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5,000 RWANDANS GO HOME UNDER U.N. PROGRAM

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More than 5,000 Rwandan refugees had returned home by Saturday under a new program the United Nations hopes will be a model for repatriating thousands of others who fled the 1994 civil war.

The refugees at the Ntamba camp in northern Burundi left after meeting with Rwandan officials. The officials answered the refugees' questions and tried to allay their fears, according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees."We learned that we need to step up the information campaign, concentrate on specific camps and get the Rwandan authorities talk to the refugees," said Paul Strom-burg, the UNHCR spokesman in the capital, Kigali.

The refugees fled Rwanda after genocidal slaughter that killed more than 500,000 people, most of them ethnic Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus.

Now, the mostly Hutu refugees fear retaliation by the new, Tutsi-led government.

U.N. officials closed the Burundi camp after the refugees left.

They hope similar visits from Rwandan officials will convince 1.8 million other refugees that it's safe to go home.