RWANDA: VICE PRESIDENT PAUL KAGAME TOURS NORTH OF COUNTRY

RWANDA: VICE PRESIDENT PAUL KAGAME TOURS NORTH OF COUNTRY

RWANDA: VICE PRESIDENT PAUL KAGAME TOURS NORTH OF COUNTRY


(29 Aug 1997) English/Nat
Rwandan vice-president and military strongman Paul Kagame has toured the north of the country to see the military operations of his army against Hutu militias.
Most of the Hutus fled to the Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire, after the Tutsis came to power in 1994.
Kagame said many have returned to destabilise the present government.
Kagame came to the north of Rwanda, near Ruhengeri, to see how his troops were faring against the Hutu extremists in the area.
Over half a (m) million Tutsis and Hutu moderates were massacred by Hutus in 1994. The attackers then fled to the Democratic Republic of Congo after the Tutsis swept to power.
Hundreds of thousands of Hutus returned to Rwanda last year after they were pursued by soldiers loyal to now-President Laurent Kabila.
Kagame said they were back to destabilise Rwanda.
SOUNDBITE: (English)
“We have people who participated in the genocide in 1994 who went to Zaire – most of them. Others stayed behind. But of course they have never given up wanting to cause problems to us, to destabilise the situation, and they are simply fighting like they are desperate – desperate to destroy the change, or reverse the change that has occurred that has taken place in our country.”
SUPER CAPTION: Paul Kagame, Rwandan Vice-President and Chief of Military
During his visit he met several of his Rwandan Patriotic Front soldiers, who had been injured in clashes with the Interahamwe, as the Hutu militias are known.
One soldier described what happened.
SOUNDBITE: (English)
“So the gunfire was from that direction up to here, and the commune is just up there, the commune.”
SUPER CAPTION: RPF soldier
The R-P-F soldiers were caught in the middle.
Edward Mugenzi is just one of the Rwandan government soldiers to be killed in the conflict.
It took more than 40 hours for Edward Mugenzi’s family to find out their soldier son was dead.
His friends say he was killed by the Interahamwe.
At midday, the villagers gathered around the grave site.
Wrapped in a white robe, a local farmer who doubles as priest led a short ceremony. People sang somberly and chanted the ritual prayers.
Soldiers fired shots from their automatic rifles before the coffin was covered in dirt.
Most women covered their heads with wraps, some shook with grief.
Edward Mugenzi had been born the child of refugee Rwandan Tutsis
in Uganda, chased into exile in 1959 by Hutu pogroms.
He returned in 1990 as a member of the Rwandan Patriotic Front only to become another victim of the continuing cycle of Tutsi-Hutu violence.

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