U.N. COMMANDER GETS OK FOR ZAIRIAN AIRDROP.Byline: James C. McKinley The New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of Times
The Canadian commander of the U.N. intervention force for eastern Zaire met Thursday with the rebel commander holding the region and won tentative approval for the airdrop air·drop
A delivery, as of supplies or troops, by parachute from aircraft.
tr. & intr.v. air·dropped, air·drop·ping, air·drops
To drop or be dropped from an aircraft.
Noun 1. of food to thousands of refugees.
But the proposed military intervention The deliberate act of a nation or a group of nations to introduce its military forces into the course of an existing controversy. appeared to be dying a slow death, and with it ambitions for any large-scale aid program, because military support would be needed to carry out a major effort.
The commander, Lt. Gen. Maurice Baril Joseph Gérard Maurice Baril, C.M.M., CD (born September 22 1943) is a former General in the Canadian Forces, a Military Advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General & head of the Military Division of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations of the United Nations from 1992 to , said that even airdrops would only be used as a last resort, to feed the refugees still wandering the rugged hills around Lake Kivu Noun 1. Lake Kivu - a lake in the mountains of central Africa between Congo and Rwanda
Belgian Congo, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zaire - a republic in central Africa; achieved independence from Belgium in 1960 . He said there had been no final decisions about what intervention efforts would be made. In Canada on Thursday, the foreign minister announced that a multinational committee will convene in Ottawa today to discuss a scaled-down aid mission.
The general suggested that he was hesitant about sending in ground troops without the permission of the rebels, who are led by Laurent Desire Kabila.
As refugees continued to stumble out of Zaire, uncertainty persisted about the status of the Rwandans who are thought to remain there. The rebels, predominantly ethnic Tutsi, continued to frustrate plans for a ground force, while their fighting with Hutu guerrillas has kept U.N. officials from penetrating the hills around Goma, where the refugees in need are believed to be.
After a 35-mile drive to visit a group of refugees at Minova, on Lake Kivu, Baril acknowledged that thousands of refugees were coming down from the mountains of their own accord and that they appeared to be in relatively good physical condition.
``I'd like them to come down on their own, that's the easiest,'' Baril said at the border post just before leaving Zaire. ``This is a pretty determined group of people that are coming in here. They are going back home.''
The general arrived in Goma at noon and met for about 50 minutes with Kabila, the leader of the rebel movement that has seized much of eastern Zaire over the last month. The meeting took place at the ransacked ran·sack
tr.v. ran·sacked, ran·sack·ing, ran·sacks
1. To search or examine thoroughly.
2. To search carefully for plunder; pillage. mansion of President Mobutu Sese Seko Mobutu Sese Seko (mōb`tō sā`sā sā`kō), 1930–97, president of Zaïre (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). , whom Kabila has vowed to overthrow.
Afterward, Kabila said he had agreed in principle to allow food to be parachuted to refugees. But he insisted on having the final say over where and when the food deliveries would be made, and he repeated that he would not accept a foreign force in rebel-held territory under any circumstances.
``We told them we are very disposed to cooperate,'' Kabila told a reporter from Voice of America Voice of America, broadcasting service of the United States Information Agency, est. 1942. Originally set up as a means of fighting the cold war, the Voice of America produces and broadcasts radio programs in English and foreign languages to other countries in order radio.
Baril left the presidential palace with an escort of rebel soldiers driving a pilfered U.N. car. The rebels gave the Canadian officers what amounted to a guided tour guided tour guide n → visite guidée;
what time does the guided tour start? → la visite guidée commence à quelle heure? .
Leaving Goma, the convoy tore off westward about 18 miles, past the gargantuan gar·gan·tu·an
Of immense size, volume, or capacity; gigantic. See Synonyms at enormous.
huge or enormous [after Gargantua, a giant in Rabelais' ruins of Mugunga camp, where until recently 400,000 refugees had lived, and into the rundown Rundown
A summary of the amount and prices of a serial bond issue that is still available for purchase.
A list of available bonds in a municipal issue of serial bonds. little town of Sake.
There, thousands of refugees who had been walking for weeks from camps on the south shore of the lake were trickling through en route to Goma. The general's convoy continued on to Minova, an additional 18 miles south along the lake shore, where some 30,000 refugees have gathered in recent days. The general spoke with refugees there for more than two hours.
At a roadblock in Sake, rebel soldiers stopped journalists from following the general. When some reporters began interviewing the refugees coming from Minova, rebel soldiers opened fire on them three times to drive them from the barrier. No one was injured in the shooting.
Aid workers said the proposal to drop food shipments to the refugees was fraught with logistical risks. To begin with, there is no way to ensure that the food would reach needy refugees rather than the Hutu soldiers and militiamen who have been keeping the refugees from returning and are still fighting the rebels.
Moreover, aid officials said, the terrain is rugged, and it is still unclear where most of the remaining refugees are. They said the airdrop idea appeared to be a face-saving measure on the part of Canadian and U.S. military leaders.
``It's ludicrous,'' said one aid official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. ``It's a gimmick.''