ZAIRIAN REBEL CHIEF CRITICIZES RELIEF EFFORT.Byline: Chris Tomlinson Christopher Tomlinson (born: September 15, 1981 in Middlesbrough, England) is an athlete who specialises in the long jump.
Chris began competing for Middlesbrough AC (formerly Mandale Harriers and Middlesbrough and Cleveland AC) at the age of 10, mostly over 100m and 200m. 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.
The Zairian rebel leader said Saturday an international relief effort for Rwandan refugees is pointless and that the people roaming eastern Zaire are mostly Zairians displaced by fighting.
Laurent Kabila spoke a day after 14 countries agreed to participate in a Canadian-led military relief mission to central Africa.
Kabila said most of the Rwandan refugees who fled to eastern Zaire in 1994 have gone home, and that the people spotted by foreign reconnaissance planes in the region were actually Zairians trying to escape fighting.
Western officials say at least 100,000 Rwandan Hutu refugees remain in the mountains of eastern Zaire.
The Rwandan refugees, mostly Hutus, had lived in U.N. aid camps in eastern Zaire until five weeks ago, when they vanished into the countryside to escape clashes between the rebels and Zairian soldiers. The refugees, mostly Hutu, had fled Rwanda 2-1/2 years ago, fearing retribution for the Hutu-led massacre of at least a half-million Tutsis.
On Friday, the 14 countries agreed in Ottawa to participate in an aid operation, a scaled-down version of the multinational force A force composed of military elements of nations who have formed an alliance or coalition for some specific purpose. Also called MNF. See also multinational force commander; multinational operations. proposed last month before hundreds of thousands of refugees began leaving Zaire on their own.
Diplomats agreed to establish a military headquarters in the Ugandan capital of Entebbe to run reconnaissance missions and possibly airdrops.
About 260 troops each from the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. and Canada are already in Entebbe, sharing makeshift headquarters in the airport terminal. Military transport aircraft that could be used for airdrops are also in Entebbe, about an hour's flying time from eastern Zaire.
On Saturday, a Canadian military cargo plane cargo plane n → avión m de carga
cargo plane n → avion-cargo m
cargo plane cargo n → from Entebbe carried cholera medicine to a refugee camp on Tanzania's border with Zaire. The medicine would help prevent an outbreak among the refugees, said Tom Kaptyn of Doctors Without Borders Doctors Without Borders, Fr. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), international organization that provides emergency medical assistance to people suffering from a natural or societal disaster, such as an earthquake or war. , who asked for the airlift to Kigoma, Tanzania.
In all, about 20 countries, including the United States, Britain, France, South Africa, Spain, Senegal and Japan, are expected to provide support to the force, Canadian officials said.
Kabila is concerned that multinational forces in eastern Zaire could be used to impede his efforts to topple the government 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). , which says is corrupt and decadent.