World opinion on the massacre of western tourists by Hutu rebels in the Bwindi national park
THE KILLINGS will, no doubt, add significantly to the amount of negative publicity the East African region has had to endure for some time now. Despite an infrastructure that does not leave particularly happy memories in the minds of visitors, eastern Africa's natural resources and beauty continue to lure many to this part of the world. It was indeed the captivating sight of the rare mountain gorillas that lured the visitors to Uganda. We hope that this sad and tragic end to what should have been a happy adventure will be seen in its right perspective - as the work of people who have no moral or political legitimacy for the war they are involved in.
THE UNITED States cannot be the world's police force. But in Africa, the US needs to do more. It provides minimal financial support for peacekeeping efforts. Why so little? And instead of dithering around as it did as hundreds of thousands were slaughtered in Rwanda in 1994, why not be publicly prepared, when genocide occurs, to call it that and drive the appropriate forces to intervene? Odds are none of that would have saved the lives lost this week in Uganda. On the other hand, a feeble policy of disengagement hasn't helped any, either.
Sydney Morning Herald
THE DEATHS in Uganda underline Central Africa's slide into chaos. Government exists in name only through the region. Sorting out this mess will take more resolve than the international community has shown. If something as horrific as the Rwandan genocide was left unchecked for as long as it was, the collapse of Central Africa will be slow to raise eyebrows. Meanwhile Uganda has just been added to those other destinations (such as Yemen) which tourists should approach with great caution.
San Francisco Chronicle
THIS IS bitter proof of how easily bystanders can be swept up in one of Africa's nastiest conflicts. Among those who escaped was a Bay Area resident, Linda Adams. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni vowed to capture or kill the rebels. He admitted his government failed to warn visitors that Hutu rebels were operating in Uganda and had issued threats against foreigners. We admire Adams' ingenuity in escaping, and we extend our condolences to the victims of the Hutu's barbarism.
THIS IS only the latest instance of foreigners falling victim to local political conflicts. While the exact motivation has yet to be ascertained, it can be said with certainty that the killings were staged with the express aim of scaring off visitors from a country desperately seeking to revive its tourist industry. The Ugandan killings fit into this trend of rebels treating foreigners as fair game in their struggle against political enemies. The challenge for these countries is how to deal with the perpetrators of the crimes without resorting to measures that might prove counter-productive to relations with, ironically, the same Western nations whose citizens are the most vulnerable targets.
THIS IS a solemn reminder that it is dangerous for anyone, certainly Americans, to venture into a war zone. That entire region is engulfed in a struggle. On one side, a corrupt dictator and his allies, including a band of genocidal killers. On the other pro-democracy rebels and democratic governments in Rwanda and Uganda. Yet, somehow, the US maintains its neutrality. This is a fight between right and wrong, good and evil. While the United States should not commit troops, of course, financial aid is long overdue.Reuse content