In a speech delivered at the World Affairs Council of Greater Fort Worth, Texas, 30 April 2001, Ambassador Joyce E. Leader said: “The killers, namely members of the Hutu government army and the Interahamwe militia, fled across the border into Zaire, taking more than one million civilians with them. For the next nearly two years, the killers, or genocidaires, lived in and dominated the refugee camps in Zaire. During this time, they made clandestine raids back into Rwanda, destabilizing the efforts of the minority Tutsi rulers to get the country on its feet again.

In 1996, the Rwandan government took two steps to end these raids. In September it sponsored an uprising of indigenous Zairians, headed by Laurent-Desire Kabila, whose stated goal was to overthrow Mobutu. This uprising swept across Zaire, with the backing of Rwanda and neighboring Uganda, both of whom wanted to create a buffer zone along their borders with Zaire to deter rebels from easy access to their countries. In May 1997, Mobutu fled the country and the rebels entered the capital, Kinshasa, victorious. Kabila became president of the renamed Democratic Republic of the Congo, or DRC. The second step the Rwandans took, soon after the uprising began, was to send their own troops into the refugee camps in December to separate the civilians from the armed elements. The armed elements retreated deeper into Zaire, while the civilians returned en masse to Rwanda.”

Ambassador Joyce E. Leader is a Senior Fellow of The Fund for Peace. When The genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda began in April 1994, Leader was the Deputy Chief of Mission in the US -Embassy in Kigali.



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