A huge area in South Western Africa is on the brink of massive social breakdown and civil war, aid agencies warned this week. In an unprecedented statement, the Great Lakes Working Group of Caritas, representing members in Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania, called for urgent international action to prevent a tragedy unfolding. They said: "There is rising hatred in the region of the Great Lakes. Renewed anti-Tutsi feelings, fuelled by the presence of unwanted military troops - who are perceived as Tutsi, regardless of their real identity - desperate economic conditions and enormous political instability are all combining to create a very dangerous situation. "There is a perception that peace negotiations are going nowhere. People are afraid there will be a knock-on effect from the war in the Congo." "As members of the Great Lakes Working Group we are putting out this cry of distress to raise awareness among those people who can work for peace." Johan Ketler from Caritas International in Rome said: "Many ethnic groups are represented in the working party. It is very significant that is the first time they have issued a statement together and an indication of how concerned they feel."
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