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A narrow escape in Zaire

Matthew Bigg, Reuters correspondent, finds himself the victim of ethnic rage in eastern Zaire

By Matthew Bigg   December 1996

Reuters

October 1996

Drunk and loaded with an assortment of weapons, Zairean troops in the town of Bukavu started hunting for ethnic Tutsis. Hundreds of civilians gathered to watch the spectacle of the notoriously ill-disciplined Zairean army at work after the authorities had given an estimated 300,000 ethnic Tutsi Banyamulenge one week to leave. The ultimatum gave civilians and soldiers licence to start an open season against the ethnic Tutsis, and even non-Banyamulenege-myself included-were trapped in the spiral of popular hatred.

The Tutsi Banyamulenge arrived from Rwanda up to 200 years ago but are still denied Zairean citizenship.…

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