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Gunmen massacre five children in Rwanda

Gunmen stormed a school in western Rwanda, killing five pupils and a watchman after the children refused their order to divide into groups of Tutsis and Hutus, the United Nations said Monday.

The attackers fired automatic weapons and threw grenades at the children, injuring 19 others, the United Nations said in a statement. Although reported only Monday, the attack occurred March 18 in the Kibuye prefecture near Lake Kivu.

Rwanda has seen a sharp increase in ethnic violence since more than 1-million Hutu refugees returned from voluntary exile in neighboring countries a few months ago. The Hutus had fled to escape retribution for the 1994 government-sponsored genocide of about a half-million Rwandan Tutsis.

The ages of the victims in the school attack was not known.

American killed

in Canadian avalanche

KAMLOOPS, British Columbia _ An American heli-skier and a Swiss companion died after being buried under 13 feet of snow during an avalanche in British Columbia, authorities said Monday.

The victims were identified as Theodore Purcell, 58, of Atherton, Calif., and George Broenner, 50, of Geneva. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said the two were swept to their deaths Saturday in a slide north of Nakusp in the Selkirk range.

Coroner Shawn Jestley said that despite the deaths it appeared all safety procedures were followed during the outing, a higher risk form of skiing in which helicopters fly skiers to the top of unmarked terrain high in the mountains.

The deaths came the same day that an Alberta snowmobiler was carried away by an avalanche but survived.

Mrs. Clinton meets

with African women

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania _ Although American women are freer than many in Africa, they, too, are hemmed in by "cultural, psychological and social obstacles," Hillary Rodham Clinton said after meeting with prominent Tanzanian women Monday.

Women in the United States are not as restricted by laws or social custom but are still confronted by barriers in the workplace and at home, Mrs. Clinton told reporters at Tanzania's national museum, where she viewed what is thought to be the oldest human skull in the world.

"We have different challenges at home, but there are also similarities," she said. "I've seen the pain of domestic violence on a woman's face in America just as I've heard about it here in Africa or in Asia."

The first lady's three-day visit to Tanzania revolves around the concerns of women.

Five die in Quebec

in apparent suicide pact

SAINT CASIMIR, Quebec _ Five members of an international doomsday cult with ties to Canada, Switzerland and France died under bizarre circumstances in this tiny St. Lawrence River valley community, probably as part of a suicide pact to mark passage of the spring equinox, authorities said.

"All the signs are these were ritualized deaths," said Lieutenant Alain Quirion of the Surete du Quebec, the provincial police. "The bodies were arranged in what seemed to be a shape of a cross."

The victims purportedly belonged to the Order of the Solar Temple, a secretive sect whose members follow rituals of centuries-old Roman Catholic mystical societies, but who also believe that only by killing themselves on astronomically auspicious dates can they be reborn on a distant planet called Sirius.

Three teens, sons and daughters of members, survived.