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January 30, 2024 French

L'avance des troupes du FPR s'accélère et les soldats gouvernementaux sont bien isolés pour tenter une véritable résistance

Card Number 33401

Bilalian, Daniel
Boisserie, Philippe
Duquesne, BenoƮt
Normandin, Jean-Louis
Rabine, Giles
3 juillet 1994
Time zone
Journal de 13 heures [5:33]
L'avance des troupes du FPR s'accélère et les soldats gouvernementaux sont bien isolés pour tenter une véritable résistance
Le général Dallaire nous a révélé qu'il assurait depuis deux jours la liaison entre les forces françaises et le FPR.
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- In Rwanda, France is trying to free itself from a trap that could close on its troops: it involves establishing a humanitarian cordon protecting refugees from the fighting and the two armed forces present.
- The Secretary General of the United Nations agrees. It remains to materialize this intention. And it's urgent because things have changed a lot for the French army in less than a week.
- On June 24 when the French soldiers entered Rwanda, they had the happy surprise of being welcomed like heroes. It was 10 days ago. Today things have changed a lot.
- The establishment the day before yesterday, almost by force, of a Tutsi refugee camp scattered in the middle of the mountains aroused tensions. For the military it was only a matter of accomplishing their humanitarian mission by protecting exhausted civilians, the subject of daily massacres.
- But for the Hutu government which controls the area, this is the first concrete sign that Operation Turquoise could hamper their policy. What will their reaction be? Will the warm welcome give way to hostility, or even retaliatory actions? On the French military side, we chose to display our serenity. Colonel Jacques Rosier: "We came to protect people who are threatened or massacred to prevent this from continuing. We are doing our job. I think that the government authorities have other fish to fry. There is still the front which is not not far".
- Indeed the front line is advancing quickly. The Rwandan Patriotic Front is threatening in the West but also in the South. Butare, former capital of the Tutsi kingdom, could soon fall. A situation which would then pose a second problem for the French military: caught in the crossfire, each of the two camps could be tempted to resort to provocations. This morning, at Bukavu airport, the tension was perceptible for the first time.
- The advance of the Rwandan Patriotic Front troops is accelerating and the government soldiers are well isolated to attempt real, effective resistance.
- Welcome to Sabyinyo hill, near Nyabisindu, advanced post of the FAR, the Rwandan Armed Forces. Make no mistake: the Patriotic Front is only a few hundred meters away as the crow flies, a kilometer at most, on the hill opposite.
- For three weeks the government forces have occupied this position and in three weeks, the company lost around fifty men: 11 died, the others were wounded.
- So we reassure ourselves as best we can by saying that the RPF recruits barely trained children, that they are afraid of government forces and that they will be able to sweep them away whenever they want. We reassure ourselves but without really believing it, in this makeshift camp without means, without logistics, without heavy weaponry, and we hope for an end to the fighting. A FAR soldier: "We love peace because we know the deep meaning of this word. So we must stop all kinds of massacres so that all the Rwandan people are united, a single population instead of making ethnic segregation."
- When the company commander asks for two volunteers to scout, no one rushes. He must himself designate them to move towards this front which until now has only gone backwards.
- In Kigali there is information that the Patriotic Front troops have completely surrounded the Rwandan capital. It may not be that simple.
- Giles Rabine: "The boss of the Blue Helmets himself, Canadian General Roméo Dallaire, told us this morning that he did not have the means, either in men or in observation means, to confirm or deny the encirclement of Kigali by RPF forces. The impression we have here is rather that, for several days, neither side has managed to gain a decisive advantage in Kigali, despite the very violent fighting that we experienced again last night and this morning since a Blue Helmet, a Russian officer, was wounded in Kigali. General Dallaire revealed to us that for two days, after seeing General Lafourcade, he had been acting as liaison between the French forces and the RPF. This liaison consists of telling the RPF what operations France is planning, who is going where, to do what, with what machines, how many men and for how long. Thus, first application, the French are currently evacuating 600 children from the Terre des hommes orphanage in Butare in the southwest of the country. There was a real risk of contact with FPR fighters. This evacuation received the green light last night from the RPF staff".