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100 Burundi Captives Flee From Rebels

November 11, 2001|From Associated Press

BUJUMBURA, Burundi — At least 100 teenage boys escaped from Hutu rebels Saturday, a day after they were kidnapped from a high school in northern Burundi, an official said.

Some of the boys who escaped were able to return to their homes, while others sought shelter at military bases, said Come Hatungimana, a local government administrator in Kayanza province.

After being kidnapped Friday morning, the boys were forced to carry goods the rebels looted as they moved through the countryside toward their stronghold in northern Burundi's forests, said 19-year-old Jean Paul Nduwimana.

Nduwimana--one of about 300 boys kidnapped from a dormitory at the Musema High School--said the escape took place after midnight, when the sentries fell asleep.

The army is attempting to intercept the rebels and rescue about 200 other boys still being held, Hatungimana said.

In a similar raid Tuesday, rebels kidnapped more than 50 teenage boys from a school outside Ruyigi, about 50 miles east of the capital, Bujumbura.

Officials have said the rebels use kidnapping as a means of forced recruitment. Rebel officials were not immediately available for comment Saturday.

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