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DATE=2/3/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-245051 TITLE=BURUNDI ATTACK (L) BYLINE=SCOTT STEARNS DATELINE=MAKAMBA CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: REBELS IN BURUNDI HAVE ATTACKED A CAMP FOR DISPLACED CIVILIANS. V-O-A CORRESPONDENT SCOTT STEARNS REPORTS THE ATTACK CAME IN THE THIRD WEEK OF FIGHTING NEAR BURUNDI'S BORDER WITH TANZANIA. TEXT: THE REBELS ATTACKED A CAMP SOUTHEAST OF THE TOWN OF MAKAMBA, ABOUT 30 KILOMETERS FROM BURUNDI'S BORDER WITH TANZANIA. BURUNDI'S ARMY SAYS TROOPS STATIONED NEAR THE CAMP REPULSED THE ATTACK AND DROVE REBELS BACK ACROSS THE BORDER EARLY WEDNESDAY. MORE THAN 20-THOUSAND CIVILIANS HAVE LEFT THEIR HOMES AROUND MAKAMBA IN THE PAST FEW WEEKS FOLLOWING NEW FIGHTING BETWEEN ETHNIC HUTU REBELS AND BURUNDI'S LARGELY TUTSI ARMY. AS MORE AND MORE CIVILIANS FLEE THE LUSH GREEN HILLS ALONG THE MARAGARAZI RIVER, REBELS WHO ONCE CAME TO THEIR VILLAGES IN SEARCH OF FOOD ARE NOW TARGETING DISPLACEMENT CAMPS WHERE INTERNATIONAL AID GROUPS ARE DISTRIBUTING RELIEF SUPPLIES. THE ARMY IS REINFORCING POSITIONS HERE IN SOUTHERN BURUNDI, WITH MORE TROOPS AND LIGHT ARTILLERY. COMMANDER BERNARD BIJONYA SAYS THEY ARE PREPARED TO MEET ANY REBEL CHALLENGE. /// BIJOYNA ACT - FADE UNDER /// COLONEL BIJONYA SAYS HE HAS ENOUGH SOLDIERS IN THE AREA NOW AND THEY ARE DOING A GOOD JOB. HE SAYS THE ARMY IS WORKING TO PROTECT THE PEOPLE FROM WHAT HE CALLS THE KILLERS WHO WANT TO KILL. HUTU REBELS SAY THEY ARE FIGHTING FOR EQUALITY IN BURUNDI WHERE HUTU ARE THE MAJORITY. BUT ETHNIC TUTSI STILL CONTROL THE ARMY AND MOST COMMERCE. REBELS HOLD THE MILITARY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE 1993 ASSASSINATION OF BURUNDI'S FIRST DEMOCRATICALLY-ELECTED PRESIDENT, A HUTU, MELCHIOR NDADAYE. THE MURDER SET OFF A WAVE OF ETHNIC VIOLENCE THAT HAS NOW CLAIMED MORE THAN 200-THOUSAND LIVES. THIS MOST RECENT ROUND OF FIGHTING IN SOUTHERN BURUNDI IS STAGED MOSTLY FROM CAMPS ACROSS THE BORDER IN TANZANIA. COLONEL BIJOYNA SAYS HE HAS RECEIVED LITTLE COOPERATION FROM TANZANIAN AUTHORITIES IN TRYING TO STOP THE CROSS-BORDER RAIDS. /// BIJOYNA ACT - FADE UNDER /// COLONEL BIJOYNA SAYS THAT NORMALLY, COOPERATION IS WHAT YOU WOULD EXPECT FROM A COUNTRY WITH WHICH YOU SHARE A BORDER. UNFORTUNATELY, HE SAYS, THAT IS NOT WHAT IS HAPPENING. COLONEL BIJOYNA SAYS BURUNDI IS HAVING A PROBLEM WITH ITS NEIGHBORS. TANZANIA SAYS ITS TROOPS ALONG THE BORDER ARE NOT HELPING THE REBELS. THE REBELS SAY THEY ARE NOT EVEN IN TANZANIA AND ARE OPERATING ENTIRELY INSIDE BURUNDI. THE REBELS ACCUSE BURUNDI'S ARMY OF KILLING MORE THAN 180 PEOPLE AROUND MAKAMA IN THE PAST FEW WEEKS. THEY SAY SOLDIERS BURNED PEOPLE ALIVE IN THEIR HOMES BECAUSE THEY ACCUSED THEM OF SYMPATHIZING WITH THE REBELS. BURUNDI'S ARMY SAYS SOME CIVILIANS MAY HAVE BEEN KILLED IN THE CROSSFIRE. BUT IT SAYS THERE HAVE BEEN NO RETALIATORY ATTACKS AGAINST THE LOCAL POPULATION. /// REST OPT /// THE THOUSANDS OF CIVILIANS WHO SOUGHT THE ARMY'S PROTECTION SEEM TO BEAR THAT OUT. ONE MAN WHO LEFT HIS FARM SAYS IT IS THE REBELS WHO ARE CAUSING TROUBLE. IF IT HAD BEEN THE ARMY, HE SAYS, HE SAYS HE WOULD HAVE RUN TO TANZANIA WHERE HE KNOWS THERE ARE ALREADY CAMPS WITH FOOD. BUT HE IS STILL IN BURUNDI. AND THAT, HE SAYS, SHOWS HE IS MORE AFRAID OF THE REBELS THAN THE ARMY. (SIGNED) NEB/SKS/JWH 03-Feb-99 1:08 PM EST (1808 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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