Clinton wants African force to intervene in Rwanda: Washington rules out use of American troops to halt massacres as rebels 'close border' to fleeing refugees

IN AN effort to stop the mass killings in Rwanda, the United States is considering a plan to organise and pay for armed intervention by neighbouring African states. The Clinton administration has ruled out direct use of US forces and does not believe any Western state wants to become involved.

This leaves action by Rwanda's neighbours as the only practical alternative likely to stop the massacres or end the civil war.

The United Nations Secretary- General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, has asked the Organisation of African Unity to draw up a plan for ending the crisis, which the UN could then endorse.

US officials appear to be floating the idea of African intervention, helped financially and logistically by the US, to see how it would be received. Officials told the New York Times that the plan was still at a preliminary stage but the alternative was to do nothing at all.

There is a precedent for regional intervention in Rwanda in the deployment of the Nigerian-led West African peace-keeping force to stop the civil war in Liberia. Rwanda's immediate neighbours - Uganda, Tanzania and Zaire - all have weak armies that could scarcely intervene unless supported with equipment and transport.

At the beginning of last month, when the UN Security Council voted to cut the UN force in Rwanda to token size, African members said they would prefer to have seen it reinforced. At the time none offered to send troops.

The Clinton administration is conscious it is suffering political damage because of its failure to achieve its ends in Bosnia, Somalia or Haiti. Officials in Washington feel that criticism is often unfair because the problems involved are intractable, and they do not want to become involved in Rwanda unless they can see some prospect of success.

GAHINI (Reuter) - An exodus of refugees fleeing to Tanzania from tribal slaughter in Rwanda dried up when advancing rebels occupied the frontier, a UN official said yesterday. A relaxed band of rebels lounged at the Rusomo border bridge, the only escape across the Kagera River from south-east Rwanda.

On the Tanzanian side, exhausted Rwandans, some with bloody feet bound in rags, slept on open ground or sheltered from rain under bushes. On the Rusomo bridge lay piles of machetes which Tanzanian soldiers guarding the border had ordered refugees to leave behind.

Most of the refugees who crossed at Rusomo belonged to the majority Hutu tribe and were fleeing in fear of mainly-Tutsi rebels of the Rwanda Patriotic Front, witnesses said.

Jacques Franquin, a UN High Commissioner for Refugees official, said from the north-west Tanzanian town of Mwanza that an estimated 250,000 people arrived in the 24 hours before RPF fighters reached Rusomo bridge at dusk on Friday.

'From the moment the RPF arrived they stopped coming, but it's dangerous to allege they have closed the border,' he said. 'Maybe we have some displaced people still inside Rwanda who want to leave but are scared of the RPF. There is no proof. Another theory is all those who wanted to leave have already gone.'

The RPF denied that it had prevented refugees from fleeing, and appealed to those who had crossed the border to come home.

'The RPF denies unfounded reports to the effect that it might be stopping people from fleeing and has closed the border on that side,' said rebel Radio Muhabura, monitored by the BBC.

Leading article, Page 13

(Photograph omitted)

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Divers at Bouldnor Cliff underwater site in the Solent off the Isle of Wight, where the silt sample containing the einkorn DNA was found
Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower