Latest Issue

A narrow escape in Zaire

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

By Matthew Bigg   December 1996


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. They…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect