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Bodies of Uganda Victims Flown Out

March 5, 1999

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) _ The bodies of eight foreign tourists slain by Hutu rebels were sent home Friday as FBI and other investigators sought to discover how the rebels obtained such detained information on the adventure travelers.

Coffins bearing the bodies were transported Friday from the capital, Kampala, to Entebbe airport, where a private flag-folding ceremony was held in memory of two Americans who died in the attack.

Rob Haubner, 48, and Susan Miller, 42, both Oregon-based executives at the computer chip giant Intel, were among eight foreigners hacked and bludgeoned to death by rebels in southwestern Uganda’s Bwindi National Park.

Four rangers were also killed in the rebel raids and six other tourists who had hope to view rare mountain gorillas on their vacation managed to escape.

The flags were given to the slain Americans’ friends, Susan Studd and Bob McLaurin, also Intel employees, who survived the rebel attack and who departed on the same flight for Britain, said U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Officer Virgil Bodeen.

Bodeen said they would bring the flags to the victims’ families.

The Ugandan government, meanwhile, said it would make every effort to ensure the safety of future tourists.

The Ugandan army has intensified a joint manhunt with Rwandan forces to capture or kill the Hutu rebels who attacked three tourist campsites on Monday, killing the two Americans as well as four Britons and two New Zealanders.

``I can assure you we are doing everything possible so that this point of tourism is safe for everyone,″ said Ugandan Foreign Minister Eriya Kategaya. Still, the rebels _ Rwandans who are based in eastern Congo _ may be difficult to stop because of Congo’s uncooperative government, Kategaya said.

Notes left by the assailants said they were targeting Britons and Americans because their governments supported the government in Rwanda.

Kategaya met with the ambassadors from the United States and Britain on Friday to express his country’s condolences.

An FBI team had arrived earlier in the week and detectives from Scotland yard arrived late Thursday to participate in the investigation. Kategaya said he hoped the investigation might shed light on how the rebels had obtained such precise information about the campsites.

``Maybe there are some collaborators within our population, because the attacks seemed to have been very precise and clear with prior information on the positions of the people and even the look of the place,″ Kategaya said.

He said he was unaware of the detention of a suspect, which had been reported in a government-owned newspaper Thursday.

The Rwandan rebels were among Hutu fighters who fled Rwanda in 1994 after killing more than 500,000 minority Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus in a government-orchestrated genocide.

Since then, they have been operating from bases in Congo, launching cross-border attacks in Rwanda and more recently inside Congo and in Uganda.

Nancy Powell, the U.S. ambassador to Uganda, said a note that the rebels gave to an American survivor of the attack criticized the U.S. and British governments for supporting Rwanda.

She said it was signed with the acronym ALIR, or the Rwanda Liberation Army, which put a bounty on the heads of Americans in Rwanda in 1996. The group has claimed responsibility for several rebel attacks in northwestern Rwanda in 1996 and 1997.

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