Rwanda: April 2, 2000


Hutu rebels fought a two-hour long skirmish with Burundian government forces outside of Bujumbura. A Burundian Army spokesman said the rebels retreated to the "Kanyosha and Kabezi communes" in the Bujumbura-Rural province surrounding the capital. Though no one was killed in the skirmish, the battle emphasizes the difficulties faced by the mediation commission headed by former South African president Nelson Mandela. Seven days ago, Mandela said he thought a "breakthrough" was possible in negotiations between the Tutsi-dominated Burundian government and Hutu rebel factions. There are also radical Tutsi factions who object to any agreement with the Hutus. These include the Paamasekanya Self-Defense Force (a quasi militia force), the Rwagasore Revolutionary Youth, the Coalition Against Dictatorship, and a group called Action Against Genocide. The former Tutsi ruling party, UPRONA (Union for National Progress), is also suspicious of the Mandela-led talks.


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