Killing Persists in Rwanda Despite Cease-Fire Efforts
RWANDAN soldiers, rebels, and civilians engaged in frenzied killing on Sunday while attempts at arranging a cease-fire came to nothing, according to witnesses and officials.
An official in the interim Rwandan government said cease-fire talks, which began late Friday between rebels and Army units, stalled over stringent conditions each party set ahead of negotiations. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda said there had been no further talks Saturday, and none were planned for Sunday.
Savage fighting continued for control of strategic hilltops around the city, said one witness by telephone, who was trapped in the capital, Kigali. No one appeared to be in control of Kigali, and Army units and rebels were fighting with heavy artillery, mortars, and rocket-propelled grenades, he said. About 3,600 rebels had infiltrated the city, but Army units and the presidential guard were still resisting fiercely after 11 days of conflict. The deaths of Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana and Burundi President Cyprien Ntaryamira sparked the ethnic violence in Rwanda between the majority Hutu and minority Tutsi tribes, in which tens of thousands have died. The leaders were killed in a rocket attack on their plane in Rwanda April 6.
Meanwhile, Brussels said Saturday it was set for a fast withdrawal of its 420 UN peacekeepers from Rwanda. Belgium is pulling out partly because of a wave of anti-Belgian anger among Rwanda's Hutu majority. Many Hutus believe the Belgians support the country's rebels and were involved in the assassinations. Burundi president honored
THOUSANDS attended Saturday's funeral of Burundi's president, killed in a rocket attack on his plane last week in the neighboring central African state of Rwanda. Burundi's capital, Bujumbura, remained calm despite tensions between the majority Hutu people of the late President Cyprien Ntaryamira and the Tutsi tribe, the country's former rulers.
Army officers carried Ntaryamira's coffin out of the cathedral to a heroes' burial square in a gesture widely seen as a sign of continued reconciliation between the Tutsi-dominated military and the government. Other Army officers carried the flag-draped coffins of two finance ministers who were also killed.
Ntaryamira was the second Burundian president killed in seven months. Melchior Ndadaye, the first democratically elected and first Hutu leader since independence from Belgium in 1962, was murdered last October. Ndadaye's death sparked violence between the Hutu and Tutsi that one minister said may have killed more than 150,000 people.