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Thursday, August 13, 1998 Published at 17:56 GMT 18:56 UK

World: Africa

Congolese radio calls for Tutsi massacre

The uprising began in the eastern border towns

Diplomats in the Democratic Republic of Congo have called on the government in Kinshasa to guarantee the safety of all those under its authority.

Mark Doyle: "Spectre of tribal violence"
The call follows reports of several hundred Tutsis being detained by the military and radio broadcasts in the east of the country calling on the Congolese "to take revenge" on Rwandan Tutsis and "massacre them without mercy".

The broadcasts have been made over several days on the French-language, Congolese RTNC radio from Bunia, in the northeastern district of Ituri close to the border with Uganda.

Listeners have been urged to arm themselves and prepare for a long war: "People must bring a machete, a spear, an arrow, a hoe, spades, rakes, nails, truncheons, electric irons, barbed wire, stones, and the like, in order, dear listeners, to kill the Rwandan Tutsis."

Radio broadcasts were used extensively by the former Rwandan government to mobilise Hutu militia during the genocidal civil war of 1994. Over one million Tutsis are thought to have been killed.

Red Cross visits

The Kinshasa government said some Tutsis were being held for their own protection because, in the present climate, they faced being lynched by the general population.

It said the human rights of military and civilian prisoners of war would be respected.

[ image: Refugees without identity papers are treated with suspicion by the Congolese forces]
Refugees without identity papers are treated with suspicion by the Congolese forces
The Congolese Minister for Human Rights, Leonard Okintunda, said those detained would be allowed to see representatives of the Red Cross.

But the BBC's West Africa Correspondent, Mark Doyle, says there is such distrust between Tutsis and other ethnic groups in Congo that his assurances are unlikely to be accepted by the Tutsi community.

The Congolese Government has accused Tutsi-led Rwanda of backing the rebellion, an allegation it denies.

But Rwanda did protest against what it called the persecution of Rwandans and ethnic Tutsis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by the government of President Kabila.

Foreign Affairs Minister Anastase Gasana said human rights violations included beatings of Rwandans and people associated with them as well as looting of their property.

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