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Vol 37 No 9

Published 26th April 1996

The political poison spreads

For the last two years regional politicians have exploited the conflict in Rwanda for local gain

Long feared and half expected, wider and still more dangerous conflicts may be breaking out along Zaïre's eastern borders. That may explain President Mobutu Sese Seko's surprise (and controversial) visit to Paris on 22 April. The peacekeeping force, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) has been pushed contemptuously out of the country. The Organisation of African Unity, European Union and United States are all, in various ways, trying to pacify, organise and if possible help almost two million refugees in the camps and makeshift shanties of Zaïre, Burundi and Tanzania. On 23 April, the UN Security Council unanimously voted to continue investigating weapons reportedly shipped to the Rwandan former army in camps in Zaïre. Lukabu Khabouji N'zaji, Zaïre's UN Ambassador, objected, arguing that Rwanda's 1994 massacres were done with machetes 'available to simple peasants'.

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