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DATE=2/5/99 TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT NUMBER=5-42530 TITLE=BURUNDI FIGHTING BYLINE=SCOTT STEARNS DATELINE=MBIZI, BURUNDI CONTENT= VOICED AT: /// EDS: DESIGNED FOR USE SATURDAY /// INTRO: FIGHTING IN SOUTHERN BURUNDI HAS DISPLACED THOUSANDS OF CIVILIANS. AS V-O-A'S SCOTT STEARNS REPORTS FROM TO THE VILLAGE OF MBIZI IN BURUNDI, THE GOVERNMENT AND AID AGENCIES ARE MOVING IN TO HELP PEOPLE DRIVEN OFF THEIR LAND. TEXT: ///NATURAL SOUND OF REFUGEE CAMP -- ESTABLISH, AND UNDER/// IN A SMALL CAMP OF STICK HUTS IN THE LUSH, GREEN HILLS OF SOUTHERN BURUNDI, FAMILIES COOK OVER OPEN FIRES. THE THICK SMOKE RISES INTO CLOUDS, HEAVY WITH RAIN. THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ON THIS RIDGE IN THE VILLAGE OF MIBZI ARE WAITING FOR IT TO BE SAFE ENOUGH TO GO HOME. FIGHTING BETWEEN ETHNIC HUTU REBELS AND BURUNDI'S LARGELY TUTSI ARMY HAS ROCKED SOUTHERN MAKAMBA PROVINCE OVER MUCH OF THE LAST MONTH. //OPT// EIGHTY-YEAR-OLD DOMINIC NTIRWIHISHA LEANS ON A WEATHERED WALKING STICK, AND LOOKS OUT OVER LAND HIS FAMILY HAS OWNED FOR GENERATIONS. /// NTIRWIHISHA ACT IN KIRUNDI -- ESTABLISH AND FADE /// MR. NTIRWIHISHA SAYS REBELS CAME TO THEIR VILLAGE AND BURNED ALL THE HOUSES, KILLING TWO PEOPLE WHO WERE TRAPPED INSIDE. HE'S SLEEPING UNDER A PLASTIC TARP NOW, IN A CAMP WHERE HE SAYS MANY PEOPLE ARE SICK AND HAVE NOWHERE ELSE TO GO. //END OPT// AFTER MONTHS OF RELATIVE CALM IN SOUTHERN BURUNDI, THE GOVERNMENT SAYS THIS LATEST ROUND OF FIGHTING CAME AS SOMETHING OF A SURPRISE. HUTU REBELS SAY THEY WANT EQUALITY IN BURUNDI, WHERE HUTU ARE THE MAJORITY, BUT TUTSI STILL CONTROL THE ARMY AND MOST COMMERCE. REBELS SAY THE GOVERNMENT IS MURDERING CIVILIANS WHO IT BELIEVES SYMPATHIZE WITH THE REBELLION. PRESIDENT PIERRE BUYOYA SAYS REBELS BASED IN TANZANIA ARE TERRORIZING THE SAME PEOPLE THEY SAY THEY ARE TRYING TO HELP. /// BUYOYA ACT /// THE REBELS CAME IN FROM TANZANIA, BEGAN TO KILL PEOPLE, TO BURN HOUSES ON THE BORDER BETWEEN BURUNDI AND TANZANIA. AND, OF COURSE, THE ARMY INTERVENED. AND MAYBE BY FIGHTING BETWEEN THE REBELS AND THE ARMY, IT IS POSSIBLE THAT SOME CIVILIANS HAVE BEEN KILLED. /// END ACT /// REBELS SAY THEY HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH TANZANIA AND ARE NOT OPERATING OUT OF REFUGEE CAMPS NEAR THE BORDER. INNOCENT NIMPAGARITSE IS THE REBEL EXTERNAL AFFAIRS SPOKESMAN. /// NIMPAGARITSE ACT /// WE ARE VERY THANKFUL FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF TANZANIA BECAUSE IT HAS ACCEPTED ALL THESE PEOPLE WHO ARE REFUGEES TO STAY IN THAT COUNTRY. BUT FIGHTERS ARE INSIDE THE COUNTRY. /// END ACT /// WHEREVER THE REBELS ARE BASED, THEY ARE FIGHTING IN SOUTHERN BURUNDI -- AND THAT MEANS MORE TROUBLE FOR CIVILIANS, AND MORE CHALLENGES FOR LOCAL LEADERS. GABRIEL GUNUMGU IS THE GOVERNOR OF MAKAMBA PROVINCE. HE SAYS THE VIOLENCE HAS DISRUPTED THE LIVES OF EVERYONE, //OPT// FROM BUSINESSMEN PAYING HIGHER TRANSPORT COSTS, TO MARKET WOMEN CUT OFF FROM THEIR SUPPLIERS, TO THE FARMERS THEMSELVES DRIVEN FROM THEIR LAND. //END OPT// /// GUNUMGU ACT IN FRENCH -- ESTABLISH AND FADE /// BECAUSE THE HEALTH SITUATION IN THE DISPLACED CAMPS IS NOT GOOD, GOVERNOR GUNUMGU SAYS, LOCAL AUTHORITIES ARE WORKING WITH AID AGENCIES TO PROVIDE FREE MEDICAL CARE TO THE MORE THAN THREE-THOUSAND CIVILIANS LIVING ON THIS RIDGE IN MBIZI. /// ACT OF NATURAL SOUND -- ROLL CALL OF NAMES BEING READ; ESTABLISH AND FADE UNDER AND OUT /// RED CROSS VOLUNTEERS CALL OUT THE NAMES OF WOMEN WAITING TO RECEIVE BLANKETS AND PLASTIC SHEETING, A FEW BARS OF SOAP AND CLEAN DRINKING WATER. FOR NOW, MOST PEOPLE HAVE ENOUGH FOOD, SO HUNGER IS NOT A BIG PROBLEM HERE. //OPT// RELIEF OFFICIALS SAY MOST CIVILIANS STILL HAVE ABOUT 10 DAYS OF SUPPLIES. THE UNITED NATIONS IS PREPARING TO DISTRIBUTE FOOD FOR ABOUT 30-THOUSAND PEOPLE. //END OPT// DR. LEIVIN NSAYIUMVA RUNS A MOBILE HEALTH CLINIC. HE SAYS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE NOW IS PREVENTING AN OUTBREAK OF DISEASE IN THESE MAKESHIFT CAMPS WITHOUT PROPER SANITATION. /// NSAYIUMVA ACT /// THE SITUATION IS VERY DIFFICULT BECAUSE THESE PEOPLE ARE JUST DISPLACED AND WE ... FIND THEM HERE. WE COME WITH OUR MOBILE CLINIC AND WE TRY TO MAKE A CONSULTATION, AND WE TREAT. THE WAR -- IT BRINGS VERY MANY ILLNESSES. AND THE EPIDEMIC SITUATION CHANGES IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE WAR. THERE ARE MANY CASES OF MALARIA, DIARRHEA AND INFECTION OF THE LUNGS. ///END ACT/// MORE THAN A HALF-MILLION PEOPLE ARE ALREADY DISPLACED BY FIGHTING. THAT'S NEARLY ONE OUT OF EVERY 10 BURUNDIANS. THE ARMY IS MOVING REINFORCEMENTS INTO THE SOUTH IN AN EFFORT TO STOP CROSS-BORDER RAIDS AND GET MORE PEOPLE BACK TO THEIR HOMES. (SIGNED) NEB/SKS/PCF 05-Feb-99 2:03 PM EST (1903 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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