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Refugees start long trek back

July 28, 1994 Leave a comment

by Guy Dinmore, Reuter News Service
Published: Thursday, July 28, 1994

Tarania Mukandekezi lost her father, grandfather, a brother and sister to cholera in the refugee nightmare of Zaire.

Now she is starting the long trek back home in the hope that Rwanda’s Hutu and Tutsi communities can bury the past, along with the dead, and live together again.”In Goma we were hungry and had no food. Many of us have died. We were 10 and now we are six,” she said Tuesday as she crossed the border into Zaire, eight days after they had fled Rwanda’s civil war.

“We heard on Radio Rwanda it was safe to go back. The United Nations told us to go. We believe the assurances,” she said, balancing her few belongings on her head.

No men have survived in her family. Mukandekezi, 18, was with her sister, three infants and her grandmother Nyiramadonda – a frail woman leaning on a cane who said she did not know how old she was.

They fled two weeks ago from their farm in Ruhengeri, about 40 miles from the border with Zaire, as the rebel forces of the Rwanda Patriotic Front advanced with mortar fire. Read more…

Aid effort overwhelmed by Rwanda’s dying

July 22, 1994 Leave a comment

GUY DINMORE of Reuters

Friday, 22 July 1994

GOMA – Rwandan refugees stricken by cholera and exhaustion were dying by the thousands yesterday as aid workers sought desperately to stem the epidemic in filthy, overcrowded camps littered with corpses.

The chaos is such that no official figures are available, but Jenneke Kruyt, a Dutch nurse at Munigi camp, said: ‘On the way here this morning we counted the dead on the road and there were 800.’ Refugees were collapsing and dying in their vomit and diarrhoea around tents where medical staff of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), short of supplies, rigged up intravenous drips.

Two mass graves dug by the French military near Zaire’s Goma airport are almost brimming over with roughly 300 bodies each and a third is filling up. MSF is warning that thousands could die of cholera over the next few days. The disease is highly contagious and kills within hours.

Read more…

Cholera fear for Rwanda refugees

July 21, 1994 Leave a comment

GUY DINMORE of Reuters

Thursday, 21 July 1994

GOMA – Hundreds of corpses, many of them children who had trekked in fear out of Rwanda, lay in the streets around Goma yesterday and medical workers feared a cholera epidemic was imminent.

Wrapped in rush mats, or just lying as they had fallen, the bodies of men, women and children could be seen across this Zairean border town, along the roads leading to refugee camps and in the camps themselves.

Workers from the charity organisation, Caritas, and French troops with Operation Turquoise, collected the dead in trucks and took them to a mass grave near a cemetery outside Goma airport.

One truck alone brought in about 100 bodies, adding to the scores already in the grave. At least 70 more bodies lay by the road awaiting burial.

Read more…

Rwanda Rebels in Office As Mass Exit Continues

July 20, 1994 Leave a comment

Article from: Chicago Sun-Times July 20, 1994  by: Guy Dinmore

GOMA, Zaire Victorious Rwandan rebels installed a new government in their capital, Kigali, Tuesday, but the promise of peace failed to stem a flood of hungry and terrified refugees into Zaire. “It’s really an exodus of a nation. The whole country is coming out of its borders. We can’t cope,” said Panos Moumtzis, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Since the rebel Rwanda Patriotic Front seized the border town of Gisenyi on Monday the flood of people into Goma has stopped, but a million refugees had already crossed the frontier. Dozens now are dying each day of hunger, dehydration and disease. “People are dying of dehydration left, right and center but we can’t keep …

Rwandans Die In Frontier Stampede

July 18, 1994 Leave a comment

The Age
Monday July 18, 1994

by GUY DINMORE

Goma, Zaire

As the rebel Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) took a key step towards forming a government, the flood of Rwandans fleeing into Zaire reached up to a million yesterday. And up to 80 were killed in stampedes or by mortars when rebels attacked the retreating Government army in the border town of Gisenyi.

The United Nations and aid agencies appealed to the rebels to halt their advance to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Read more…

“we have no water”

July 11, 1994 Leave a comment

“’We have no water, no toilets. We are suffering here. No food. The Government has brought us nothing. Nobody is helping us,’ said Jean-de-Dieu Hariman, a refugee from the capital Kigali who trekked westwards, driven by the rapidly advancing front…
Family Minster Pauline Nyiramasuhko, speaking in the luxurious and well-guarded confines of the Meridian Hotel, said an estimated 500,000 Hutu refugees had flooded into the Gisenyi district… the ministers insist that having fled from the capital and the town of Gitarama they will stay with their people in Gisenyi.” (Guy Dinmore, Reuters World Service, 11.7.94)

Rwandans flee big rebel push

July 11, 1994 Leave a comment

GUY DINMORE of Reuters

Monday, 11 July 1994

GOMA, Zaire – Hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing a rebel offensive in northwest Rwanda, creating a fresh humanitarian crisis outside the ‘safe haven’ declared by French forces further south, aid workers said yesterday.

The human tidal wave is being driven along by shelling and fear as the rebel Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) closes in on remnants of the government army retreating into a north-west corner of Rwanda just across the border from here.

Read more…