After nightfall, in the wretched refugee camps in eastern Zaire, Hutu zealots gather in makeshift pubs to write death warrants for other refugees who want to go home to Rwanda.
After drinking their fill of banana beer and munching roasted corn, these militiamen and soldiers of Rwanda's defeated Hutu army set out to perform the executions - with machetes and blackjacks made of bags filled with lava stones.Spotting a victim, one of the executioners starts accusing that person of being a Tutsi spy. Slowly, a crowd gathers and the zealots go into a frenzy and start their death dance.
Executions and shrill propaganda warning of bloodthirsty Tutsis at home are the stock in trade of Hutu extremists who are employing terror tactics to stop the repatriation of the 1.2 million refugees in Zaire.
The Hutus are trying to force the new Tutsi-led government to agree to power-sharing and a joint army, and they see the Hutu refugees as a bargaining chip.
The unchecked intimidation is one of the main stumbling blocks to U.N. efforts to get the refugees to leave the squalid Zairian camps and go home.
"This is a serious problem and we see no way out," said Ray Wilkinson, spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in Goma.
The refugees in Zaire fled the advancing army of the Tutsi rebels now in power in Rwanda. More than 800,000 other Rwandans are in other countries. The rebels resumed their long-running battle after up to 500,000 Tutsi civilians were slaughtered in massacres orchestrated by the ousted Hutu government.