1,000 refugees refuse to quit Kibeho camp

Kigali (AFP) - A trickle of refugees left the displaced persons camp at Kibeho in southwestern Rwanda yesterday, but about 1,000 continue to defy a government order to close the facility, according to the UN.

Around 30 Hutu refugees left the camp yesterday, the UN Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) said, bringing to around 1,000 the number of displaced persons who, weakened by hunger, untreated wounds and sickness, have left over the past week.

UN trucks took 270 refugees out of the camp on Thursday, but by yesterday the stream of displaced persons wanting to return to their villages had been reduced to a trickle, UNAMIR spokesman Ismael Diallo said.

The remaining Hutus, holed up in a school in the camp, refuse to leave despite atrocious conditions and a total lack of food and water. They fear death at the hands of either Tutsi soldiers of the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) or fellow villagers.

The Tutsi-led Rwandan government ordered the camps shut last month believing they housed Hutu extremists responsible for last year's massacres in which at least 500,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus died.