to deploy peacekeepers for a
period of six months, to keep peace during this critical time as a means of
implementing last month's peace accord.
Reaffirming the importance of preserving sovereignty, territorial integrity
and unity, the Security Council called on the UN Secretary General, Kofi
Annan, to put in place an effective way to ensure smooth implementation of
the peace accord.
Besides, the Security Council called on France and ECOWAS, to regularly be
informing the UN Secretary General on various aspects of the application of
their mandate on the ground.
France has an estimated 3,000 soldiers in the country, assigned to protect
French citizens and other foreign nationals, and to police a shaky
cease-fire. Some are camped between tense government soldiers and defiant
The UN Security Council appealed to the neighbouring countries of Ivory
Coast to support the peace agreement and avoid any action that would derail
the current process.
In particular, the team raised concern over movements of rebels and
mercenaries, and trafficking of both light and heavy arms along the Ivorian
boarders, and called for immediate attention.
Meanwhile, the recently appointed prime minister, Seydou Diarra, a former
diplomat who held the same post under a military junta in 2000, has began
putting together a coalition government aimed at bringing peace to the
Under the terms of a French-brokered peace deal, Diarra is charged with
assembling all political groups in a reconciliation government designed to
bring peace to the country, after nearly five months of civil war that has
left thousands dead.
Diarra's return to Abidjan coincided with the arrival, on February 11, of
UN special envoy, Albert Tevoedje, in the country. Tevoedje was appointed
early this month to help oversee the Paris peace plan.
Reported By Claire Mbombo and Osman Njuguna
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