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World IN BRIEF : ZAIRE

Refugees Reportedly Found in Dire Straits

May 12, 1997|From Times Wire Reports

An aid mission to an area of eastern Zaire not visited by United Nations officials for weeks has discovered thousands of Rwandan Hutu refugees, many on the verge of death, U.N. officials said. Aid officials who traveled by rail to Ubolo village south of Kisangani distributed 26 tons of food before leaving with 468 refugees, mainly children. "We found about 5,000 to 6,000 refugees near a village at kilometer 82 [51 miles] south of Kisangani," said Julian Fleet, a U.N. refugee agency official who led the mission. "Many people have died there, and many more are on the verge of death." The mission reached Ubolo on Saturday night and returned to Kisangani on Sunday evening. Aid workers had to carry most of the refugees off the train to a ferry crossing the Zaire River because they were too weak to walk.

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