More children are massacred as US backs Rwanda mission

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The Independent Online
AS THE United States dropped its objections in the United Nations Security Council to strengthening the mandate and the numbers of peace- keeping troops in Rwanda, 10 children were found hacked to death in the capital, Kigali. UN officials in the city said the atrocity could have been prevented if there had been more UN troops there.

UN officials discovered the bodies of a Rwandan UN employee, her five children and five other children hiding in her home on Monday night. They were in an area controlled by government forces. Neighbours said that men in civilian clothes carrying machetes kicked in the door and butchered the woman and children. Abdul Kabia, the UN spokesman in Kigali, said: 'They were hacked, hacked to death . . . it is horrible. None of the children was above seven years old.'

Five weeks after the killings began the UN Security Council voted early yesterday to send 5,500 African troops to Rwanda. They will be allowed to protect themselves, aid routes and civilians in their care, but will not use force to stop the fighting or prevent massacres in areas outside their control. In a bizarre meeting the Rwandan Foreign Minister, whose government stands accused of genocide, took the chair and made a speech blaming the Tutsis for the massacres. Sources at the meeting described the speech as racist but only New Zealand chose to object to the Foreign Minister's remarks.

Later in the meeting the US ambassador, Madeleine Albright, rang Washington on her mobile telephone to check US policy before finally dropping most objections to the Rwanda plan of Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the UN Secretary- General. One hundred and fifty extra troops will be sent immediately to Kigali but the other 5,500 will not be deployed until Mr Boutros-Ghali has reported back to the Security Council.

International aid organisations welcomed the decision but Medecins sans Frontieres warned that it could take more than four weeks to implement, too late to save lives.

Last night the rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front warned that if UN peace-keepers came between its forces and government troops they would be treated as the enemy and engaged.

The RPF said it had encircled Kigali, and may attack Gitarama, where the remnant of the government is living. Thousands of refugees are still pouring across the borders with Tanzania and Burundi.

US footdragging, page 12

Don't blame the UN, page 16

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