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RIVER CHURNS WITH THE AFTERMATH OF BUTCHERY

SHARE RIVER CHURNS WITH THE AFTERMATH OF BUTCHERY

A vivid rainbow arches over the churning cataract below the falls on the Kagera River. Bloated bodies bob and spin in the foam.

The vista of beauty and butchery at the Rusumo Falls has become a symbol of the mass slaughter in Rwanda.A Rwandan border guard flicked a cigarette butt down toward the chocolate brown water - where the body of a baby rocked against a boulder - and blew out a thin line of smoke through cracked teeth.

At least 15 - sometimes 25 - bodies cascade over the falls these days, he said. Last week, the count was closer to 50.

On one side of the river is Rwanda, where an estimated 200,000 people have been slaughtered since the president was killed in a mysterious plane crash April 6. On the other side is Tanzania, where at least 250,000 people who fled the fighting have created the world's largest refugee camp.

Refugees now swim across the fast-moving Kagera River or use crude canoe ferries. Bodies float past them toward the falls.

Many corpses rest in the whirlpools and eddies in a rounded basin below the falls. On Sunday, at least 10 victims bobbed in the choppy water.

In one cove filled with green flotsam, a man's torso brushed up against the corpse of a baby. Two other bodies - hideously bloated and bleached by sun and decomposition like all the rest - were spun around by the current.

A little bit downstream, two other bodies rose and fell with the swells. One body was missing an arm. Another still was wrapped in tattered clothing.

A body flopped over the crest of the falls. Several minutes later it emerged in the foam, its arms flailing like a tired swimmer.

The river carves through lush valleys of ferns and hardwood trees. It runs north toward Lake Victoria in Uganda.

Aid organizations estimated last week there were 25,000 bodies floating in the lake, and peasants clearing bodies out of the river on a stretch before it reaches the lake were pulling 120 bodies an hour from the Kagera.