Team sets out to calm Hutus

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The Independent Online
KIGALI (AFP) - A Rwandan government team goes to the French safety zone in the south-west tomorrow in an effort to stop a new refugee exodus by reassuring Hutus that the new Tutsi-led authorities will not harm them when France's troops leave, a UN spokesman said yesterday.

One or more ministers of the government installed last month by former rebels of the Tutsi-led Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) will visit the zone accompanied by troops of the UN Assistance Mission in Rwanda (Unamir), Major Jean-Guy Plante said.

'It will be the first time a member of the government speaks with the local population,' he added. The new authorities are determined to staunch an exodus of Hutus from the region for neighbouring Zaire for fear of a renewed ethnic bloodbath when Paris pulls its 1,400 troops out by 22 August.

They will be replaced by up to 2,400 troops from Ghana, Ethiopia and French-speaking African countries.

France set up the safety zone, covering a fifth of the country, in June after two months of carnage, but the RPF opposed the intervention by Paris, which it accuses of backing previous Hutu regimes and extremist militias.

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