Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Zairian Army Forces Battle Rebels for City Thousands Flee from Their Homes in Bukavu

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Zairian Army Forces Battle Rebels for City Thousands Flee from Their Homes in Bukavu

Article excerpt

Tutsi fighters advanced on the eastern Zairian city of Bukavu on Sunday, trading mortar rounds and small-arms fire with Zairian defenders in the most serious fighting in months in the heart of Africa.

The governor of South Kivu province made a radio address urging residents to remain in their homes in Bukavu, the provincial capital at the south end of Lake Kivu.

But the fighting prompted thousands of people to flee west and north as Zairian soldiers clashed with Banyamulenge Tutsi fighters only three miles south of the city. The Banyamulenge, a minority group in eastern Zaire, are fighting for control of the province. In addition, Rwandan soldiers near Cyangugu exchanged cross-border fire with Zairian forces until a thunderstorm struck. The fighting along Zaire's eastern border with Burundi and Rwanda, an area that until now had been spared of Hutu-Tutsi power struggles, threatens to destabilize Africa's Great Lakes region. Zaire repeatedly has accused Rwanda of supporting the Banyamulenge rebels, a charge the Tutsi-led government denies. …

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