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Zaire Says U.N. Should Fault Its Neighbors

November 10, 1996|From Times Wire Services

KINSHASA, Zaire — While Europe pressed for immediate deployment of an international force to aid refugees fleeing fighting in Zaire, Zairian officials urged Saturday that the United Nations first condemn its neighbors for their part in the conflict.

Zaire accuses the Tutsi-led armies of Rwanda and Burundi of taking over three key cities in eastern Zaire--Bukavu, Goma and Uvira. Rwanda says Tutsi rebels in Zaire are responsible for the attacks, which have scattered 1.1 million Rwandan Hutu refugees living in Zaire.

"The U.N. must condemn, in an unequivocal manner, the aggression perpetrated against Zaire by the presence of troops from the Rwandan and Burundian armed forces," Interior Minister Gerard Kamanda wa Kamanda said after private talks with U.N. special envoy Raymond Chretien.

Kamanda did not say, however, that Zaire would block any international intervention in the country without the condemnation.

Meanwhile, about 120 Rwandan Hutu refugees arrived in Goma on Saturday after what they said was a walk of more than a week with no food or water except what they could scavenge by the roadside.

The refugees, the first significant group to arrive in the city since it fell to the rebels just over a week ago, said some of their number had died along the way.

They said they had fled from two refugee camps attacked by rebels a week and a half earlier and were not prevented by Hutu militiamen from heading toward Rwanda.

The humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders estimates that more than 13,000 people have died since fighting began in eastern Zaire three weeks ago.

Also Saturday, Zairian President Mobutu Sese Seko, convalescing in France after surgery and radiation treatment for prostate cancer, denied reports that the cancer had spread to his bones. Mobutu, 66, told a newspaper that he will return to Zaire in several weeks.

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