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DATE=2/3/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-245058 TITLE=GUINEA BISSAU / CEASEFIRE (S/L) BYLINE=JOHN PITMAN DATELINE=ABIDJAN CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: THE WARRING SIDES IN GUINEA BISSAU HAVE SIGNED A NEW CEASEFIRE. THE AGREEMENT WAS SIGNED WEDNESDAY, AFTER THREE DAYS OF FIGHTING BETWEEN GOVERNMENT LOYALISTS AND REBELS, WHICH CLAIMED UP TO 80 LIVES. VOA'S JOHN PITMAN HAS DETAILS FROM OUR WEST AFRICA BUREAU. TEXT: THE CEASEFIRE WAS SIGNED WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON IN GUINEA BISSAU'S CAPITAL, BISSAU, BY PRESIDENT JOAO BERNARDO VIERA AND REBEL LEADER GENERAL ANSUMANE MANE. TOGO'S PRESIDENT GNASSINGBE EYADEMA -- WHO HOLDS THE ROTATING PRESIDENCY OF THE ECONOMIC COMMUNITY OF WEST AFRICAN STATES -- HELPED BROKER THE DEAL, WHICH ENDS THREE DAYS OF HEAVY FIGHTING BETWEEN THE RIVAL SIDES. ACCORDING TO A TOGOLESE GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN, THE CEASEFIRE AUTHORIZES THE ARRIVAL OF NEARLY 300 WEST AFRICAN PEACEKEEPERS WHO HAD BEEN FORCED TO STAY ABOARD A SHIP OFF SHORE BECAUSE OF THE FIGHTING. THE TWO SIDES ALSO AGREED TO HOLD A FACE-TO-FACE MEETING TO WORK OUT THE PRACTICAL DETAILS OF MAINTAINING THE CEASEFIRE. ACCORDING TO PORTUGUESE NEWS REPORTS, THE CEASEFIRE CAME AMID A PERIOD OF RELATIVE CALM IN BISSAU, ALTHOUGH SOME SPORADIC SHOOTING CONTINUED AFTER THE AGREEMENT WAS SIGNED. /// REST OPT FOR LONG /// ESTIMATES OF THE CASUALTY TOLL FROM THIS WEEK'S FIGHTING IN GUINEA BISSAUSAY AS MANY AS 80 PEOPLE WERE KILLED AND UP TO 300 WOUNDED. MOST OF THE CAPITAL'S CIVILIANS WERE ALSO FORCED FROM THEIR HOMES. PARTS OF THE CAPITAL ALSO SUSTAINED HEAVY DAMAGE. THE CITY'S HOSPITAL WAS HIT BY SHELLS ON MONDAY. THE PORTUGUESE NEWS AGENCY, LUSA, SAYS SEVERAL SHELLS ALSO FELL IN A RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOOD NEAR THE PORTUGUESE EMBASSY. PORTUGUESE NEWS REPORTS HAVE ALSO CONFIRMED UNITED NATIONS CONCERNS THAT CIVILIANS IN AND AROUND BISSAU ARE FACING SHORTAGES OF FOOD AND WATER. THE WEST AFRICAN, ECOMOG, PEACEKEEPERS WHOSE ARRIVAL WAS AUTHORIZED BY THE CEASEFIRE DEAL WILL JOIN MORE THAN 100 ECOMOG TROOPS ALREADY ON THE GROUND IN BISSAU. THE TWO SIDES ACCEPTED THE ECOMOG FORCE LAST NOVEMBER,WHEN THEY SIGNED A PEACE ACCORD IN NIGERIA. THE ECOMOG FORCE WILL EVENTUALLY NUMBER 600 MEN. WHEN FULLY DEPLOYED, IT WILL ACT AS A BUFFER BETWEEN THE WARRING SIDES IN THE CAPITAL, AND PATROL ALONG GUINEA BISSAU'S NORTHERN BORDER WITH SENEGAL. (SIGNED) NEB/PT 03-Feb-99 3:08 PM EST (2008 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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