BRUSSELS, MAY 27 -- Belgium is pressing for an independent inquiry into the role of the Zairian government in a reported massacre at a campus in that central African country, Foreign Minister Mark Eyskens said today.
According to Belgian press reports, Zairian troops killed dozens of student protesters in the southern city of Lubumbashi on May 11 after students killed three people they suspected of being police informers and held demonstrations against the government of President Mobutu Sese Seko.
International human rights groups have demanded an inquiry into the killings, in which soldiers reportedly attacked the students with bayonets and machetes and then burned their bodies in mass graves.
The London-based Amnesty International said estimates of the number of victims range from 50 to 150. A Zairian official said one student was killed.
Eyskens told Belgium's Dutch-language television he had written to Zaire's foreign minister saying that international envoys must be allowed to investigate.
"The question which eventually poses itself is that of the responsibility of the Zairian government in this bloodbath," Eyskens said.
Belgium suspended loans to Zaire on Friday pending an inquiry. Zaire condemned the decision Saturday, accusing Eyskens of making "false and slanderous statements."