Fighting raged Saturday in Rwanda's countryside between government troops and invading rebels, and foreigners fled the capital of the central African nation by the hundreds.
No further fighting was reported in the Rwandan capital of Kigali, where French Foreign Legionnaires and Belgian paratroopers secured their embassies, parts of the city, the airport and its access highway.But fierce clashes were reported in the northern part of the country and 500 soldiers from neighboring Zaire arrived in Kigali to reinforce the 5,000-strong Rwandan army.
The rebels, who call themselves the Rwandese Patriotic Front, invaded last Sunday from Rwanda's northern neighbor, Uganda, where they had been living in exile. They want to oust the government, which they accuse of corruption.
Many are deserters from the Ugandan army and most are members of Rwanda's Tutsi ethnic minority, which was removed from power by the majority Hutu tribe in the late 1950s and early 1960s in fighting that left tens of thousands dead.
On Saturday, an Air France Boeing 747 carried 232 French and other European nationals to Paris and another Air France plane and a chartered Lufthansa jet were expected to pick up about 500 more later in the day.
The Soviet news agency Tass said measures were being taken to "ensure the safety and the evacuation of the families of Soviet personnel."
The German embassy in Nairobi said the Lufthansa plane would bring mostly wives and children of German aid workers out of Kigali.
In Brussels, the Belgian government said it was withdrawing its offer to place four C130 transport planes at the disposal of its allies in the Persian Gulf because of the fighting in Rwanda.