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Sunday, March 7, 1999 Published at 14:54 GMT

World: Africa

Uganda tightens security

Ugandan soldiers are now patrolling Bwindi National Park

The Ugandan Government has suspended trekking in two national parks following last week's murder of eight foreign tourists and four Ugandan guides at the Bwindi forest reserve.

The state-owned Sunday Vision newspaper quoted the Minister of Tourism, Brigadier Moses Ali, as saying trekking would not be allowed for another month.

[ image: Around 100 rebels attacked the camp]
Around 100 rebels attacked the camp
The minister said a special committee had been set up to review the immediate and long-term security of Uganda's national parks.

The officer in charge of operations in western Uganda, Colonel Benon Biraro, told the paper that the army had been extensively deployed in the region.

Last week, the Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, criticised what he called the "laxity" in the approach towards the safety of tourists in the parks.

"The authorities concerned should have had the foresight to take precautions in the case of Bwindi, which is close to the Congo border," he said, after vowing to hunt down those responsible for the killings.

The tourists were kidnapped by a band of around 100 armed Rwandan Interahamwe rebels, who overran their camp in the Bwindi National Park.

The Hutu guerrillas - based in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo - are reported to have said they were angry with the US and UK governments for supporting their Tutsi enemies.

The Interahamwe fled Rwanda after taking part in the 1994 genocide of more than 500,000 Tutsis.

They have been launching raids into Uganda from bases in eastern Congo to ambush vehicles and kidnap or kill passengers.

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