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Thursday, March 4, 1999 Published at 18:37 GMT


Scotland Yard joins Uganda hunt

Scotland Yard detectives will join the hunt for the rebels

A team of three Scotland Yard detectives is flying to Uganda to join the investigation into the massacre of eight tourists.

The Foreign Office announced the move as the Ugandan army continues its search for the Hutu rebels responsible for the attack on camps in the Bwindi Forest.

The BBC's Martin Dawes in Uganda: Troops are in hot pursuit
Four Britons on a gorilla-watching trip were among those who died when the rebels launched their cross border raid.

The attack appears to have been staged in revenge for Anglo-American backing for the Rwandan government, and already the US has sent a team of FBI agents to help in the investigation.

[ image: Mark Avis with his wife Ronda, who was killed]
Mark Avis with his wife Ronda, who was killed
One of the British survivors of the murders is now back in London.

Mark Avis, who holds dual British and New Zealand nationality, arrived at Gatwick Airport early on Thursday morning.

Mr Avis's New Zealand wife, Rhonda, was among those killed in the massacre.

Police and troops hunt rebels

Hundreds of Ugandan troops have crossed the border into neighbouring Congo to hunt for the rebels.

They have been reinforced by police on the Ugandan side in an effort to close in on the Congo-based Rwandan Interahamwe.

The search operation, involves a battalion of at least 600 Ugandan soldiers and an unknown number of Rwandan troops.

Uganda's private Central Broadcasting Service said the rebels had distributed letters warning they would launch further attacks.

He said the bodies of the eight slain tourists would be flown out of the country by the end of Friday.

'Wanton criminal act'

Uganda's government-owned New Vision newspaper reported Thursday that government forces killed 15 rebels in a gunbattle within the park.

[ image:  ]
It quoted unnamed sources as saying the insurgents appeared to have been retreating from the scene of the tourist killings.

The army also recovered weapons and 69 cattle the rebels had looted, the report said.

The Organization of African Unity has strongly condemned the tourists' slaughter, calling it "a wanton criminal act committed by a group of people who have no respect whatsoever for the sanctity of life and human dignity".

The four Britons killed by the rebels were Martin Friend, from Orpington in Kent Mark Lindgren, 23, from St Albans in Hertfordshire Steven Roberts, 27, from Edinburgh Joanne Cotton, from Essex, who worked for London-based tour firm Acacia Expeditions that organised trips to the area.


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