Source Pravda.Ru

The African crisis

Police in Burundi's capital, Bujumbura, used tear gas to break up a demonstration Wednesday held to protest the massacre of Congolese Tutsi refugees. At least 100 Congolese Tutsis gathered outside the embassy of the Democratic Republic of Congo to denounce last Friday's attack The French news agency, AFP, quotes Burundian police as saying the protesters did not ask for permission to demonstrate and became violent. The report says two protesters were arrested. Burundian Hutu rebels claimed responsibility for the killing of some 160 Banyalumenge Tutsis who fled violence in eastern Congo and were living in a refugee camp in western Burundi. The attack has inflamed regional tensions among the majority Hutu and minority Tutsi populations in Congo, Burundi, and Rwanda, informs VOANews. The Australian reports, that UN peacekeeping chief Jean-Marie Guehenno asked to brief the council amid fears of a new explosion of violence following the massacre of around 160 refugees from the DRC in neighbouring Burundi last week. "We are concerned about public statements by leading officials and military personnel in the area about a possible intention to retaliate," UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said. "We have put our people on alert. We have limited means, of course, but we have deployed additional troops to the border area," he told a news conference in New York. Mr Eckhard said Mr Guehenno gave a telephone briefing yesterday evening to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who earlier this week asked the council to more than double the size of the UN peacekeeping force in the DRC. He said the United Nations was "taking all possible pre-emptive measures to avert a potential crisis". According to BBC News, the meeting in Tanzania was attended by Thabo Mbeki of South Africa - which has been mediating in the conflict - and three other heads of state. Burundi is struggling to emerge from a civil war between rebels from the Hutu majority and the Tutsi-dominated army. Most former rebels have joined the government - but a radical Hutu group has continued to fight. The group, the FNL, claimed responsibility for last week's killing of about 160 Congolese Tutsi refugees in Burundi. However some Tutsi politicians say they are excluded, and want greater constitutional guarantees ahead of the elections scheduled for October. But the BBC regional analyst Robert Walker says the FNL poses a bigger challenge to the peace process. The leaders meeting in Dar es Salam summit declared the group a "terrorist organisation". Mr Mbeki and his Tanzanian, Mozambican and Zambian counterparts urged the African Union and UN Security Council to do likewise. The FNL has consistently refused to join Burundi's peace process, and claimed last Friday's massacre of Congolese Tutsi refugees in Western Burundi. The refugees - many of them women, children and babies - were shot or hacked to death with machetes. PRAVDA.Ru has published the information about conflict in Burundi. Read earlier stories by RPAVDA.Ru&to=http:// english.pravda.ru/hotspots/2002/08/09/34122.html' target=_blank> Pravda.RU Ethnic conflict in Burundi

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