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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

New Riots, Old Graves Add to Woes in Rwanda

GOMA, Zaire -- A grenade attack by an unknown assailant on a market killed five Rwandan refugees, setting off a riot among refugees who have become increasingly militant, officials said Wednesday.


The refugees fought Zairian soldiers, who restored order at the Chimanga camp after about an hour Tuesday, but worried United Nations refugee officials were rushing their chief security adviser to the camp.


"It was a very serious security incident, and we are afraid that the rioting may spread to other areas," said Captain Declan O'Brien, a member of the Irish army contingent in Zaire. Chimanga, 80 kilometers from Bukavu in eastern Zaire, is home to 15,000 Hutu refugees.


About 1.2 million Hutus fled Rwanda for eastern Zaire after Tutsi-led rebels fought their way to power in July. The refugees include leaders of the deposed Hutu-led government and others who fear revenge killings for massacres of up to 500,000 Tutsi civilians during the fighting.


Meanwhile, UN troops said they have found another massacre site in southwest Rwanda, this one containing the badly decomposed corpses of 4,000 people, a UN official said Wednesday.


At least 2,000 of the victims lay unburied at Gafunzo, near the shores of Lake Kivu about 125 kilometers southwest of Kigali, said UN military spokesman Major Jean-Guy Plante.


The corpses, reported by a UN patrol Tuesday, were in a state of advanced decomposition, indicating the massacre occurred during ethnic slaughter that began in April, Plante said.


About half the victims were buried in a mass grave. UN officials did not say if the victims were member of the Hutu majority or the Tutsi minority tribes.


The grim discoveries are the latest of several massacre sites located by peacekeepers in recent weeks.


About 400 corpses were found in a church at Ntarama, 40 kilometers south of Kigali recently, a few kilometers from another a mass grave containing 600 bodies.


UN officials say entire families were wiped out, and local communities either fled or did not dare organize burial groups.


The UN is scheduled next week to launch Operation Homeward Bound, a program to transport about 4,000 people a day from the southwest to their homes in the east of the country. A British convoy carried about 1,000 people out of camps for the displaced in the southwest Monday, about half the number UN officials had hoped to move.


"A rumor of reprisal killings went around the camps the night before. It was a disruption campaign to stop people leaving," said Major Mark Hiscuit, a British spokesman.


In refugee camps in neighboring Zaire, Hutu extremists have killed refugees planning to return home to live under the new Tutsi-led government.