UNHCR halts Hutu repatriation

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The Independent Online
n Bujumbura - International pressure was building yesterday on Burundi not to repatriate 85,000 Rwandan Hutu refugees, Reuter reports.

A spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that Burundi had agreed to halt temporarily the forced repatriation of refugees, after appeals from the UN.

Paul Stromberg said that Burundian and Rwandan authorities had officially informed the agency of the move to end the exercise. Crammed into trucks and containers, thousands of refugees have already been dumped at the border of the homeland they now fear.

The UNHCR said more than 2,000 Rwandan Hutu refugees were returned yesterday, bringing to 13,400 the number forced back to their homeland since expulsions began last Friday.