Demonstrations Disrupt Relief Supplies in Goma, Zaire
THOUSANDS of Zairians demonstrated by setting up roadblocks in the center of Goma, Zaire, on Thursday, saying they were fed up with thieving soldiers sent to help in the Rwandan refugee crisis. At least six tractor-trailers bringing relief supplies to nearby refugee camps were stranded at the border because they were unable to navigate through the barricades.
Some refugees joined in as about 5,000 townspeople filled the streets, throwing rocks and taunting police after a Zairian soldier shot and killed a local man Wednesday night who had been changing money on the black market.
Soldiers have been stealing goods and extorting money from aid organizations, refugees, and others, while helping themselves to relief supplies.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council Wednesday urged the rapid return home of Rwandan refugees and strongly condemned intimidation by those trying to prevent them. Their statement called on the new government to ensure there were no reprisals against returnees.
The statement also encouraged the government to cooperate with the UN to ensure those guilty of atrocities, particularly genocide, were brought to justice ``through an appropriate mechanism or mechanisms which will ensure fair and impartial trials.'' Soviet court acquits man in coup attempt
A COURT Thursday acquitted the last man standing trial on charges of plotting the failed August 1991 coup that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. A spokesman for former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, who was briefly imprisoned during the hard-line coup, denounced the decision.
Valentin Varennikov, a former Soviet deputy defense minister, had been charged with high treason and could have faced execution if convicted.
Prosecutor Arkady Danilov said Gorbachev's resistance to the coup attempt was so lukewarm that it could have ``been interpreted as a blessing'' by the plotters.