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Refugees from eastern Zaire say Hutu supremacists who were pushed out of Rwanda in 1994 have been sowing hatred among Zairian Hutu, encouraging them to attack their Tutsi neighbors.

People fleeing Zaire say Hutu gangs trained by Hutu Rwandan militia members who call themselves the interahamwe have attacked thousands of Zairian Tutsi in the Masisi and Rutshuru districts over the last six months.The attacks have prompted at least 24,000 people to flee into Rwanda and pushed another 65,000 out of their homes and farms inside Zaire.

"The interahamwe are the ones who transplanted this sickness from Rwanda to Masisi," said Ladislas Basaningwe, 88, who came to Rwanda after being attacked two weeks ago in his village, Nyamitabo.

The attacks on Tutsi in Zaire are one of several signs that the Hutu militias have used United Nations refugee camps in eastern Zaire as bases for rebuilding their strength since they were forced to flee Rwanda two years ago, just ahead of a rebel army under Tutsi command.

These militias, who during the 1994 civil war in Rwanda killed at least 500,000 civilians - mostly minority Tutsi and politically moderate Hutu - are now creating havoc throughout the region. They are mounting raids in eastern and southeastern Rwanda and have begun pushing Zairian Tutsi off their land in the Masisi and Rutshuru districts.

The Zairian authorities have failed to control violence in the area despite sending in troops in November and again two months ago. In the last month, Zaire has barred foreign journalists from the entire region including Goma and the surrounding five camps of Rwandan refugees.

But refugees interviewed at a new camp just inside Rwanda gave accounts of being threatened and attacked by gangs of Hutu who voiced the same hatred of Tutsi as the Hutu supremacists from Rwan-da.

The refugees said some of the leaders of the Hutu gangs appeared to be Rwandan Hutu, who spoke with a distinct accent. They said their attackers yelled slogans, saying that all Tutsi must return to Rwanda to live with "their brother, Kagame," a reference to Paul Kagame, the vice president of the new government in Rwanda, who led the rebel Tutsi army to victory there.

The slogans made little sense to Ngamije and other Tutsi refugees, he said, since most of the Tutsi in Masisi have lived in Zaire for generations and consider themselves Zairians, not Rwandans.

"What's happening in that region is something like ethnic cleansing," said Kagame. "The militia who are responsible for these events in 1994 in the genocide are very active in this. They want to secure that whole area so they can settle there and remain there, perhaps as a way of escaping."

One of the worst attacks came on May 12, when several hundred armed Hutu tried to massacre about 900 Tutsi who had taken refuge in a monastery in Mokoto, several survivors of the attack said.

The attackers slashed the priest with a machete, then shot several people inside the church. As the crowd scattered, the attackers cut people down. A squad of 15 Zairian soldiers fled without firing a shot, they said.

"When the priest gave the order to run, some went out the windows, others ran through the doors into the hands of the armed men, others went in different directions," recalled Makesha Juvenal, 46, a teacher who was inside the church with his wife and eight children. "We ran. Everywhere I went I came across dead bodies and people being killed."