REFUGEES TRUDGE BACK TO RWANDA AFTER ZAIRE CHAOS.Byline: Remer Tyson Knight-Ridder Newspapers
With their children at their feet and their belongings belongings
the things that a person owns or has with him or her
Noun 1. belongings - something owned; any tangible or intangible possession that is owned by someone; "that hat is my property"; "he is a man of on their back, with hope in their hearts and terror in their past, more than half a million half-starved people formed a river of refugees 10 miles long flooding the road Friday to Rwanda.
Freed from the iron-fisted grip of their own tribesmen, the refugees crossed the border at Goma into Rwanda at the rate of 10,000 an hour - nearly 170 a minute.
More than 30,000 had crossed the border into Rwanda by nightfall, the U.N. High Commission for Refugees, or UNHCR UNHCR n abbr (= United Nations High Commission for Refugees) → ACNUR m
UNHCR n abbr (= United Nations High Commission for Refugees) → HCR m , reported. Some were being bused home Friday night by the UNHCR.
``A lot of people can walk home from the border,'' UNHCR spokesman Ray Wilkinson Ray Wilkinson (b. April 14, 1925 in Lombard, IL, USA d. December 4, 2004 in Raleigh, NC) was a long time agricultural news anchor and reporter for Capitol Broadcasting Company in Raleigh, NC. said. ``Most of these people could virtually be home by the weekend. It is simply staggering. We have nearly 1 million people on the move. There is no panic.''
The abrupt, unexpected breakout from Mugunga will change the mission of an international military force being organized to swoop swoop
v. swooped, swoop·ing, swoops
1. To move in a sudden sweep: The bird swooped down on its prey.
2. into eastern Zaire to help extricate the refugees. And a decisive battle around the camp may signal an end to one of Africa's bloodiest wars that began six years ago in Rwanda and shifted into Zaire in 1994.
Though undernourished, weak and ragged rag·ged
1. Tattered, frayed, or torn: ragged clothes.
2. Dressed in tattered or threadbare clothes: a ragged scarecrow.
3. , the long stream of refugees moving relentlessly on the road look in astoundingly good shape.
International relief workers had lost contact with the refugees two weeks ago and feared they may have been in perilous condition.
No evidence of mass deaths from starvation starvation, condition in which deprivation of food has forced the body to feed on itself. Causes are famine, fasting, malnutrition, or abnormalities of the mucosal lining of the digestive system. or disease existed in Mugunga Camp, a vast refugee center 10 miles north of Goma sprawling across sharp-edged lava around the base of a 10,500-foot volcano volcano, vents or fissures in the earth's crust through which gases, molten rock, or lava, and solid fragments are discharged. Their study is called volcanology. . U.N. officials said Mugunga had grown into the largest refugee camp in the world since the Zairean rebels began battling the Zairean army. As the refugees trudged on the road during the day Friday, by night the exodus turned to punishing tropical rain, and most spent a wet, cold night beside the road to Goma.
Earlier in the day, they were able to gather food from bean fields and banana trees along the route. Most brought water with them from the camp or plastic jugs they could fill with water along the way.
Rebel commander Laurent Kabila said that the battle for Mugunga Camp spells the end of the Interahamwe. Kabila said his solders are chasing the former Hutu Rwanda militia militia (məlĭsh`ə), military organization composed of citizens enrolled and trained for service in times of national emergency. Its ranks may be filled either by enlistment or conscription. into rugged mountains Rugged Mountain is the apex of the Haihte Range on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. From it, several glaciers, Nootka Sound, Woss Lake and the Tlupana Range are in view. north of Mugunga.
``They have to put down their guns,'' the rebel commander said. ``We can't let them get away. They have to surrender or go back to Rwanda.''
Return to Rwanda by members of the Interahamwe would mean arrest by Rwanda's Tutsi-dominated government. Most of the Rwandans killed by the Hutu militia in 1994 were Tutsis.
The Interahamwe had held the Mugunga Camp refugees hostage hostage, person held by another as a guarantee that certain actions or promises will or will not be carried out. During periods of internal turmoil, insurgents often seize hostages; recent examples include seizures of Americans and other foreigners by militants in as they made a last stand against Kabila's guerrillas List of famous guerrillas, ordered by region: Afghanistan
Kabila said the final fight for Mugunga began early Thursday morning when the Interahamwe attacked his troops' positions on a nearby hill.
A few days previously, the rebels had surrounded the camp.
``They (Interahamwe) started a very serious attack until 1800 hours (6 p.m.),'' Kabila said. ``After we repulsed them, we opened up a very big corridor so people were free.''
During the fighting, many of the refugees hid in the bush to get away from the Interahamwe. When the escape corridor opened, the refugees started walking by the hundred of thousands on the road to Goma.
Kabila said an international force is no longer needed here.
``I don't think the international community - as Mugunga will not be there - will have any reason to come here. Who do they need to free? There is total freedom here.''
Friday night, the Rwanda and Kenya governments said the international force is no longer needed.
A massive relief effort will be required to assist the refugees' return. Besides the estimated 700,000 from north of Goma, another 300,000 Rwanda refugees remain inside eastern Zaire to the south of the city.
The Hutu refugees fled to Zaire in 1994 when the invading in·vade
v. in·vad·ed, in·vad·ing, in·vades
1. To enter by force in order to conquer or pillage.
2. Tutsi army captured Rwanda. About 400,000 have returned to Rwanda over the past two years. They have been reintegrated into Rwandan society.
``There will be 10,000 headaches,'' Wilkinson said. ``These will pale in comparison with the headaches we faced yesterday (before the refugees surged toward home).''
Wilkinson reported the UNHCR representatives discovered two massacres It may never be fully completed or, depending on its its nature, it may be that it can never be completed. However, new and revised entries in the list are always welcome. in Mugunga on Friday. He did not elaborate on the extent of the killings.
Along the road from the camp to Goma, rotting bodies lay beside the road, apparently killed in fighting between the rebels and Interahamwe.
Nsnge Yumva, 30, was walking alone toward Goma, carrying his only possessions - a worn machete and a bicycle bell. He carried some food - a bunch of dried grass. Yumva had been a carpenter in Kigali when he fled to Zaire in 1994 with his wife, two children, his mother, and his father.
``Because I was working the Interahamwe thought I had lots of money,'' he said. ``One day when they (Interahamwe) came and demanded money, I was not home. They shot my family.''
Yumva said the Interahamwe prevented him from returning home for the past two years.
``It has been a nightmare for me,'' he said. ``There were too many people and the Interahamwe threatening everyone.''
Once the shooting started in the final battle for Mugunga, Yumva said, ``We ran into the bush. We spent the whole night in the bush in the rain hiding from the Interahamwe.''
When the rebels arrived in the camp, he said, ``They told us to cool down, and if anyone wanted to go to Goma, they could go.''
Yumva set out on the road. Without emotion, he said he planned to return to his carpenter work in Kigali.
``Unfortunately, all my tools were taken,'' Yumva said. ``I hope to go back to my workshop.''
Maria Nyirambuzerose, 49, made the 10-mile trip in a specially built wheelchair with bicycle pedals A bicycle pedal is the part of a bicycle that the rider pushes with his or her foot to propel the bicycle. It provides the connection between the cyclist's foot or shoe and the crankarm allowing the leg to turn the crank. mounted in front that she pushed by hand.
A small boy also pushed her wheelchair. He is a war orphan orphan: see adoption; foundling hospital; guardian and ward.
See widow & orphan.
See also Abandonment.
finally, at middle age, discovers origins. [Am. Lit. who has attached himself to her.
1. A person or animal that is partially disabled or unable to use a limb or limbs: cannot race a horse that is a cripple.
2. A damaged or defective object or device.
tr.v. since birth, she had received the wheelchair from a priest 30 years ago. She had wheeled herself from Gisenyi, just across the Rwanda border, to eastern Zaire during the mass Hutu exodus in 1994.
Carrying her belongings in two small bags and a water jug attached to her wheelchair, she is worried how she will survive when she gets back home. All her relatives have died. No one is there to help her.
Photo: (1) Rwandan refugees stream out of Mugunga Camp in eastern Zaire on Friday.
(2) More than half a million people form a river of refugees 10 miles long, crossing the border into Rwanda at a rate of 10,000 an hour.
(3) A woman feeds her baby from a loaf of bread as the two arrive at the Rwandan-Zairian border early Friday.
Associated Press Associated Press: see news agency.
Associated Press (AP)
Cooperative news agency, the oldest and largest in the U.S. and long the largest in the world.