LINDSEY HILSUM: The residents of Goma, scrambling for the last remnants of food aid intended for Rwandan Hutu refugees who fled West. These people never used to rely on food aid but grew and traded their own. Now war has cut off all supplies. These scenes give only a glimpse of the desperate state the refugees 10 miles further West must be in.
The camp's the cutoff. The soldiers, rebels strongly backed by Rwanda's Tutsi army who now control Goma aren't allowing any more aid over the border. Water gives life, but in this region where cholera is endemic, unless purified, it may also carry the fatal disease. The town relies on these water tankers manned by volunteers.
But the camps have no such supply anymore, and the few people who've escaped say that north of Goma refugees have started to die of thirst. Volunteers have also been collecting the dead from a week of fighting. If roots into Goma remain closed, hunger and disease will cause many more deaths. Lime stops the bodies from spreading infection before they're buried. The local radio station is urging Goma residents who fled the town to return. Many ran West during the fighting, passing through the massive camp of Rwandan Hutu refugees at Mugunga. A small group--white flag aloft--returned to Goma yesterday.
They had to negotiate with armed refugees who blocked their path with barricades made of stones and burnt out cars. Rwanda's former army, who carried out the genocide of Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994, have taken out the refugee camp. Muhindu Kamate was amongst the group. He said passing through the lines of militia and Hutu soldiers was terrifying, and the refugees were getting desperate.
MUHINDU KAMATE: (speaking through interpreter) At Mugunga Camp really they have no water, no food, nothing. There's a warehouse. It was a world food program or Medecins San Frontieres--they looted it on Sunday, and that's all they have to eat.
LINDSEY HILSUM: At Goma Hospital, those who nearly didn't make it. After the group passed the Magunga Camp, they were shot at and shelled by the rebels in Goma. Several people were killed and more than thirty injured. These are the Zaireans that--of Rwanda's unsettled scores.
The Zairean rebels, who control Goma, are a mask for Rwanda's Tutsi-dominated army, trying to defeat once and for all the Hutu militia and army which carried out the genocide two years ago. This war isn't over yet. Last night we watched soldiers filing out towards the front line carrying rocket-propelled grenades in their bed rolls, and it's an open secret that amongst those soldiers are members of the Rwandan armed forces.
The enemy out in front is not the Zairean army who soldiers have fled but members of the former Rwandan army, Hutus hiding amongst the refugees who've decided to stand and fight their old enemy.