An international human rights watchdog group said Thursday it has new evidence of “a campaign of terror” waged by Zairian rebels and government troops against civilians and refugees.
The report by Amnesty International said the evidence, gathered from Rwandan Hutu refugees who fled attacks by rebels in eastern Zaire, showed a “systematic and deliberate policy of armed attacks and indiscriminate killings to flush out civilians in refugee camps.”
The report singled out the Tutsi-led rebels, the Alliance of Democratic Forces for Liberation of Congo-Zaire, for several mass killings of hospital patients, missionaries and villagers.
It said the rebels had kept a swath of land under their control “hidden to international scrutiny” for almost two months, only recently allowing restricted access.
In their two-month insurgency against Zairian President Mobutu Sese Seko, the rebels - who Zaire says are backed by Uganda and Tutsi-led governments in neighboring Rwanda and Burundi - routed the government army and sent some 640,000 Rwandan Hutu refugees fleeing home.
Amnesty also accused Zairian government troops of “mass killings, armed attacks and forcible expulsions,” all against the local Tutsis, or Banyamulenge.
The Tanzanian daily newspaper Alasiri reported Tuesday that Zairian army troops were besieging an area with about 6,700 Banyamulenge north of the Lake Tanganyika port of Kalemie.