Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

That Goldilocks Feeling Hits Tutsis in Rwanda Hutus Who Fled in 1994 Now Want Their Old Homes Back Series: A Rwandan Hutu Refugee Returned to His House to Find It Inhabited by Tutsis. Some Families Have Agreed to Cohabit with Their Occupiers, but This Boy Had to Stay with a Neighbor. Many Hutu Civilians Won't Go Home for Fear Neighbors Will Accuse Them of Genocide., JEROME DELAY/AP

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

That Goldilocks Feeling Hits Tutsis in Rwanda Hutus Who Fled in 1994 Now Want Their Old Homes Back Series: A Rwandan Hutu Refugee Returned to His House to Find It Inhabited by Tutsis. Some Families Have Agreed to Cohabit with Their Occupiers, but This Boy Had to Stay with a Neighbor. Many Hutu Civilians Won't Go Home for Fear Neighbors Will Accuse Them of Genocide., JEROME DELAY/AP

Article excerpt

Jean-Marie Vianey returned to his village last Sunday after a 2-1/2-year absence in Zaire to find Mukangabo Mujimimana and her family eating their evening meal in his home.

The sight was disappointing for Mr. Vianey, who walked barefoot for 18 days with half-a-million other Hutu refugees looking forward to finally end their diaspora.

The Mukangabos, who are Tutsis, begged to remain in the house until they could find alternative accommodations. Mr. Vianey agreed to give them a week. The two families now cohabit the property in delicate harmony - a surprising arrangement for a country best known for ethnic cleansing. "I dreamt every night I was away about the day I would reclaim my house," Mr. Vianey says. "But I cannot kick these people out just like that." Says Mrs. Mukangabo, only half joking: "I've asked him to lend us his plastic sheeting when we leave. We may end up as homeless refugees ourselves." The unusual domestic cooperation between the two families in this village north of Kigali, the capital, is encouraging for Rwanda's crisis. But the problem bringing them together is not. Since the refugees began streaming back a week ago, housing has emerged as a major problem that officials say could threaten reconciliation if not sorted out quickly. Between a quarter and a half of the 500,000 returnees will find people living in their homes, says Deputy Rehabilitation and Social Integration Minister Christine Umutoni. Rwanda needs massive aid to cope with the refugee situation - $44 million is need-ed immediately for tents and portable houses and $50 million for more permanent houses, she says. The biggest housing problem is expected to be in Kigali, where unlike the countryside, there is no open space for simple mud homes. Paul Kagame, the defense minister and vice president who effectively rules Rwanda, describes the problem of resettling the Tutsis have occupied Hutu property as "very complicated." "The problem is one of property, not of ethnicity," he told reporters Wednesday. He added: "You cannot tell a civil servant to go under plastic sheeting." This tiny, hilly Central African nation is one of the world's most densely populated. Some academics attribute the lack of space to the ethnic problems between the 14 percent Tutsi and 85 percent Hutu population. …

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