From the Worldwide Faith News archives

All Africa News Agency BULLETIN No. 06/03, February 17, 2003

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Sun, 16 Feb 2003 11:34:00 -0800

All Africa News Agency BULLETIN No. 06/03, February 17, 2003 (A)

All Africa News Agency
P. O Box, 66878, 00800 Westlands
Tel: 254-2-4442215, 4440224
Fax: 254-2-4445847, 4443241
Email: ,

AANA Bulletin
Acting	Editor -Elly Wamari	

Bulletin APTA
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 
February 25.

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 
called in.

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 
a Motswana.

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 
titled Together.

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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