Rwandan rebels agree to ceasefire

Click to follow
TUNIS (Reuter) - The rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) envoy at an African summit said yesterday he had agreed to a ceasefire in the fighting with government forces. Pasteur Bizimungu said the ceasefire agreement under the auspices of the Organisation of African Unity would be announced formally by heads of state today before they close their annual summit, overshadowed by the bloodshed in Rwanda.

'Ceasefire means cessation of all hostilities, of massacres and genocide and release of hostages,' Mr Bizimungu said after talks mediated by Zaire's President, Mobutu Sese Seko. A Rwandan government delegate at the summit confirmed that Mr Bizimungu had agreed a ceasefire.

In the Rwandan capital, Kigali, a UN official said that Hutu militias abducted up to 40 children sheltering in a church complex in a government-held part of the city yesterday and almost certainly butchered them. 'When they take them away they usually kill them,' said Brigadier-General Henry Anyidoho, the deputy force commander of the UN Assistance Mission in Rwanda (Unamir).

UN observers who went to the Ste Famille church, where at least 2,500 mainly Tutsi people are sheltering, said they were told the news by a priest, who said he heard bursts of gunfire shortly after the children were taken away.

Colonel Frank Mugambage, the RPF negotiator in local UN-brokered talks with the government army, said: 'If the government army didn't do it then they are complicit in the killing.' Militias had blocked a UN evacuation of civilians trapped in the Ste Famille complex earlier in the day. About 300 were taken out of the church into rebel zones on Monday.