JUNE 27 1994
KIGALI, Rwanda (AP) -- Rounds of explosives burst Monday in a churchyard that has become a squalid, crowded refugee camp, killing five people.
"We're all going to die," 16-year-old Yvonne Nyirabukezi said. "When you come here, you don't leave."
The Roman Catholic church has come under regular shelling with the intensified battle for the Rwandan capital.
The yard was stained with blood and strewn with shrapnel. It was not clear who fired the shells, but some of the shells may have been rebel missiles that soared over intended targets.
"We all want to get out of here, anywhere, just out of here," said the girl, who has spend a week inside Ste. Famille Church with 800 other Tutsis.
A 29-year-old Hutu at Ste. Famille, who gave his name only as Manasse, reported five people killed.
A mortar round fired from across a valley exploded inside the church complex as he spoke, kicking up dust and smoke.
Hundreds of Rwandans, most from the minority Tutsi ethnic group, have taken wary refuge at Ste. Famille in a part of Kigali held by the Hutu-dominated government.
The Tutsis live in fear even of the camp's Hutu guards. Militant Hutus have swept into the red brick church to round up and kill Tutsis. On June 17, rebels broke through government lines to rescue about 600 refugees.
Mortar rounds that hit the compound May 1 killed a dozen people and wounded more than 100. It was uncertain which side fired those shells, too.
The fighting between government forces and rebels of the mainly Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Front broke out after President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, died in a mysterious plane crash on April 6. Most of the 200,000 victims have been Tutsi civilians massacred by radical Hutu militias.
The rebels control two-thirds of the country, and last week began a fierce offensive trying to overrun the rest of the capital.
During an hour's lull in the fighting Monday, aid workers rescued 45 badly wounded patients from a Red Cross hospital that has repeatedly come under fire. The hospital, like Ste. Famille, is in the government-held part of the capital.
At nightfall, the rebels pounded central Kigali with a heavy artillery barrage. Small fires blazed on Mount Kigali, a strategic peak the rebels have been trying to capture.
Plans to evacuate other refugees were called off because of the intensified fighting.
The U.N. commander, Maj. Gen. Romeo Dallaire, linked increased combat in Kigali to the arrival of French peacekeepers in western Rwanda. Paris says its mission is strictly humanitarian, but it has supported the government in the past and the rebels fear the French troops will rob them of victory.
French soldiers, uncertain of their welcome, have been moving cautiously, although refugees at Ste. Famille anxiously await their arrival.
Aloise Umuhibe, 19, with a Hutu father and a Tutsi mother, has spent two months in a tiny, filthy room at the church. "When will the French get here?" she wanted to know.
"We need the French, they must hurry," said Jean Nakerutumrna, 42, a Hutu who has sought refuge in the churchyard from the fighting.
All but about 30 French troops that circulate in Rwanda by day return to bases in Zaire overnight.
About 1,350 French troops in all had arrived in Goma and Bukavu in Zaire by Monday, up from 1,100 on Sunday. A French military spokesman said the full 2,500-member force was to be in place in three or four days.
In a move with powerful symbolic significance, French troops on Saturday began dismantling roadblocks where Hutu radicals massacred both Tutsis and moderate Hutus.
The Rwandan Patriotic Front organized a huge demonstration against the French intervention in Kayonza, 30 miles east of Kigali.
Thousands of mainly Tutsis shouted, "Mitterrand, accomplice of murderers!" -- referring to French President Francois Mitterrand -- and "French troops out of Rwanda!"