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200 Tutsi Refugees Die in Revenge Attack by Hutu Rebels in Burundi

July 21, 1996| From Associated Press

BUJUMBURA, Burundi — A retaliatory attack by Hutu rebels killed at least 200 Tutsis on Saturday, including many children, Radio Burundi and the army said.

The Burundian army, meanwhile, forced 1,800 Rwandan refugees back into Rwanda and rounded up thousands more on a football field while their refugee camp was ransacked by local residents, U.N. aid officials said in Geneva.

Ethnic violence is rife in Burundi, where Hutus make up 85% of the population of 6 million and Tutsis make up 14%. More than 150,000 Burundians have been killed in fighting since 1993.

The tensions threaten to erupt into a replay of the 1994 genocide in neighboring Rwanda, which has a similar ethnic makeup. About 500,000 people were killed there, mostly Tutsis.

After the massacres, hundreds of thousands of Rwandans, mainly Hutus, fled to neighboring countries. Burundi still has about 75,000 Rwandan refugees.

Saturday's attack took place near Bugendana, 45 miles northeast of the capital, Bujumbura, in a region where at least 200 Hutus were reported killed by the Tutsi-dominated army in June. The army called the attacks retaliatory.

Radio Burundi said the victims were Tutsis displaced by Burundi's ethnic violence.

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