MINUTES OF INFORMATION EXCHANGE MEETING GREAT LAKES REGION
? FNL comes to the negotiation table: in a very positive development in late April, and following the failure of
previous talks attempts, the leader of Palipehutu-FNL, Agathon Rwasa, in statements from Dodoma, Tanzania,
declared himself ready to negotiate with the Government. He stated that FNL would, however, continue to defend
itself if attacked.
? On 15 May, Rwasa met with President Domitien Ndayizeye in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. In a declaration after
the talks, witnessed by Tanzania's Foreign Minister, Jakaya Kikwete, UN and AU officials, Rwasa agreed to an
immediate end to hostilities. Detailed negotiations - with the Government alone and not separately also with CNDD-
FDD - will start within a month and be undertaken by technical teams. FNL has said it will not take part in the
? Start of Election Process: The President signed a decree calling upon all Burundians fulfilling the law's requirements
to participate in the election of communal counsellors and deputies. Communal elections will take place on 3 June,
parliamentary elections on 4 July, and the Presidential election on 19 August; all under the supervision of CENI. The
communal election campaigns started on 18 May and the situation has been relatively calm to date, although one
incident in which Nkurunziza (CNDD-FDD) was unable to address a crowd reveals some underlying tension.
? Election concerns: a number of parties have expressed concerns in relation to the process on, inter alia, the short
period for registration, whether the schedule conforms with that in the Constitution, the disparity in resources available
to smaller/larger parties (although CENI has indicated that the Government will provide some financial support but
this will be based on coverage of the country). Raddes has indicated that it is withdrawing from the elections as 'it is
out of the question that the party should compete with genocidaires and other criminals.' Security and stability in the
country both during elections, and, given the 1993 precedent, are serious concerns. Regional partners from Canada,
Germany and Japan will all be present in Burundi for the 3 June polls.
? Civilian Disarmament: A presidential decree of 4 May launched a campaign to disarm all civilian populations.
Civilians are to hand over their weapons or face legal consequences. A National Commission in charge of
disarmament has been created to be chaired by the Public Security Minister and assisted by the National Defence
Minister. The programme was officially begun in Gishubi, Gitega, on 9 May by President Ndayizeye. CNDD-FDD
has protested the methodology of the disarmament, saying it should be under the aegis of the United Nations' Mission
in Burundi and all the parties as agreed in the ceasefire and power-sharing agreement signed by CNDD-FDD and the
Government in November 2003.
? Disarmament (DDR): The progress report (Jan-Mar 2005) of the Multi-Country Demobilization and Reintegration
Program indicates that the DDR process is on going, with 5,887 ex-combatants demobilised by the end of March.
However, the completion of stage 1 demobilization is contingent on rank harmonization among the parties.
Reintegration and rehabilitation components require immediate attention.
? Strike Action: Strikes have also reportedly been banned during the election period by Presidential decree. However,
the 32 civil society Trade Unions gave notice of a nationwide strike for an unlimited period on 24 May, asking for the
immediate rehabilitation of the ISTEBU Union Board Committee.
? End of CNDD-FDD/Government stalemate over appointment of Interior Minister: the new minister, Jean-Marie
Ngendahayo was appointed on 8 May, replacing the late Simon Nyandwi, following talks between CNDD-FDD and
the President Ndayizey mediated by Vice-President Zuma in Pretoria, South Africa. This follows a period of tension
over the selection process and averts a confrontation between CNDD-FDD and the Government.
? Security: During April a rise in armed attacks (thefts and murders) in the provinces of Bubanza and Bujumbura rural
and around the capital were reported by WFP. Provincial administration authorities also reported killings blamed on
unknown groups in Mubimbi, Kanyosha, Isale and Nyabiraba. Some improvement has been seen since the FNL
ceasefire. In a Contact Group meeting on 4 May, Governor Ntawembarira of Bujumbura Rural detailed the
considerable security improvement since the end of military clashes, but indicated that there remained unabated cases
of violence, sporadic attacks on military positions, targeted killings of local administration authorities, and household
? Post-conflict insecurity and crime: two reports make this link and are of interest in relation to Burundi - the ISS
document 'We can't eat the constitution': Transformation and the socio-economic reconstruction of Burundi' (attached
to the minutes) and the UNODC report 'Why Fighting Crime can assist Development in Africa: Rule of Law and
Protection of the Most Vulnerable‟, available at: www.unodc.org.
? Deployment of newly-trained police: in a positive move, 300 policemen, who have just completed a 3 month training,
have been deployed in Muramvya, half of whom are former rebels/half ex-FAB.
1 OCHA Regional Support Office for Central and East Africa
Humanitarian Issues ? Rwandans in Burundi: (updated since the meeting) As of 20 May, a total of approximately 8,500 Rwandan asylum
seekers were receiving humanitarian assistance from the Humanitarian Community, although there may be up to
10,000 in the country. It remains unclear how many asylum seekers have dispersed into the local Burundian
? This caseload was reported to have left Rwanda due to fears of Gacaca and a variety of rumours about perceived as
threatening to the Hutu population. The Rwandan Government has asserted that such rumours are baseless. In a press
release from the Government of Rwanda (10 May) it stated that it 'wishes to inform the international community that
these Rwandans are not fleeing any persecution whatsoever. They are simple fugitives from justice not refugees.'
? Initial transfer of the Rwandans by UNHCR from transit sites further into Burundi was halted on 23 April and this
caseload has not been recognised by the Government of Burundi as refugees.
? Currently, approximately 2,200 are in two UNHCR transit centres in Ngozi and Cankuzo provinces, while the others
have gathered in spontaneous sites along the border (where health and hygiene issues are of great concern).
? On 20 May, local administrators in Mihigo and Gatsinda concentration sites agreed on the construction of temporary
shelters and latrines to accommodate Rwandan asylum seekers. The location of these two sites, in the centre of
villages, poses a health threat to both asylum seekers and local populations.
? A sensitisation campaign has been undertaken by jointly by Burundian and Rwandan officials to persuade the asylum
seekers to return home, but response has been extremely timid. The Burundi-Rwanda joint meeting planned for Butare,
Rwanda, to assess the results of the sensitisation campaign was postponed to 25 May.
? Cases of forced repatriation have been reported, and only a few hundred actual returns to Rwanda. At one point,
asylum seekers were reported to have temporarily left some of the sites.
? The Rwandan Minister of Local Government has accused UNHCR of preventing the asylum seekers from returning
home and of transferring them at night to other sites. He also blamed UNHCR for providing humanitarian assistance
to people who are not refugees.
? This sensitive issue is under discussion between the Government of Burundi and representatives of the humanitarian
? Internally Displaced Persons: An April 2005 survey of IDPs indicated that numbers have reduced over the period
2004-2005 from 145,034 to 116,799. There remain 160 IDP sites. The voluntary return movement has been most
marked in the southern provinces. The 2005 survey shows that 58% of the displaced population is concentrated in the
northern and central provinces - Kaynza, Ngozi, Kirundo, Muying and Gitega. IDP will to return is influenced by
security perceptions and concerns. Dennis McNamara, Special Adviser to the Emergency Relief Coordinator on IDPs,
had just completed - at the time of the meeting - a 3-day mission to Burundi and a briefing for regional partners was
scheduled for 25 May at OCHA House.
? Repatriation and Reintegration: As of 5 May, 10,539 facilitated and 808 spontaneous returnees were reported by
UNHCR. The total for the year is 11,167. UNHCR projected figures for return in 2005 are 150,000, but much is
dependent on the political process and security. Burundi's presidential elections take place in August 2005, and
Tanzania's in October 2005 and both may affect refugee return.
? Food Security: Irregular rains have impacted on food production. FAO reports that levels of production for
vegetables and coffee for the season 2005B are expected to be low, but perspectives are better for cereals (rise and
sorgum) for the same season. The first harvest of rice, beans and sweet potatoes started at end April, allowing some
amelioration of food security, but the lack of manioc remains a problem. Food products in he markets remain at very
high rates, with main agricultural products at levels not seen since 1997.
? Food Pipeline: WFP reports that serious shortfalls of cereals are being experienced. Further shortfalls are anticipated
in June. Major pipeline breaks will start in August for almost all commodities. Quick delivery of stocks from regional
purchases remain critical to limit food shortfalls. There is an urgent need to secure new donor contributions for the
period after August.
? Health: Increased levels of admittance for nutritional services were recorded by UNICEF in March 2005. Admissions
rose from 10,611 in February to 12,266 in March. The rise is seen especially in Bujumbura Rural, Kirundo, Ngozi,
Kayanza and Muyinga.
? Elections -The ruling CCM (Chama Cha Mapinduzi) elected Jakaya Kikwete as its presidential candidate for the
Union, Dr Ali Mohamed Shein was named as the running mate. President Karume of Zanzibar has been nominated as
CCM presidential candidate in Zanzibar.Following a series of public „introductions‟ of CCM candidates, the registrar
of political parties, Mr. John Tendwa issued a directive to the ruling CCM party to stop the introduction of its Union
2 OCHA Regional Support Office for Central and East Africa
and Zanzibar presidential candidates countrywide. This was reacted against by the CCM saying that the introduction is a purely CCM internal affair.
? Drought /food security - Drought in northern Tanzania: According to reports by FEWS net substantial rain has fallen and is expected to continue in northern Tanzania. The impact on the food security in the highland regions situation has
not yet been established. th? Flooding in Zanzibar - A two day down pour on 17 April led to sever flooding in low lying areas of the island. The
Urban west regions were particularly affected by the floods. The situation was made worse by the failure of the
drainage system to accommodate the flood waters. Most of the drains were blocked by uncollected solid waste and the
presence of buildings along the storm water channels. Following a house by house assessment by UNICEF the
numbers of households affected is now estimated to be 2000 families, up to 16,000 people. Most of the families are
staying with their neighbors or relatives. 33 families are still placed in Sebleni Elderly Home. Approximately 64
houses in Zanzibar town and 10 houses in rural areas are reported as completely destroyed According to UNICEF
investigations around 2,000 houses in Zanzibar Town have suffered damages and loss of essential material possessions,
such as beds, mattresses and furniture. One of the buildings (closed ward) of the Kidongo Chikundo Mental Hospital
was seriously damaged and the patients are displaced in other parts of the Hospital. Approximately 64 houses in
Zanzibar town were completely destroyed with families displaced. So far 10 houses were reported destroyed in the
? The floods also caused a significant loss to the infrastructure, badly damaging a bridge in the southern locations. The
road system was also affected and some parts remained impassable until the flood water subsided. The water supply
services were disrupted by the flooding. The supply system which is reliant on five boreholes suffered damages to the
pumping system as well as overhead pollution arising from heavily polluted water.
? Two cases of cholera have been reported but no disease outbreaks have been reported by the Health authorities. The
health of the population is still at great risk from the heavily polluted waters in residential areas.
? The 33 families at Sebleni Kwa Wazee CCM branch have received food assistance from UNICEF and latterly by GoZ.
Non food assistance by the Tanzania Red Cross. For those staying with relatives and neighbours (approx 2000
families), 300 families have received supplementary food assistance from the Government of Zanzibar and non-food
from the Tanzanian Red Cross. Red Cross: IFRC supported the Tanzania Red Cross in organizing an airlift of essential
non-food items for 1,000 families as well as water treatment. There is a need to continue the food aid and start the
distribution of building materials. th? The government of Zanzibar conducted a new needs assessment on the 17 May. The GoZ requests emergency
assistance for 16,000 people affected by the floods, for Food, Non food items including building materials and
portable water pumps amounting to approximately 1.4 million US$
? The GoZ has received financial support of 26,304,000/= Tsh. from Aga Khan Foundation and small number of private
companies and local NGOs. The received funding has been fully utilized for food aid. Small numbers of private
companies and private persons have donated food items, second-hand clothing, building materials and water safeguard
chemicals. UNICEF and Tanzanian Red Cross have distributed food and non-food items. Care has donated non-food
items such as clothing and water purification chemicals
? The most pressing short-term need is to help government authorities to contain the risk of Cholera epidemic and other
water borne diseases. It is therefore recommended that support to rehabilitate water systems particularly pumping of
the standing water. Mid- and long-term support could focus on housing and the rehabilitation of public infrastructure. rd? There have also been reports of flooding in Dar es Salaam. 16 people were reported dead on Monday 23 May in sub
? Food security in northern Tanzania. - According to reports by FEWS net, 254,000 people in 13 districts of northern
Tanzania may be affected by food insecurity in April and May. This is due to poor rainfall and low production during
the 2003/2004 cropping season in these areas and in addition poor rainfall in 2004/2005 has affected crop and
livestock condition in north coast areas and northern highlands. FEWS NET has recommended that the government
release approximately 6,100 mt of maize from the Strategic Grain Reserve, for sale at a subsidised price to vulnerable
persons in the 13 districts in April and May, after which the harvesting season is expected to start.
? Food security in western Tanzania - Local media reports (Mwananchi newspaper) have said that over 200,000
resident of Kilosa town (western Tanzania)are at risk of food insecurity following a 16,000 tonne shortfall in food
production as the result of low rainfall.
? Food Ration cut for refugees - WFP has warned that it‟s refugee (2.2 million) operations globally are increasingly
under-funded. The organization says it may be forced to further cuts and that lack of funding is also undermining
3 OCHA Regional Support Office for Central and East Africa
? In Tanzania, a nutritional survey done at the end of last year found that 37 percent of the children under five years of age were chronically malnourished and 23.4 percent were underweight among the 400,000 refugees in the country,
after WFP was forced to reduce rations from the standard 2,100 kcal per person to 1,629 in September 2004. th? HIV/AIDS: On the 10 May, AMREF launched the third phase of a media campaign aimed at promoting voluntary
HIV testing and counseling in Tanzania. The campaign is sponsored by the UN Agency for International
Development (USAID) and involves aggressive advertisements, including posters, radio and television spots calling on
the people to go for voluntary HIV tests and counselling. The theme of the new campaign is "Make the right decision.
Know your HIV status. "AMREF set up a programme known as "Angaza" (Kiswahili language for 'Enlighten') three
years ago, under which centres for voluntary testing and counselling (VCT) were established across the country. So far,
there are 40 VCT centres countrywide.
? Funding - The Global fund to fight TB, AIDS and Malaria has granted Tanzania 157m US$ to support the country‟s
initiatives to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. US$ 54 million are for Malaria. This is the fourth grant to
Tanzania from the global fund ? The government was allocated 79.7m dollars and 54.2m dollars for malaria and HIV/AIDS respectively. Amref
Tanzania gets 13.2m dollars for the care and treatment, PACT Tanzania 7.9m dollars for orphans and vulnerable
children and PSI, which is responsible for the procurement of condoms, will receive 2.3m dollars. In the treatment of
malaria, the grant will be used to procure anti-malaria drugs known as Cortem (a combination therapy drug which the
government has announced it will use instead of traditional first line drugs which are no longer effective) for a period
of three years.
Political/Security Developments ? Adoption of Draft Constitution: The formal adoption of this on 13 May is seen as a positive move. According to
MONUC, it guarantees a balance of power between the executive, legislative and judicial powers. Louis Michel has
praised it as a model with guarantees of democracy, as providing a clear separation between judiciary and executive
power and providing for a 5-year presidential term renewable only once. Of note is the right of women to fair
representation and parity in state institutions. The Constitution will be subject to a political referendum within 6
? Extension of Transition: At the end of April, the Electoral Commission asked Parliament to extend the Transition
beyond June 2005, citing the need to finalise the Constitution and put electoral laws in place. The Extension was
confirmed on 13 May and is likely to be for one year - to June 2006. Kabila has said that 'the election process is
? Tshisekedi reaction: the extension prompted a strong reaction from the leader of the UDPS, who stated that he did
not accept this, the transition ends on 30 June 2005 and that the attempt to extend is a result of lack of activity on
election issues and political unwillingness. He called for dead city protests and demonstrations.
? Violence in Mbuji Mayi: Violent demonstrations took place on 17/18 May. 2 deaths and 12 wounded were reported-
although numbers are uncertain - as police attempted to break up demonstrations. The offices of PPRD (of Kabila),
MLC (of Bemba) and UDPS were burned in tit-for-tat arson attacks. Actual responsibility for the respective attacks is
debated. 4 were reported dead and 9 injured in the burnings. Calm was restored by strong intervention by the police
and the imposition of curfew.
? Monuc deployment: 40 peacekeepers have bolstered the MONUC force there and MONUC is organising a peace
forum with all three parties. They have agreed to participate.
? Alleged Secession Attempt, Katanga: The Government reported this attempt by civilians, military officers (including
members of the Presidential Guard) and says it has been confirmed by investigations of the security services. At least
35 (civilians and military) were arrested in Lubumbashi on 6 May. These included Andre Tshombe, son of Moise
Tshombe who led a Katanga Secession movement in the 1960s. 0n 19 May, there were reports that 15 persons,
including Andre Tshombe, were moved to Kinshasa. On 15 May, ASADHO/Katanga, a human rights organisation,
protested the arrests, arbitrary detention, torture and intimidation and called for the immediate release of the detainees
and documents relating to their arrest.
? Death of UN Peacekeeper: A Bangladeshi peacekeeper died and 5 were wounded in an ambush on 12 May in Ituri,
55 km from Bunia. This is the 17th peacekeeper to be killed in the DRC. Although it is extremely difficult to assign
responsibility (or track shifting alliances between groups), the ambush took place close to an area controlled by the
FRPI, an organisation also believed close to the FNI and that was believed responsible for the ambush in February in
which 9 peacekeepers died. Also on 12 May, peacekeepers exchanged fire with the UPC in Iga Barriere, NE Bunia.
These groups are resistant to the DDR programme in Ituri.
? Security in Ituri: the situation remains extremely volatile imposing considerable constraints to humanitarian access.
The humanitarian community has recently expressed concern about the deterioration of the situation around Kagaba,
4 OCHA Regional Support Office for Central and East Africa
37 km from Bunia, where access is difficult due to the militia presence, and movements of populations (to the southwest) have been reported since late April.
? A MONUC Pacification Mission was launched (including FARDC, church, Hema and Lendu leaders) has been
launched to encourage populations to support the disarmament process and, it is hoped, help improve humanitarian
? Disarmament: 12,275 are reported to have entered the process for demobilisation and community reinsertion in Ituri.
Countrywide, the MDRP reports that the process faces problems of institutional capacity for implementation although
37,266 combatants in Kamina, Kitona, Beni, Buta, Kindu, Minembo and Kinshasa have been identified.
? Insecurity in South Kivu: 2 groups in particular have been identified with attacks - the FDLR (majority Rwandan
Hutu) and the Rastas (mixed Rwandans and Congolese) - and are alleged to have committed summary executions,
rapes, hostage-taking around Walungu, South Kivu. At the same time, the FARDC have been linked to thefts and
looting in and around Bukavu.
? Small Arms: on 17 May a 5-member panel was nominated by the Secretary General to monitor the arms embargo
imposed on E.DRC in Security Council Resolution 1596 on 18 April The Panel will operate until 31 July, when the
Security Council will review its progress.
? Rwanda/DRC Security Talks: were held on 3 May in which it was agreed to pursue the joint verification missions
agreed in October 2004 and establish border posts. The next meeting will be in Kigali in August.
? FDLR. The declaration to end the armed struggle by these Hutu militiamen was signed on 31 March in Rome by their
leader Ignace Murwanashyaka. Despite initial reports of Rwandan preparations for the return of the ex-FDLR and
discussion with Louis Michel on funding for their repatriation and disarmament on 27 April, it is unclear whether this
return will proceed. The FDLR have called for a Commission comprising the international community, Governments
of Rwanda and DRC and the FDLR itself to monitor return. Rwanda has rejected any suggestions of conditions
following the 'unconditional' declaration in Rome. Rwanda has also stated that those who participated in the genocide
will be handed over the relevant authorities. How united the FDLR forces are, and respectively committed to return, is
currently unclear. Some refugee return is, however, being reported.
? Refugees from DRC to Rwanda: An increased number of Congolese refugees to Rwanda have been reported, with
arrivals averaging 50-100 per day.
? Uganda/DRC hearings at ICJ: have been completed, in which the DRC accused Uganda of invading the country,
plundering, looting and causing damage and seek compensation. Uganda claims it was not an occupying power as it
did not claim power of administration and therefore cannot be held responsible. It also claims that the case is
inconsistent with the terms of the 2002 Luanda Agreement, which says that such disputes should be settled mutually.
The verdict in the case is not expected for several months.
? Return of DRC refugees from RoC: the first 100 refugees were moved on 1 May by UNHCR in a logistically
difficult operation to repatriate them to Equateur. 24,000 are expected to return by the end of 2006 and the rest (of
58,000) by end 2007.
? Multi-sectoral assessment missions: These are on-going throughout the East at present. The Mid Year Review
process of the CAP is also underway.
? Health: In Ituri there has been some improvement in the cholera epidemic in IDP sites, with a reduction in cases in
early May. In the period 26.3 - 8.5, a total of 1,633 cases were reported and 27 deaths. In Goma, cholera has also
decreased, but remains in Mutwanga. In Katana, WHO continues to follow on the measles and meningitis epidemics.
There has been some improvement in the later, but measles cases are still reported. In Province Orientale, the second
phase of the polio vaccination (6-57 months) is underway by UNICEF and WHO.
? Food Security: MONUC has raised concerns the impact of food insecurity in Sankuru, Kasai Orientale. WFP has
confirmed that high malnutrition rates have been reported, with 24% malnutrition among children 6-59 months..
There are access difficulties in the province and insecurity and pillaging have impacted on food security. WFP is
planning to establish an office in Mbuji Mayi and an inter-agency mission is planned for 16 May to 3 June. In Uvira,
food insecurity as a result of high commodity prices and roadblocks on roads to markets is reported. In Masisi, banana
disease is affecting this staple crop (the local authorities have requested clean root stock). In Lemera, Baraka, Ruzizi
Plain and Uvira, ACF have reported growing malnutrition rates and WFP is planning an assessment. In South Kivu,
Mosaic virus is a concern (especially in Walungu, Uvira, Kabale, Ile' d'Idjwi) and, in a meeting on 29 April, mapping
the extent of the problem, its impact on food security and facilitating the availability of resistant varieties were
? IDP return: on 23 May, the return by boat of 1,600 IDPs from Kinshasa to Equateur and Province Orientale was
reported. This new method of return is being piloted and is financed by Norway and the UNDP.
5 OCHA Regional Support Office for Central and East Africa
th? FDLR Announcement: On 12 May, leader of the FDLR Ignace Murwanashyaka arrived in Bukavu, a month a half stfollowing the 31 March Rome meeting where he signed a declaration vowing to end the armed struggle against the
government of Rwanda. Murwanashyaka indicated that he would head to the Hombo region (FDLR) stronghold north
of Bukavu, to meet combatants and make them aware of the declaration. The declaration is seen as an important step
towards reducing instability in eastern DRC and surrounding countries. The declaration indicates FDLR‟s agreement
to end the armed struggle against the Rwandan government and to participate in repatriating Rwandans in DRC. The
success of the declaration is far from certain and the same was echoed by ICG in their just released report, “Congo:
Solving the FDLR problem Once and for All”.
? ICG indicates that the negotiations between the FDLR and the Rwandan government could collapse following
indications that the FDLR will try to make political demands. More concretely, FDLR stated that, provided it was
assured of unspecified “measures of accompaniment”, it would transform its struggle from a military to a political one.
The FDLR is advocating for the opening up of Rwandan politics so that it (FDLR) could establish itself as a domestic
political party. The Rwandan government has already stated that this would be unacceptable. The disconnect we see
between the Rwandan government (who was not present at the Rome meeting) and the FDLR is a sign of difficult
? Repatriation: On the repatriation of the FDLR who total 8,000 to 10,000 (with an estimated 15,000 to 25,000
dependents), both the FDLR and the Congolese Transitional Government issued a timetable that envisaged
demobilization would begin by early May 2005 and repatriation would be completed by the end of June. Rwanda has
refused invitations to discuss technicalities, saying that its Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR)
program is already functional.
? Disarmament of the rebels is expected to be undertaken by MONUC, however if the peaceful avenues for disarming
the FDLR are exhausted then the only solution left would be a military one which MONUC has indicated it will not
undertake. The new Congolese army, which would ultimately have to do the job with UN and other international help
in logistics and training, is not yet fully ready but it could make a beginning. The only incentive Rwanda has offered is
a standard and modest demobilization package of roughly US$ 200, regardless of seniority. The AU has expressed its
intention to use force against the FDLR. More recently, the AU has spoken of raising an armed mission of 6,000 to th7,000 to help. MONUC figures as of 6 December 2004 show 11,300 ex-combatants and civilians repatriated to
Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda, of whom 6,975 were Rwandans, including 3,528 ex-combatants.
? Verification Mechanisms: The establishment of a Joint Verification Commission (JVC) created in September 2004 to
monitor allegations of FDLR activity and Rwandan army incursions into the Congo. Its teams are composed of
Rwandan and Congolese army officers, as well as MONUC officials) and a Tripartite Commission (after the Bukavu
crisis in mid-2004, the US sponsored a tripartite agreement between Rwanda, the Congo and Uganda that established
committees to deal with diplomatic and security issues) provides the possibility for genuine cooperation and
confidence building. The JVC brings together Rwandan and Congolese army officers to investigate allegations made
by either country, while the Tripartite Commission convenes leaders from the three countries.
? DRC refugees fleeing into Rwanda: Refugees from north Kivu eastern DRC have been fleeing into Rwanda since
April. The increase in refugees has caused overcrowding in border centres. UNHCR has begun transferring the thexisting refugees to a camp further inland. Since 29 April, UNHCR had moved 567 of the existing 7,500 refugees at ththe border centres in the Rwandan provinces of Gisenyi and Cyangugu. By 18 May, UNHCR hoped to have
transferred 4,000 of the refugees to Nyabiheke camp, in northeastern Byumba province, which is an 8 hour drive from
? Rwandan asylum seekers in Uganda: In the context of the current issue of Rwandans seeking asylum in Ugandan
and other neighbouring countries, Ugandan MPs and human rights activists have urged the Ugandan Government to
tighten extradition procedures to protect refugees and political dissidents. They argue that the current law, i.e. the 1964
Control of Aliens and Refugees Act has victimised refugees and has been abused by governments to get at political
opponents who have fled from neighbouring countries. Ugandan MPs have said that Ugandan should not send back
Rwandan refugees if it established that they are going back to face the Gacaca which they argue is a system that is not
internationally recognized. The MPs urge that all asylum seekers should be given due process o the law before any
decision is made in extraditing them.
6 OCHA Regional Support Office for Central and East Africa
? Food Shortage in Camps: Refugees International has issued a statement in response to the precarious food situation in refugee camps. The organization indicates that WFP requires the support of humanitarian agencies and the UN in
order for WFP to respond to food needs in camps as well as to cater for the potential return of former combatants and
refugees from eastern DRC. Due to a pipeline break, WFP has been forced to cut rations to its recipients by 30% with
CSB rations, which provide supplementary feeding for malnourished individuals, cut from a standard 100 grams to 30
grams. WFP is said to anticipate a complete cut in service in the next few weeks should donor funding not be received
in time to restore the food pipeline. WFP currently assists 53,400 people while the organization had planned to assist
only 34,000. Refugees International therefore recommends that:
? Donor governments immediately provide additional funding to replenish food stocks in Rwanda;
? Upon receipt of these funds, WFP increase distributions to meet the minimum standards of food assistance for
Congolese refugees and returning Rwandan refugees in Rwanda;
? WFP, along with UNHCR, monitor the level of vulnerability of those Rwandans who have returned home and ensure
that they have not become more vulnerable at the end of the three-month ration period.
? The Government of Rwanda and development-oriented UN agencies like the United Nations Development Program
(UNDP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) be ready to monitor and operate in the areas of return in
order to support the livelihood activities of the returning most vulnerable households. A full statement from Refugees
International can be accessed at: firstname.lastname@example.org
? Jan Egeland briefs the Security Council on situation in N Uganda - On 8 May, Jan Egeland briefed the Security
Council on the situation in Uganda. He urged them to restate its support for a peaceful resolution of the crisis, and
demand that the LRA immediately cease its violence and enter into a ceasefire agreement. He noted that the security
situation had deteriorated significantly since the breakdown of the ceasefire negotiations and that the last few months had
seen an increase in the incidents of violence, abduction and mutilation. He also emphasized that reintegration and
resettlement packages need to be made more attractive to act as a pull factor to LRA fighters to surrender. He asked
member states to earmark more resources to develop the necessary programmes for disarmament and reintegration which
could then be broadcast to those fighters who remain in the bush. Following the briefing, the Council president
encouraged the government of Uganda to seek and facilitate a solution to the conflict. She also added that members of
the council condemned atrocities committed by the LRA and called on the rebels to cease all acts of violence and enter
into peace negotiations
? Security - The security situation in northern Uganda is becoming extremely volatile with widespread uncontrolled movement of rebels in small groups abducting children, looting and killing civilians. According to Senior Uganda
People‟s Defence Forces (UPDF) official, the past week was characterized by rebel movement into Pader district, from
the southern part of the district in the belt between Latanya and Adilang. 15 civilians were abducted from Lapeta village,
8 km North East of Gulu town on 7 May and an unspecified number of people were abducted from Purongo areas. The
LRA ambushed a UPDF vehicle along Gulu - Opit road on 9 May and killed three UPDF soldiers. The UPDF has
strengthened security in the camps, but remains very thin on roads and outside camp areas. There appears to be a
shortage of army personnel which is affecting the provision of military escorts to food convoys. It also leaves road users
and civilians extremely vulnerable to LRA attacks.
? Attacks on food convoys - Attacks on food convoys seem to be on the increase. On 18 May, a WFP convoy moving
from Pader to Lira came across a group of LRA rebels crossing the road. The rebels started shooting towards the convoy
and one of the UPDF guards was injured. A theft of 43 tons of WFP food commodities occurred between 2 and 5 May at
Lokwamor, 4Km on Nabilatuk - Moroto road in Nakapiripirit district, Karamoja region following a break down of a
commercial truck trailer. By Thursday, 5 May, local residents had looted all the food on the truck. This is the first time
WFP has incurred a loss of this magnitude in Karamoja region. Due to the increasing insecurity, the UPDF has placed
heavy restrictions on the movement of people out of all the camps to work in their fields. This has restricted local food
production and has increased reliance on food aid.
? Killing of senior LRA commander - The Ugandan army claimed on 18 May that it had killed senior commander
Brigadier Samuel Okullu who has been chief of operations and training in the LRA. He was also a member of the LRA
negotiation team who had met with Betty Bigombe earlier in the year. Reports from the UPDF claim that Okullu was
gunned down on 18 May at Kilak, about 40 km northwest of Gulu town, when government troops stumbled upon his
hideout and clashed with his group of LRA fighters.
At this point, the extent to which Okullu‟s death will affect relations between the LRA and the government remains to be
seen. A source within the mediation team said that it will have "a negative impact" on what little progress has been made
towards bringing peace to the region. "He was part of the rebel team," he said, "but we do not know how [much] this will
impact on the dialogue and confidence-building process we have embarked on,"
7 OCHA Regional Support Office for Central and East Africa
? Night Commuter Figures - A recently released report from UNICEF, indicates that night commuter figures have risen by 10,000 during the month of April – and are now up to 40,000 (30,000 in March). This is in relation to the renewed
killing and abductions seen over the last few months. The report attributes the increase in commuters to political
deadlock and intensified LRA attacks in recent weeks following the expiry of a ceasefire. The report said nearly a quarter
(23 percent) of primary-school age children were out of school, while half (50 percent to 60 percent) of the student body
at primary schools in Gulu, Kitgum, Pader, Lira and Apac districts were still displaced. The report also added that over
the last few months 77 cases of cholera were recorded in the huge internally displaced persons (IDP) camp of Pabbo and the neighbouring Gengari and Parabongo camps. Despite the progress that has been made to provide access to safe water,
about one-half of the IDPs in the affected districts have access to less than five litres per person per day.
? HRW watch urge reforms to stop torture -On 11 May, the Ugandan government presented measures it had taken to
comply with its obligations under the Convention Against Torture to a session of the UN Committee Against Torture in
Geneva. The delegation told the committee that the Ugandan Human Rights Commission had been created as an
independent body and was mandated to monitor all alleged cases of human rights violations, including torture, and bring
them to the attention of the competent authorities.
HRW and the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI), however, submitted a briefing paper to the UN committee,
claiming that cases of torture by Ugandan security forces against political opponents, alleged rebels and criminal
suspects had taken place recently. According to the paper, torture frequently occurred when suspects were held by
agencies other than the regular police. Those bodies included the Joint Anti-Terrorism Task Force, the army, Chieftaincy
of Military Intelligence, and the Violent Crime Crack Unit. The UN committee is scheduled to publish its conclusions
and recommendations on Uganda on Friday.
? Food Security Situation - WFP food distribution continues to reach 1.4 million displaced persons, 192,000 refugees and other vulnerable persons. During the past week, WFP distributed 4,145 tons of relief food assistance to 300,685 persons
including IDPs sheltering in camps in Gulu, Kitgum, Pader and Lira districts, refugees, children in nutrition centres and
other vulnerable persons. The pipeline situation is still precarious with a shortfall of 90,188 tons of food commodities
with a funding gap of USD 49 million, required to maintain the food pipeline necessary to continue providing relief
assistance to IDPs and refugees through December.
? Ebola precautions 23 May IRIN - Ugandan authorities have stepped up health surveillance along the country's borders following an outbreak of Ebola in the Republic of Congo's Cuvette-Ouest region (along the border with Gabon). 9 people
have died in RoC this month. Ugandan district epidemiology surveillance teams are on alert to monitor all border entries.
Uganda is working closely with neighbouring countries and WHO to keep a close watch over cross-border activities and
to screen entrants to prevent a possible spread of the virus into Uganda. The disease claimed the lives of 170 people in
Uganda in 2000. More than 250 others contracted the disease but survived.
? Presence of OHCHR - The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is to establish an office in Uganda in June to monitor abuses related to conflict in the northern and eastern regions of the
country, a UN official said. The OHCHR presence in Uganda is intended to "help strengthen the response to the abuses
and violations resulting from the conflict afflicting the northern and eastern parts of the country. The office would also
"undertake human rights monitoring, training, capacity-building of local actors, and work on a protection strategy in
cooperation with the National Human Rights Commission as well as the UN Country Team.
? Funding Issues - The World Bank has given Uganda US $4.2 million to fund a project to resettle an estimated 11,000 former rebel fighters into communities of their identification. Recipients are given a minimum resettlement package that
includes a mattress, a jerry can, seeds and some farming implements. The programme is conducted in conjunction with
partners who are providing psycho-social support.
? Pressure by donors to link aid to political reform- Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye on Friday appealed to
Western and donor countries to increase pressure on the government of President Yoweri Museveni by insisting on
political reform as a precondition for further aid. An advisor for a Dutch lobbying organization, said that in view of the
current move to amend the 1995 constitution, the Dutch government was likely to revise its annual aid to Uganda, which
is currently about US $25 million.
? Sudanese President Bashir and Uganda's defence minister, Amama Mbabazi have discussed mechanisms of UPDF
deployment in Sudan under a United Nations mandate. The two countries also renewed the protocol that permits the
UPDF to continue to hunt the LRA rebels in Sudan. The new agreement extends the UPDF's stay in Sudan to 30
June 2005. The protocol that has yielded tremendous results for Uganda was originally signed in April 2001, and has
been renewed repeatedly since then. It last expired on 31 December 2004.
? Refugee movement from Sudan into Uganda - At least 5,000 people in southern Sudan have fled food shortages and
attacks by the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and sought refuge in northwestern Uganda since January, according
8 OCHA Regional Support Office for Central and East Africa
to UNHCR. The refugees are mainly from Torit, Nimule and Yei and are being registered at the Ugandan border districts of Adjumani, Arua and Moyo, where UNHCR has been providing food. Many had walked up to 15 days to reach the
Ugandan border and were in extremely poor health. Ugandan government officials said most of the new arrivals crossed
the border in mid-March after the LRA stepped up attacks against civilians. The government and UNHCR were trying to
find land on which they could set up homes and begin farming to supplement relief supplies, one official said.
REPUBLIC OF CONGO ? Insecurity – As result of continuing insecurity in the Pool region, UN activities had been suspended. However, NGOs
continued their activities. The Ninja leader Pasteur Ntumi spoke to the Mindouli population on 18 May, and indicated
that he would recover arms from his fighters, but would only return them to the authorities under the condition of a
political position for himself. Mindouli I/NGOs had an audience with the Pastor and discussed the consequences of
? Health - Following the confirmation of Ebola virus from samples taken in Etoumbi, Cuvette Region on 17 May, OCHA
organized a crisis meeting with the MoH, UN agencies, NGOs and diplomatic missions. As of 18 May, the number of
cases has remained stable. 9 deaths and 84 contact cases have been identified. The Etoumbi district is being quarantined
to limit population movements. MoH and WFP are currently discussing food support to affected communities. The MoH
and WHO are collaborating to keep the epidemic under control. As the number of cases remains low, fear for a larger
epidemic is limited.
? Funding - The CAP MYR process began on 18 May. Most partners indicated access difficulties and insecurity as the main hindrances to the full implementation of their projects. An information committee was formed on 19 May to
ensure a better information flow among humanitarian partners in the RoC. The CAP requests for US$ 21,960,437. The
CAP has so far received 19.2% funding.
Announcements: The next Scenario Development Workshop for the Great Lakes Region will take place from 21-22 June. All are welcome to participate in the workshop. For more information, please contact Jeanine Cooper at
Date of the next Information Exchange Meeting on the Great Lakes Region will be communicated to you in
OCHA RSO-CEA is funded by the following donors
9 OCHA Regional Support Office for Central and East Africa