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More than 133,000 desperate refugees from Rwanda and Burundi have fled to the hills, into the countryside and possibly even to other refugee camps to escape expulsion from Zaire, U.N. officials said Wednesday.

"This has all the makings of a disaster," said Peter Kessler, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees spokesman in Nairobi, Kenya. "People see a Zairian soldier and they run into the hills."Most of the people fled with little or no food, and Kessler said officials fear major outbreaks of disease from contaminated water.

The United Nations and the U.S. State Department warned that the expulsions from camps in eastern Zaire - accompanied by reports of looting, beatings, shootings and rape - could lead to a humanitarian disaster.

Despite the protests, Zaire pressed on with the expulsions Wednesday, in an apparent attempt to pressure the United Nations to find another country to take the refugees, most displaced by their countries' ethnic blood-baths.

More than 11,000 people have been driven into Rwanda and Burundi since the expulsions began without warning on Saturday. Zaire, in central Africa, borders nine neighbors and has 1.8 million refugees, more than any other country in the world.

Kessler said the expulsions slowed Wednesday because of logistical problems. Some of the trucks and buses that were to carry the refugees away have broken down, and the country has low stocks of fuel and not enough cash to get more immediately, he said.

By midday, Kessler said, only 770 refugees were forced back into Rwanda.

The threat of expulsion, however, was enough to create panic at refugee camps.

At least 100,000 people have fled from camps in Uvira on the northern end of Lake Tanganyika, 13,000 from camps around Bukavu on the southern end of Lake Kivu and more than 20,000 from camps around Goma on the northern end of Lake Kivu, he said.