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Saturday, August 21, 2004

BBC > Burundi survivors to be relocated

Survivors of a massacre in a Burundi refugee camp are to be relocated away from the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, the UN says.
Burundi's government and the UNHCR have agreed to open two new camps for the 20,000 Congolese Tutsi refugees, who fled fighting in DR Congo in June.
Last Friday, attackers crossed over the border from DR Congo and killed more than 160 in Gatumba camp.
Fearing more attacks, refugees are leaving camps in search of shelter.
Food burnt
According to the UN's World Food Programme, conditions in Gatumba camp are very difficult for the 1,000 survivors.
"After the attack, all the food was burnt. There was a lot of destruction and they're very frightened," Peter Smerdon of the WFP told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.
He said the WFP was providing food for the refugees and a 15-day ration had been given to more than 100 wounded refugees being cared for in hospitals in the capital, Bujumbura.

The new sites for the camps are in Muramvya and Rutana provinces, south-east of Bujumbura, the UNHCR says.
Mr Smerdon said he hoped all Congolese refugees in the three camps along the border would be moved to the new centres in the near future.
A Burundi Hutu rebel group claimed responsibility for last week's attack, but some sources say they were aided by Hutu militias operating inside DR Congo.
The head of UN peacekeeping operations, Jean-Marie Guehenno, has warned that the massacre has brought the central African region to the brink of war.
Speaking to the UN Security Council on Thursday, he asked all parties to show "maximum restraint", saying "there has to be justice, not revenge".
"This horrific massacre of Gatumba [refugee camp] must not lead to a cycle of revenge," Mr Guehenno said.
Negotiation
Meanwhile, a dissident general in eastern DR Congo has backed down from the threat he made earlier this week to overthrow the Congolese government in response to the massacre.
Speaking in the Congolese border town of Goma late on Thursday, Gen Laurent Nkunda said war could still be avoided through negotiation.
Gen Nkunda took over the town of Bukavu in June, saying he was saving the Tutsi population, but later withdrew, admitting there had been no genocide.
Violence between the majority Hutu tribe and the minority Tutsis has afflicted the Great Lakes region of central Africa for more than a decade.



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