Scouts massacred at the Katale refugee camp
Robert Craig (rcraig@LIBRARY.CARLETON.CA)
Thu, 6 Oct 1994 20:41:16 -0400
Today while at a meeting at the National Office, I was handed the following
press release from the Federation des Scouts Catholiques, Belgium. This
document is their official Press Release. The World Organization of the
Scout Movement has sent copies to all National Organizations to provide
update and information on the current situation in North Kivu.
(The Message was sent from Geneva by Mark Clayton, Director of Public
Relations and Communications, WOSM)
30 Scouts massacred in the Katale refugee Camp in Goma (North Kivu)
(Translation from the FSC, Belgium)
News has been received from the Regional Commissioner of the Zaire Scout
Federation (FSZ) in North Kivu of the massacre of 30 Rwandan and Zairian
Scouts in the Katale refugee camp in Goma.
According to a survivor, Rwandan Scout refugees in the Katale camp had
arrested 12 Rwandan refugees who were pillaging the vehicles crossing the
camp at night. The pillagers were brought before the camp leaders. Four of
them were recognized as known criminals in Kigali and were killed by the
refugees themselves. The others were released and decided to take their
revenge on the Scouts, who are working effectively with NGO's on site in the
fields of security, food distribution, hygiene and sanitation. Their revenge
[criminals] was to massacre 30 Scouts.
On Sunday 3 October, the Katale camp was deserted by the international
organizations. Since then, there has been no authority to ensure that
order is kept, 275,000 people have therefore been left to their own
devices in a camp which is sheltering armed Hutu militia and criminals.
Jacques Moreillon, Secretary General of the World Organization of the
Scout Movement, is following the situation closely from the Organization's
Geneva headquarters. Reacting to the massacre he said:
"This new dramatic event, following that of last week, when a Zairian Scout
was killed while directing traffic in the Katale Camp, shows, on the one hand,
the active involvement of Rwandan and Zairian Scouts in the refugee camps in
Goma and Bukavu and, on the other hand, that this involvement entails risks."
He expressed his great indignation at these events, which threaten the lives
of hundreds of Scouts in the region. These Scouts, all volunteers, represent
perhaps the last bastion of civilization, alongside the humanitarian
This tragic news serves to remind us of the remarkable work carried out by
Scouts in the Great Lakes region.
Since the start of the dramatic events in Rwanda, the Scout associations of
Burundi, Zaire, Rwanda and Tanzania have mobilized their forces to help
The first action undertaken by Scouts in the camps was to carry out a census
of the displaced persons. This enormous task, carried out with very few
means and with no official recognition, enabled many families to find
relatives, even though they were sometimes in camps more than 100 kilometres
Everyone has seen the grim images of hundreds of Scout volunteers collecting
and disposing of the bodies of victims of starvation, exhaustion and the
cholera epidemic in Goma and the surrounding areas. In 12 days, in
appalling conditions, the Scouts collected and disposed of 26,634 bodies.
The daily routine of Rwandan and Burundi Scouts in the north of Burundi
strongly resembles that of their fellow Scouts in Zaire: the census of
displaced persons, food distribution, the care of unaccompanied children,
In the face of such dedication and committment, these recent barbarious
acts against Scouts are all the more horrific, knowing that those Scouts
were involved in serving the community, in a spirit of peace and fraternity.
The Scouts' work is not over yet. Many projects to help unaccompanied
children, provide health education and to assist refugee families are
being implemented since mid-September by the Burundi Scout Association,
the Rwanda Scout Assocation and the Zaire Scout Federation. A number of
European Scout Assocations held an extraordinary meeting on 2-3 October
and have decided to launch a vast programme in support of all these
The Catholic Scout Federation of Belgium (FSC) will send a representative in
the field next week, to evaluate the kind of support needed, within the
framework of the FSC's relations with the Scout Assocation of Rwanda.
National Communications Committee
Scouts Canada National Council
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City