Boutros-Ghali condemns Burundi killings
Aid workers say 1,000 deaths each month
July 22, 1996
Web posted at: 9:30 p.m. EDT (0130 GMT)
BUGENDANA, Burundi (CNN) -- With increasing fears that
Burundi is on the brink of an ethnic bloodbath after this
weekend's massacre, U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-
Ghali on Monday urged all factions in the central-African
nation to exercise restraint and urged authorities to
investigate the killings.
"The secretary-general condemns in the strongest possible
terms these wanton killings and those who carried them out,"
U.N. spokeswoman Sylvana Foa said in a statement.
The Tutsi-led Burundi army blamed rebels of the majority
Hutu tribe for the weekend slaughter at a camp at Bugendana.
Witnesses said more than 300 people were killed. Most of them
were women and babies.
The killings were "all too reminiscent of the genocide
experienced in Rwanda two years ago," Foa said, referring to
the slaughter of some 500,000 minority Tutsis and moderate
Hutus by troops and militia of a Hutu-led Rwandan government
that was later overthrown.
Up to 1,000 deaths a month, say aid workers
In Burundi, the horror of Saturday's slaughter was all too
evident. Children are dead on the streets, their bodies
tangled with those of their mothers, who tried to protect
them from a massacre they could not stop.
Some of the victims were shot to death, some stabbed with
machetes and spears, and some others burned to death.
Before the attack, the camp was home to nearly 2,000 Tutsis
who were displaced by fighting elsewhere in the country.
Witnesses said nearly 1,000 people participated in the
Their identity is still unknown, but Burundi President Sylvestre
Ntibantunganya, an ethnic Hutu, is placing blame on a rebel Hutu
group. But the military wing of the Hutu rebel group denies
Last month, at a location not far from the camp, more than
200 Hutus were believed to be killed by the Tutsi-dominated
In the past three years, more than 150,000 Burundians have
been victims of massacres -- the result of ethnic and
political tension that shows little sign of abating.
Aid workers say up to 1,000 people are dying monthly in
Burundi's ethnic violence.
The ethnic makeup of Burundi -- like Rwanda -- consists of a
Hutu majority and a Tutsi minority. There are concerns that
widescale fighting may erupt, similar in scope to the
genocide in Rwanda two years ago.
Burundi resists outside intervention
While the United Nations on Monday renewed its call for
international efforts to restore peace, many within Burundi
reject a regional plan calling for the deployment of outside
"For the past few weeks, ever since the plan was announced,
there have been demonstrations -- even today. Burundians
don't like military intervention," said journalist
And as the bodies of the victims from this latest attack are
prepared for Tuesday burials, there are fears that the
violence is far from over.
Burundi army steps up Hutu expulsions
As Burundi began a week of mourning for the victims, the
army stepped up its expulsions of Rwandan Hutu refugees
At least two refugees died of suffocation after being forced
to leave in crammed container trucks, a U.N. official said.
By Monday evening, a total of 8,200 Rwandan Hutus had been
trucked across the border from Burundi since the army's
operation began last Friday, Paul Stromberg of the U.N. High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said.
Reuters by telephone from Kigali, Rwanda, that they were
bracing for an "increased number of arrivals."
"What is more frightening is the condition of the arrivals,"
he said later. "At about 1630 (10:30 a.m. EDT) a truck
arrived with two people dead of suffocation. They were an
elderly man and a child of about 18 months."
He said most of the trucks were container trucks meant to
transport merchandise, not people.
"On arrival, everyone is gasping for air; people are packed
in like sardines," he said.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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