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Friday, 3 August, 2001, 17:59 GMT 18:59 UK
Rwanda 'crushes' Hutu rebels
Rwanda Patriotic Front Soldiers
Rwanda government says its army is "ready" for the insurgents
The Rwandan army says it has crushed attempts by Hutu militiamen and former government soldiers to cross into the north-west of the country from neighbouring Congo.

Defence Minister Colonel Emmanuel Habyarimana told reporters in the capital, Kigali, that his forces had killed an estimated 1,800 rebels, and captured another 1,000 in operations in the past two months.


We are ready for them. it is not their numbers that frighten us, it is their ideology

Defence Minister Habyarimana
He put Rwandan army losses at 15 soldiers. There was no independent confirmation of the figures.

But he admitted the rebels are still a threat in the south-east of the country, adding: "We are waiting for them. It is not the numbers that frighten us, it is their ideology."

Withdrawal

A BBC correspondent in Kigali says the ideology referred to is that which led the interahamwe Hutu militia to massacre nearly a million Tutsis and moderate Hutus in the 1994 genocide.

They then fled over the border to Zaire, which later became DR Congo, when the Tutsi minority Rwandan Patriotic Front seized power in Kigali.

Since then Rwandan Government troops have been fighting against them and former government soldiers.

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda
President Kageme Hutu interahamwe want him out
Rwanda and Uganda have backed an insurgency by rebel forces inside Congo.

However, both countries have undertaken to withdraw their forces under the Lusaka accord, which calls for the withdrawal of all foreign armies.

Two groups

The interahamwe and ex-government soldiers now call themselves the Army for the Liberation of Rwanda (Alir) and are split into two groups - Alir 1 and Alir 2.

It is understood the Rwandan authorities see Alir 1 as the tougher of the two out to overthrow the government of Paul Kagame.

Commentators believe as the ceasefire takes hold in DR Congo the rebels are seeking bases back in Rwanda.

See also:

05 Aug 01 | Europe
Rwanda nuns guilty of genocide
17 Jul 00 | Africa
Rwanda counts its dead
22 Jan 00 | Africa
Rwanda updates genocide list
16 Dec 99 | Africa
UN admits failure in Rwanda
13 Jul 01 | Africa
Rwanda praises Europe arrests
25 Jul 01 | Africa
Interahamwe: A spent force?
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