National Geographic : 1997 Jun
EG EIA LAND USE 0 50 MILES NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC MAPS Crowded countries lead a region into war In a narrow corridor of central Africa, people crowd together to till the rich volcanic soil. Reflecting the land's fertility, the number of people per square mile peaks along a line from southern Burundi to north ern Rwanda, where population growth rates and densities are among the highest on the continent. Since the 1970s the population has increased so much that large families are confined to tiny plots. The governments of both countries discourage people from leaving the countryside for the cities. They work harder and harder but reap only hunger. Using fertilizers and erosion control, farmers could grow enough to feed themselves, but they remain poor, powerless, and uneducated. The elite have profited from foreign aid while urging the rural masses to kill one another over ethnic differences. In 1994 a defeated Hutu army and militias retreat ed from Rwanda into eastern Zaire, where Hutu and Tutsi had lived for generations. There Hutu, some times helped by Zairean soldiers, attacked Tutsi farmers. In 1996 Zairean Tutsi, ordered out of the country by the government, joined with local allies to launch a rebellion that drove out Hutu refugees and divided Zaire, threatening regional war.