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November 11, 1996 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-11-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Debate rises,
over whether aid
he ed Rwanda


The Michigan Daily - Monday, November 11, 1993 - 7A
Bomb kills 13 in
Moscow cemetery.

U.N. agencies, relief
groups debate if aid
added to refugee crisis
The Washington Post
KIGALI, Rwanda - From the start,
aid agencies knew the Rwandan
refugee crisis of 1994 was an.extraordi-
There were the numbers: 1.1 million
Hutus, Rwanda's ethnic majority,
streamed into eastern Zaire in just a few
days, seeking to escape reprisals after
carrying out a campaign to wipe out the
minority Tutsi tribe.
There was the chaos: 40,000 people
died, primarily of cholera, after
exhausted refugees set up camps of
4 ,000 to 200,000 people atop vol-
ic rock around the border town of
Goma. About 700,000 Hutu refugees
would settle there.
And there was the makeup of the
refugees: Many of those in the camps
had participated in the genocide. They
had been leaders and members of the
Hutu army and militias that scuttled
into Zaire after a Tutsi-led rebel force
stopped the slaughter in Rwanda.
Many relief agencies publicly voiced
cern over the appropriateness of
'ping refugees associated with geno-
cide against Tutsis, but few organiza-
tions acted on those concerns.
Today the crisis in eastern Zaire has
again exploded, with hundreds of
thousands of refugees cut off from aid
because of fighting that pits the
Zairian military and Hutu militants
against the Rwandan army and
Ztirian Tutsi rebels.
*The tragedy has launched an
anguished debate among U.N. agencies
and relief workers over whether aid
groups exacerbated the refugee crisis
by serving in the eastern Zaire camps,
which became bases for the Hutu mili-
"Should we have stopped feeding the
refugees?" said Brenda Barton,
spokesperson for the World Food
Program. "No. We were here to provide
* d to hungry people.... We have a
clear mandate."
Doctors Without Borders, however,
stopped most of its work in the camps
in December 1994. "We pulled out

because we thought we were being used
to fuel another war," said spokesperson
Samantha Bolton. "We were getting
death threats. ... The militias were
intimidating the refugees. They were
killing people right in front of us. We
had to protest."
For the first few weeks of the 1994
refugee crisis, aid agencies did what
they are paid to do. They fed people.
They clothed them. They provided
water and medicine and shelter.
But prickly issues soon emerged.
Should they supply camps peopled
with refugees whose food was being
taken by Hutu militants and redistrib-
Should they work in sites where the
exiled army had begun rearming itself
and using the camps as military training
Should they provide medicine to
militia members who set up kangaroo
courts within the camps and killed fel-
low refugees in front of aid workers?
Those issues proved especially diffi-
cult for the U.N. High Commissioner
for Refugees, charged with overall
coordination of relief efforts during
such crises.
Critics have said the agency did not
press hard enough to bring the refugees
home, should have moved camps away
from Rwanda's borders and should have
found ways to separate Hutu militants
from other refugees.
In turn, representatives of the
agency have charged that U.N. mem-
bers knew of the crisis within the
camps and did nothing. They point
out that shortly after the crisis began,
the High Commissioner for Refugees
called for an international police
force to separate the refugees. The
United Nations said no.
"We've tried to say from the begin-
ning that some of these people are not
really refugees," said refugee agency
spokesperson Paul Stromberg.
"People knew that was going to be a
But Stromberg admits that his agency-
and the aid community generally-made
mistakes. "There was an unwillingness
to move away from seeing this as a
human catastrophe to this issue" of mili-
tants in the camps, he said. "We should
have yelled and screamed and made it

The Washington Post
MOSCOW -A remote-controlled
bomb set off at a crowded memorial
service in a Moscow cemetery killed
13 people and wounded two dozen
others yesterday in what police and
news reports described as a war
among criminal gangs over rich, tax-
exempt social funds.
Although contract killings and
Mafia feuds have become common-
place here in recent years, the attack
was the single most deadly act of vio-
lence in the city in recent memory.
The bomb exploded at 11:35 a.m.
at the Kotlaykovskoe Cemetery in
southern Moscow as more than 100

fund who was assassinated by .a
bomb outside his apartment two
years ago.
Yesterday's remote-control bomb
killed his widow, Yelena
Krasnolutskaya, and the current head
of the fund, Sergei Trakhirov.
The fund is one of several ostensi-
bly social and, charitable organiza-
tions that have received the right to
import goods such as cigarettes and
liquor tax-free in recent years. The
funds have made enormous profits
from selling the goods in Russia, and
the proceeds have sparked feuds
among rival criminal groups and
Police said the bomb was the equiv-
alent of 4 to 6
pounds of TNT

people gathered
vodka toasts in
memory of the
head of an
A fg h a n - w a r
veterans' group
who was killed
in another
bomb blast two
years ago.
As in earlier
attacks, the
country's politi-
cal leaders
wasted no time
in declaring
their shock and
anger. Prime
Minister Viktor

around a table for
an old sei
scores ani
that sett)
-Col. S
Russian FE

A Rwandan woman sits next to her belongings as she waits with other refugees
for permission to enter Rwanda at the Rwanda-Zaire border on Saturday.

clear that the solution to this crisis was
not going to be strictly humanitarian....
It had to be political."
Barton, of the World Food
Program, said her organization,
knowing of the problems of food dis-
tribution, tried to give food directly to
families, bypassing militant camp
leaders. The agency also tried to offer
food from within Rwanda to lure
refugees home.
Since the summer of 1994, the World
Food Program generally has provided
between 8,000 and 9,000 tons of food
per month to the camps.
Barton said separating the refugees
was impossible because "if the (Hutu
militiamen) aren't wearing uniforms,
how can you even know who they are?
And you have to remember that a lot of
people in these camps were women
and children."
Bolton, of Doctors Without Borders,
said the brazenness of the Hutu extrem-
ists compelled her organization to act.
The Hutus did training exercises in the
open. They set up a prison in one camp,
where they held dissident refugees and
others who opposed them. They killed

patients in camp hospitals.
"Refugees would come to us on the
quiet and ask, 'What's really happening
in Rwanda?' " Bolton said. "After we
told them, these young guys would sur-
round our people and yell, 'You're
lying! You're lying!'"
The spokesperson said that in the
end, many of the 100-plus organizations
stayed in the camps because the
Rwandan crisis filled their coffers.
"Everybody made a lot of money out.
of Goma," she said. "We were on TV all
the time. People were giving us a lot of
money. It was a good fund-raiser to say
you were working in Goma."
International aid workers left the
camps Nov. 1, after three days of
fighting in Goma trapped them in
their offices and in the U.N. com-
pound in town. Today they face fresh
questions, as the United Nations and
governments grapple with how best to
aid an unreachable refugee popula-
Many organizations are not sure what
to do. They say they simply know that
much of what they have done for the
past two years has failed.

Chernomyrdin described the attack as
a "terrorist act." It came on Police
Day, and Chernomyrdin announced
he had canceled a concert to celebrate
the holiday.
Internal Affairs Minister Anatoly
Kulikov said, "I already ordered all
our operative services in the ministry
to get to their. feet in order to solve
this case, audacious in its scale and
by the choice of the moment of the
Such crimes are rarely solved, how-
There have been no arrests in the
assassination of an American busi-
ness executive in a Moscow subway
entrance last week, nor have the
Russian police apprehended those
who carried out a host of other mur-
ders of prominent individuals in
recent years, including an investiga-
tive reporter, a television personality,
a priest and several bankers.
The blast, which left a crater near-
ly 5 feet deep and threw some victims
70 yards away, came at a memorial
service for Mikhail Likhodei, the
chair of an Afghan-war veterans-aid

Sthis is and may have
been a land.
mine. It had
been placed
id a under a table
and was deto-
ion of nated as those
gathered next
ingr o f to it were coin-
Likhodei with
tanislav Zhorin toasts of vodka.
ederal Security Many of the
Service victims' bodies
were too badly
mangled for immediate identifica-
tion, police said.
According to Russian television
reports, two factions had been fight-
ing for control of the Afghan War
Invalids' Foundation.
The group was running social pro-
grams to aid 14,000 wounded soldiers
from the Soviet Union's decade-long
war in Afghanistan, but the killings
appear to have been a duel over
money, not social welfare.
"I think this is an old settling of
scores and a continuation of that set-
tling of scores connected with
Likhodei," Col. Stanislav Zhorin of
the Russian Federal Security Service
told reporters.
A year after Likhodei was killed,
another official of the fund, Valery
Radchikov, was the target of an
attempted assassination.
Senior Sgt. Nikolai Lenika of the
Moscow Southern District police
headquarters said, "It is fairly clear
that money played a deciding"role.
And all those in society, from top to
bottom, who have money attract orga-
nized crime:'


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