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U.N. voices 'deep concern' on Zaire death reports

April 23, 1997
Web posted at: 5:20 p.m. EDT (2120 GMT)

(CNN) -- The United Nations refugee agency on Wednesday voiced "deep concern" over reports that Zairian rebels may have killed many Rwandan Hutu refugees at camps near Kisangani.

Spokeswoman Pam O'Toole said officials of the rebel Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire had refused permission earlier in the day for the U.N. agency to send a plane to fly over the Kasese area where there had been some 55,000 refugees. She said the agency was also being denied clearance to travel to the camps by road or across the Zaire river.

Meanwhile, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan appealed to the international community to press rebel leader Laurent Kabila and his commanders to allow humanitarian aid to get through to an estimated 100,000 refugees in Zaire.

"You can kill people by shooting or starving. ... What's happening is starvation," the secretary-general said, adding that he is "shocked and appalled at the inhumanity" of those barring assistance to the refugees.

Reuters contributed to this report.


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