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Hutu Soldiers Joining Army of Former Foes

August 31, 1994| Times Wire Services

KIGALI, Rwanda — Dozens of Rwandan soldiers who supported the former Hutu government army are defecting daily to the mainly Tutsi force now in power, the U.N. special envoy for Rwanda said Tuesday.

In the first sign the resolve of the old army is cracking, 400 soldiers have joined up with the former rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front, Shaharyar Khan said.

Most of the soldiers are coming from the former French "safe zone" in the southwest that RPF forces have not yet entered.

The new government unveiled a cautious plan Tuesday to take control of the former "safe zone," where more than 1 million frightened Hutus sought refuge.

French troops completed their withdrawal from the zone Aug. 22, handing over the region to U.N. peacekeeping troops.

Khan said Tuesday that the United Nations will help the government re-establish civilian authority in the area over the next few days.

Government security and armed forces will then be phased in after civilian control is established, Khan said.

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