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WEST AFRICA: IRIN-WA WEEKLY 143

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  • George(s) Lessard
    ... From: IRIN To: George Lessard Date sent: Sat, 05 Oct 2002 08:49:19 GMT Subject:
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 26, 2002
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      From: IRIN <IRIN@...>
      To: George Lessard <media@...>
      Date sent: Sat, 05 Oct 2002 08:49:19 GMT
      Subject: WEST AFRICA: IRIN-WA WEEKLY 143 COVERING THE
      PERIOD 28 SEPTEMBER- 4 OCTOBER 2002

      U N I T E D N A T I O N S
      Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
      Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN)

      WEST AFRICA: IRIN-WA WEEKLY 143 COVERING THE PERIOD 28
      SEPTEMBER- 4
      OCTOBER 2002

      ABIDJAN, 5 October (IRIN) - CONTENTS:
      COTE D’IVOIRE: Signing of ceasefire delayed
      SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE: First woman prime minister named
      CAMEROON-NIGERIA: ICJ verdict set for 10 October
      SENEGAL: Burials begin of ferry victims
      LIBERIA: IDPs face grave health risk
      GHANA: President Kufuor names new committees
      MAURITANIA: Another appeal for aid

      COTE D’IVOIRE: Signing of ceasefire delayed

      The signing of a ceasefire between mutinous soldiers and the
      government of Cote d'Ivoire was delayed on Friday with both sides
      expressing discontent with the wording of the document.

      Sources in the capital Yamoussoukro told IRIN that the signing was
      likely to be delayed to a later date. The agreement was supposed to
      signed at 1600 GMT but by 1800 pm, none of the delegations had turned
      up yet to sign, sources said.

      The government, humanitarian sources told IRIN, was reluctant to
      commit to some provisions of the proposed agreement such as the
      suggestion of a peacekeeping force in the country. The mutineers on
      the other hand felt the proposed agreement did not grant them the
      status they deserved.

      The BBC reported that the draft text stipulated that the mutineers
      should lay down their weapons, and that the authority of the
      government should be restored to all areas but did not specify whether
      that meant civil or military rule.

      The mutineers were also uncomfortable that loyalist forces were
      sending troops from Yamoussoukro to Bouake, to reinforce their
      positions there or even to attack the city, which the rebels had held
      since their uprising on 19 September.

      The "ceasefire" came a day after ministers from the Economic Community
      of West African States (ECOWAS) met with six rebel representatives in
      the central rebel-held city of Bouake and persuaded them to agree to a
      truce.

      ECOWAS mandated Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Togo to
      form a mediation group, along with South Africa as current chairman of
      the African Union.

      On Wednesday, the French Foreign Ministry reiterated that its presence
      in Cote d'Ivoire was to safeguard the safety of its citizens, maintain
      the country's unity and sovereignty and to preserve regional stability
      and to support the African mediation efforts.

      "In this context I recall that the mission of French forces remains
      the safety of our nationals, and other foreigners. France supports the
      mediation ECOWAS has begun and all efforts for dialogue," the
      spokesperson said.

      "If the mediation team concludes that an ECOMOG peace-keeping mission
      is needed, France will contribute with logistic support."

      Meanwhile, the governor of Abidjan District on Friday announced a
      major rally of "all patriots", including women, men, youths, village
      chiefs, and dignitaries of Abidjan District, which will be held in the
      city centre.

      As humanitarian organisations are trying to get access to the declared
      war zones in order to evaluate the needs of those displaced, there
      were reports from the Solidarity, Health and Social Security ministry,
      of an eight-day suspension of burning of shantytowns.

      For IRIN coverage on the Cote d'Ivoire situation please visit
      http://www.irinnews.org/frontpage.asp?SelectRegion=West_Africa&SelectC
      ountry=Cote_d_Ivoire

      SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE: First woman Prime Minister named

      Sao Tome and Principe President Fradique de Menezes on Thursday
      appointed Maria das Neves as the archipelago's first woman Prime
      Minister, news agencies reported.

      Menezes who fired Gabriel Costa from the prime minister's job last
      week, said in a television address to the nation that he had asked
      Neves, a 44-year old economist to form a new government. She was
      proposed for the post by the Sao Tome and Principe Liberation Movement
      (MLSTP) party.

      Neves was Minister for Trade, Industry and Tourism in the former
      administration. Before that she worked for the World Bank and UNICEF.

      She was expected to begin consultations to form a government of
      national unity on Friday with both her MLSTP party and other parties
      with seats in the 55-member parliament, Lusa reported on Friday.

      Menezes dissolved the government following complaints from the army
      over the promotion of two officers to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel
      on 5 September. The Minister of Defense Victor Tavares Monteiro was
      one of the officers promoted from reserve captain. He resigned last
      week. The other was Major Luiz Maria, who held the defense portfolio.

      De Menezes had appointed Costa to head a coalition government after
      elections on 3 March left the country's 55-seat parliament without a
      majority party.

      Sao Tome and Principe is an island chain just off the West African
      country of Gabon, and has a population of some 150,000 people.

      Other items on Sao Tome and Principle this week include:
      SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE: Unity government dissolved
      http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=30188&SelectRegion=West_Af
      rica&SelectCountry=SAO_TOME_AND_PRINCIPE

      CAMEROON-NIGERIA: ICJ verdict set for 10 October

      The International Court of Justice (ICJ) announced on Thursday that it
      would deliver its judgment on the Bakassi peninsula, which has been
      the object of a dispute between Nigeria and Cameroon, on 10 October in
      The Hague.

      The court’s ruling is binding and not subject to appeal, the court
      said in a statement.

      The case stems from a 1994 complaint filed by Cameroon, seeking a
      ruling over sovereignty of the Bakassi Peninsula and a determination
      of a maritime boundary between the two countries.

      The territorial dispute has been a thorn in bilateral relations, as
      the countries at times have traded accusations. Each believes it is
      the rightful proprietor of the peninsula located in an oil-rich area.
      On 6 September, President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Paul Biya
      of Cameroon promised to abide by the ruling and to implement measures
      to respect it. Among others, they agreed to the demilitarization of
      the peninsula with the possibility of international observers to
      monitor the withdrawal of troops.

      SENEGAL: Burials begin for ferry victims

      Burials of victims of last week’s boat accident begun in the capital
      Dakar and in Ziguinchor, southern Senegal, sources told IRIN on
      Thursday.

      In Ziguinchor, where more than 1,000 people boarded the ferry ‘Le
      Joola’, 41 bodies were buried this week. Red Cross sources said
      burials have also begun in Dakar, the boat’s final destination, but
      did not disclose an exact number.

      BBC reported Interior Minister Mamadou Niang as saying that about 500
      bodies had been recovered, although many cannot be identified by
      relatives because of decomposition. About 60 people have survived the
      accident. Those bodies that cannot be identified would be buried in
      one of four designated mass cemeteries: two in Ziguinchor, one in
      Dakar and one in The Gambia.

      President Abdoulaye Wade has ordered an investigation into the
      accident. The minister for transport and equipment and the armed
      forces ministers resigned in the wake of public anger over the
      accident.

      Licensed to sail with 550 passengers, ‘Le Joola’ left Ziguinchor with
      over 1,000 passengers.

      LIBERIA: IDPs face grave health risk

      An international NGO, the International Rescue Committee, issued a
      health assessment on Tuesday warning that the health of internally
      displaced Liberians had sharply deteriorated in the last few months.
      To avoid further deterioration, humanitarian and health agencies
      needed to increase health facilities in the country.

      IRC’s assessment, conducted in July and August in IDP camps in Bong
      and Montserrado countries, showed among other things that mortality
      rates have risen above the emergency threshold; water and sanitation
      capacities were deficient and malaria and diarrhoea ranked as the
      leading causes of medical consultation.

      To meet the IDPs’ needs, the number of latrines needed to be increased
      to one latrine per 50 people, although this is still short of the
      minimum humanitarian standards of one latrine per 20 people. Trench
      latrines also needed to be built; water supply increased, and an
      aggressive hygiene promotion campaign conducted. An additional health
      post should also be built in one of the camps, the NGO recommended.

      According to IRC, Liberia currently has 14 IDP camps sheltering at
      least 100,000 people.

      IRC’s full assessment is available at www.theirc.org

      GHANA: President Kufuor names new committees

      Ghanaian President John Kufuor has appointed 11-member committees to
      run the daily affairs of six districts in Dagbon District, northern
      Ghana, where a state of emergency prevented the holding of regularly
      scheduled district elections.

      The state of emergency was imposed in March as a result of deadly
      ethnic clashes that broke in the northern district. While election for
      new district assemblies were held in August, they did not take place
      in Dagbon District. The incumbent assemblies were dissolved, creating
      an administrative vacuum that President Kufuor has filled by
      appointing the committees.

      The appointees have the same powers as elected officials and will be
      in office until elections can be held.

      The March clash opposed the Abudu and Andani clans, two neighbouring
      communities, whose covert rivalry, erupted as they were unable to
      agree on the holding on an annual festival.

      In other news, Ghana’s government has earmarked US $7 million to
      finance poverty reduction initiatives in the East, Upper West,
      Northern, Eastern and Central regions, the five poorest regions of the
      country.

      MAURITANIA: Another appeal for aid

      The World Food Programme has once again reminded the international
      community to come to the aid of Mauritania where food shortage,
      induced by lack of rain, is threatening thousands of people

      According to WFP regional director for West Africa Manuel da Silva,
      750,000 Mauritanians are affected by lack of food. Consequently there
      is a growing rate of malnutrition.

      WFP conducted in September a wheat distribution in the six most
      affected regions, however it still expects to receive funding to feed
      all those in need. The UN agency had so far received 30 percent of the
      US $7.5 million it had appealed for.


      [ENDS]

      IRIN-WA
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      Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
      2002



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