Hutus keep on killing Tutsis in Goma camp: Robert Block in Goma finds Rwanda's genocidal conflict is being carried over to refugee camps in Zaire

ON THE shores of Lake Kivu in Zaire, set against a magnificent backdrop of volcanoes, there is a small compound of white tents surrounded by barbed wire. If it were not for the blue United Nations flag flying over the site, a casual observer might think that the place was a prison camp, instead of a haven for refugees. But there is really not much difference. The residents of the Kituku camp are Tutsis, who dare not leave the enclosure for fear of their lives.

The Hutu war against the Tutsis has not stopped. It has followed the refugees, who fled to Zaire to escape the conflict in Rwanda. Amid an epidemic of cholera and an acute shortage of food and clean drinking water, Hutus in Goma still find time to harass the small camp of Tutsis in the city. Most of the refugees in Kituku are survivors of an orchestrated campaign by Rwanda's former extremist Hutu government to exterminate the Tutsi minority.

According to the refugees and staff at the camp, soldiers of the defeated Rwandan army leave their own refugee centre almost daily for the short walk to Kituku, and wait outside the barbed wire for their chance to strike.

On Saturday two Tutsis from the camp of 6,000 left the enclosure to collect some firewood. Former soldiers jumped on them and beat them with clubs and stones. One Tutsi was almost beaten to death. The other escaped with cuts and bruises. At least one refugee has been killed, refugees in the camp said.

'When they go looking for water or leave to go fishing sometimes they fight. This happens. This is normal because they have been in conflict in their country for so long,' said John-Bosco Musana, a Zairean official from the Catholic relief agency Caritas, which runs Kituku along with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Mr Musana's remark did not meet with the refugees' approval. 'There is nothing normal about being attacked when you go shopping or leave to get wood or go fishing,' said Elie Niyongira, one of the refugees.

The reason why the refugees are fearful became clear yesterday. A group of men in Rwandan military uniforms milled around, outside a thatched market stall near the perimeter of the camp, smoking cigarettes and watching Tutsi refugees. 'You see them there. They are waiting for us,' said Emanuel Nkobana, a former truck driver from Kigali.

Relief agencies, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, are concerned about the attacks, and have complained to the Zairean authorities. A few Zairean soldiers now patrol the area but the refugees said this does little to dissuade their Hutu tormentors.

The continuing attempt of the Hutus in Zaire to attack the Tutsis underlines what many relief workers on the ground have been saying for some time: 'A humanitarian response to the refugee crisis in eastern Zaire without any accountability for the slaughter of innocents in Rwanda only reinforces the belief among the perpetrators that the murder of an estimated 500,000 Tutsis and Hutu moderates was justified.

'This is the problem. Feed the soldiers who committed the crimes without any tangible efforts for justice and they will only go back to what they were doing before. They are still committed to the idea of genocide,' one British relief worker said. The harassment at Kituku may also be due to the fact that, compared to the sprawling refugee camps around Goma, where 1.2 million Hutus live in squalor amid disease and death, the Tutsi camp near Lake Kivu is a paradise.

According to Mr Musana, the cholera and dysentery which have killed an estimated 13,000 Hutus since they fled to Goma nearly two weeks ago, has not touched Kituku. The camp, set up before the Hutus fled to Zaire, has a water treatment system set up by Oxfam. The camp is a model of organisation.

The aid workers believe the reason why Hutus still attack Tutsis is because they still believe the Tutsis are their enemies.

'There is nothing wrong with feeding the distressed, but the international community also has to arrest those responsible for the crimes committed in Rwanda if it doesn't want to reinforce the belief among the Hutus that the genocide of the Tutsis was justifiable,' said James Fennell, the emergency relief co-ordinator for Care International.

As for the Tutsis in Kituku, there is little talk about demands for justice. 'Just tell the world that we want to go home,' one refugee said.

(Photograph omitted)

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
Alexis Sanchez missed a penalty before scoring the opening goal with a header at the back post
footballLive! Sanchez makes up for penalty miss to put Arsenal ahead
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Rooney celebrates with striker-partner Radamel Falcao after the pair combine to put United ahead
footballManchester United vs Newcastle match report
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

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all