Facebook Twitter

RWANDANS RESTART TALKS ON CEASE-FIRE

SHARE RWANDANS RESTART TALKS ON CEASE-FIRE

Cease-fire talks resumed Thursday in Rwanda's capital after a night of shelling, mostly on the western edges of Kigali, where rebels advanced to tighten their grip on the city.

U.N. spokesman Abdul Kabia said the heaviest fighting was near Gadhafi Corner, a rebel-held intersection on Kigali's west side that controls access to the road to Gitarama, the army's last avenue of retreat.At the airport, army gunners targeted rebel positions for the first time since insurgents captured it nearly two weeks ago. Three rounds hit the tarmac but did not cause any casualties or disrupt U.N. aid flights.

A morning lull in the fighting allowed U.N. aid workers to resume deliveries of food and water to about 25,000 stranded civilians living under U.N. protection in Kigali. Heavy shelling in the city center had halted the aid convoys Wednesday.

More than 2 million people have fled their homes in Rwanda, where nearly two months of fighting and ethnic savagery have claimed an estimated 200,000 lives. Most of the victims were minority Tutsis murdered by the militias of extremist Hutu political parties.

The butchering of civilians by the militias has been accompanied by renewed fighting between the mostly Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Front rebel movement and the Hutu-dominated government army. The civil war has claimed far fewer lives than ethnic violence.

Monday's first round of U.N-mediated cease-fire talks in Kigali produced no tangible results, and prospects for progress Thursday seemed dim.

Brig. Gen. Henry Adyidoho, deputy commander of the U.N. forces, told British television news Wednesday that neither side seemed interested in a cease-fire.

Thursday's talks were scheduled to focus on a U.N. proposal for bringing about a truce and on rebel demands that the army first stop the massacres and allow the free movement of all displaced people in the country.

The rebel forces have seized control of most of the north and east of Rwanda. The interim government has withdrawn from Kigali to Gitarama, 25 miles to the southeast. But the insurgents are advancing on that city.

The rebels have captured much of Kigali, but the army is still putting up stiff resistance from at least three strongholds.