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August 2, 2023 French

À Kigali, les combattants sont désormais face à face, livrés à eux-mêmes et à leur folie sanguinaire. On se bat avec des armes de toutes sortes, qu'elles soient modernes ou à la machette

Card Number 29879

Bilalian, Daniel
Boisserie, Philippe
Martin, Marcel
Laudrin, Caroline
Gaget, Valérie
12 avril 1994
Time zone
Journal de 13 heures [4:29]
À Kigali, les combattants sont désormais face à face, livrés à eux-mêmes et à leur folie sanguinaire. On se bat avec des armes de toutes sortes, qu'elles soient modernes ou à la machette
L'état-major français craint qu'une nouvelle offensive du FPR n'entraîne une débandade de l'armée rwandaise, qui pourrait alors être tentée de se mettre sous la protection des forces françaises.
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- In Rwanda, France, which has repatriated all of its residents, is closing its embassy in Kigali, as have the other countries present in this capital.
- In Kigali, the fighters are now face to face, left to their own devices and their bloodthirsty madness. The dead numbered in the hundreds or even in the thousands, the wounded in any case in the thousands. We fight with weapons of all kinds, whether modern or machete.
- Early this morning, the French ambassador lowered the flag that was flying above his embassy and it was accompanied by an impressive military escort that he went to the airport. The time to give some instructions to Colonel Poncet who directs the evacuations, the time to say goodbye and thank you, he rushed into a Transall with the other employees of the embassy. At 7:45 a.m., there was not a single Frenchman left in Rwanda.
- Throughout the morning, the military continued operations to evacuate foreigners. While one battalion went to recover three Canadian Sisters in the middle of the countryside, others supported the Belgian soldiers in the city center.
- An hour ago all the French soldiers were repatriated to the airport, their mission is over. There is still one uncertainty: when will they leave? Here the staff fears that a new RPF offensive will lead to a rout of the Rwandan army. A Rwandan army that could be tempted to put itself under the protection of French forces. A very delicate hypothesis to manage.
- Especially since time is running out: this morning the RPF took up position on all the hills surrounding Kigali. Very determined soldiers, ready to pay the price with blood for the terrible massacres of these last days. After the departure of the foreigners, Rwanda seems more than ever destined for chaos.
- At the same time the Rwandan government fled the capital Kigali which is now practically in the hands of the revolutionary forces.
- The French community in Rwanda and practically all foreign residents have therefore left the country. The last ones arrived very early this morning at Roissy. And first a group of 94 orphans taken in by the Red Cross and who lived in an orphanage in Kigali.
- They fled the orphanage in half an hour, loaded into cars, into French army trucks. They left Rwanda without knowing where they were going. Their flight stopped last night at Roissy airport. The situation was becoming too dangerous: twice already, men had invaded the orphanage and killed nine staff members in front of the children. Sister Edith Budynek: "They came with rifles, pistols, machetes, sticks. The first time they came to our house, Friday [April 8], the first thing we asked for was the 'money. We've been emptied of our cash register".
- At three o'clock in the morning, wrapped in blankets, the children crossed Paris, towards Créteil. The 94 children and the thirty people who accompany them have been taken care of by the Red Cross. For now, they are housed in a France Terre d'Asile home. A temporary situation for the director of the orphanage who does not despair of returning soon with the children to their country.
- A few hours later, still at Roissy, tears of relief. 375 French and a hundred foreigners arrive from Bujumbura. All lived cloistered for several days in the midst of bombardments and crossfire. It was only when they reached the airport that they saw the extent of the massacres.
- For the most part aid workers, these French people were aware of the existing tensions between Hutu and Tutsi, the two ethnic groups of Rwanda. A cooperator: "It had already been foreseeable for some time. And I think that the President's death started it all. It had to explode. And I think it's not over, it's not for tomorrow".< br/> - With the support of paratroopers, all the French who wanted to leave Rwanda have now been evacuated.