Thousands of people, mostly civilians, have disappeared in a roundup by the Rwandan government since rebels invaded the little east African country 11 days ago, a western diplomat said Wednesday.

"There have been a lot of arrests - between 1,500 and 3,000," the diplomat, who spoke anonymously, said by telephone from Nairobi."They are also arresting VIPs, army officers, intellectuals and so on. It's not clear if this is a sort of preventive measure - let's arrest anyone who might be opposition - or whether they're lining up for a major human rights abuse," he said.