Rwanda: August 18, 2004


The August 13 slaughter of nearly 200 Tutsi refugees apparently involved Hutu militiamen from across the border in Congo. Burundi believes that Congolese soldiers were involved, and that the attack was planned and launched from the Congo, with only some help from the Hutu FNL rebels inside Burundi. This, alas, is all too possible. The Tutsi, a tribe originally from the drier Sahel to the north, came south centuries ago and were always seen as outsiders by the local Bantu peoples. The majority of the locals in eastern Congo, Rwanda and Burundi are primarily Hutu, or other Bantu tribes. The refugee massacre reminded the Tutsi that they have many enemies on both sides of the Congo border. Thus both Rwanda and Burundi, currently run by Tutsi minorities, threaten to send troops across the border to go after Hutu gunmen responsible for the killings, and restore active support for Tutsi militias in eastern Congo. At the moment, the Congolese army does not have enough troops in the eastern Congo to deal with renewed fighting by the Tutsis. 


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