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Revenge by Tutsis claimed 100,000 victims, paper says



More than 100,000 Hutus are said to have been killed by Rwanda's ruling Tutsi minority since the end of the genocidal outbreak of 1994, according to reports in the French press. Liberation said yesterday that Hutus became victims of widespread revenge attacks as the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) rebels swept to power.

Even as the world struggled to come to terms with the deaths of up to one million Tutsis and Hutu moderates, Tutsi soldiers are alleged to have gone on the rampage, killing those they held responsible for the genocide.

The newspaper has compiled testimonies from various parts of Rwanda detailing what it says were mass killings.

The massacres of Hutu civilians are reported to have begun soon after the relaunch of the civil war by the Tutsi-dominated RPF in April 1994. The aim of the rebels was to put an end to the genocide, which continued until the overthrow of the Hutu government and the flight of nearly two million Hutu refugees into neighbouring countries in July of that year. The revenge attacks are said to have continued until September 1994 as the rebels consolidated their hold on Rwanda. More massacres are reported to have taken place in February and March of last year.

Liberation says the killing of Hutus was systematic and that it was "tolerated, if not organised by the RPF".

The Rwandan government has in recent months repeatedly rejected accusations by former Hutu government officials that the rebels killed thousands of Hutus after coming to power. The Hutu former prime minister, Faustin Twagiramungu, who last August left the largely Tutsi government which came to power after the genocide, said that some quarter of a million Hutus had been massacred.

It is the fear of persecution and retribution which is preventing hundreds of thousands of Hutu refugees from returning to their homeland. Most prefer to remain in miserable camps in Zaire and other neighbouring countries.