Home | News    Thursday 19 August 2004

Rwandan troops in Darfur denounced as AIDS carriers: press

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KHARTOUM, Aug 19 (AFP) — The 150 Rwandan troops who form part of the first contingent of an African Union-led force in the war-torn region of Darfur were denounced Thursday in the Sudanese press as AIDS carriers and agents of ethnic cleansing.

Writing in the daily newspaper Al-Rai Al-Am, Rashed Abderrahim warned against the spread of the HIV virus which the Rwandan soldiers could be carrying and considered the troops could "carry on in Sudan their experience of ethnic cleansing".

Tayeb Mostafa, a member of the national council of the ruling National Congress party, was quoted by the pro-government Sudanese Media Centre as criticising the authorities for not having "subjected the Rwandan soldiers to health checks" before allowing them to enter Sudan.

Mostafa, who is also director of the National Communications Establishment, criticised the AU for sending them as part of the first 300-man contingent to guard ceasefire observers in Darfur as in their own country they had taken part "in the butchery of ethnic cleansing".

The reference was apparently to events surrounding the 1994 genocide of Rwandan Tutsis by Hutu militia.

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