Fears of new Rwanda exodus

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FEARS mountedyesterday that an immense, new Rwandan refugee exodus might be under way. Aid agency officials warned that at least 1 million people could flood into eastern Zaire from French-controlled areas of south-west Rwanda during the next week.

There was confusion as to whether the movement had actually begun. UN and aid officials at the scene reported thousands of refugees streaming towards the border town of Cyangugu, but an official UN spokesman in Goma, to the north, later denied that significant new movements of population had started.

Over a million Rwandans, mostly Hutus, are already packed into cholera-infected camps along the Zaire border and they show little willingness to go home.

The feared exodus is of Hutus from the protected French zone - some suspected rightly or wrongly of complicity in the massacre of Tutsis - who fear reprisals by the new government when French troops pull out of southern Rwanda in eight days' time.

Meanwhile, yesterday in London Labour frontbenchers renewed theirattack on Tim Renton, the former Conservative cabinet minister, over his links with a telephone game company which, this newspaper revealed last week, was receiving 50p a call from credit card donations to Rwanda charities.

Tom Clarke, Labour's overseas development spokesman, and Marjorie Mowlam, shadow heritage spokeswoman, demanded Mr Renton be referred to the Commons Privileges Committee. The committee is already preparing to examine MPs' outside interests after the allegations about the 'cash for questions' affair.

Until earlier this month, Mr Renton was chairman of Interactive Telephone Services, a Southampton-based phone company. The Hampshire police fraud squad is investigating allegations that a prize draw game run by the company was an illegal private competitor to the National Lottery.

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