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August 8, 2023 French

Parvenus à Butare à quelques kilomètres seulement des forces rwandaises, les militaires français ont dû se replier sous l'avancée des rebelles

Card Number 3520

Chazal, Claire
Berrou, Loïck
Monnet, Jean-François
Jentile, Catherine
Froissart, Thierry
2 juillet 1994
Time zone
Journal de 20 heures [3:52]
Parvenus à Butare à quelques kilomètres seulement des forces rwandaises, les militaires français ont dû se replier sous l'avancée des rebelles
À Kigali la ville est encerclée par le FPR et des milliers de réfugiés se dirigent vers l'Ouest du pays.
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Public records
Journal télévisé
- The rise of tensions in Rwanda with the encirclement of Kigali by the RPF and the difficulties of the French soldiers. The city is surrounded and thousands of refugees are heading towards the west of the country. A shell fell on the market this morning, killing 16 people and injuring many.
- This is not the first time that the Kigali market has been bombed. But this morning's attack is by far the deadliest. Three large caliber shells at 7:30 a.m. The market, the main source of supply for the 70,000 inhabitants who survive in Kigali, is crowded, despite the ongoing risk. 16 people die instantly. Within half an hour, the Red Cross hospital will receive 21 wounded, including several children who will have to be amputated immediately.
- It has been nearly two months now that the Patriotic Front of Rwanda has systematically pounded the city center from the hills it holds on the outskirts of the capital. It is true that the Rwandan government army, which defends Kigali, does not hesitate to place its mortars in the immediate vicinity of civilian buildings. Hospitals, refugee centers or market places thus become targets for the besiegers. This now seems to have become the rule in all contemporary conflicts which, in Rwanda even less than elsewhere, know no rules.
- At the border between Zaire and Rwanda, the French forces are continuing their deployment, but not without difficulties. The soldiers had reached Butare, only a few kilometers from the Rwandan forces. But they had to fall back under the advancing rebels.
- These nuns had a foretaste of hell: fleeing Kigali on April 15, they saw everything and lived through the massacres. Stranded in the town of Butare, a hundred kilometers from here, they were evacuated last night [July 1] to Zaire. The French soldiers also took in three orphans.
- But this operation, in which about 70 men were engaged, almost turned out badly because the RPF troops were attacking the town. Today the French only wanted to think about the success of their mission and the relief of the Poor Clares who until the end remained under the protection of the special forces. They had spent the night and the morning at the French HQ, at Bukavu airport, in a relaxed atmosphere.
- Nevertheless, two paratroopers were injured, officially in a car accident and during this unexpected meeting with the RPF forces. Colonel Rosier, "Deputy to General Lafourcade, Operation Turquoise": "The orders are clear. It is not at all a question of seeking a confrontation with the RPF since we are in the context of a humanitarian mission".
- The nuns were therefore lucky, they found refuge in a Zairian bishopric. They will probably be the last because a new problem arises in Operation Turquoise: Zaire now refuses to welcome Rwandan refugees on its soil.
- France today demanded that the zone of intervention of its soldiers in southwestern Rwanda be declared a military zone protected by the UN in the face of the push by these rebels of the Patriotic Front. Paris awaits a response from the Security Council within 24 hours. If the answer is no, the French forces could fall back on the border.