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August 3, 2023 French

20 000 militaires des Forces armées rwandaises auraient franchi la frontière zaïroise pendant la déroute. Ils se rassemblent et s'organisent dans deux camps, au nord et au sud du lac Kivu

Card Number 3557

Narcy, Jean-Claude
Berrou, Loïck
24 juillet 1994
Time zone
Journal de 20 heures [7:59]
20 000 militaires des Forces armées rwandaises auraient franchi la frontière zaïroise pendant la déroute. Ils se rassemblent et s'organisent dans deux camps, au nord et au sud du lac Kivu
Philippe Douste-Blazy : « Il faut que les réfugiés puissent revenir au Rwanda. Et pour ça, il faut qu'il y ait des garanties du nouveau gouvernement rwandais ».
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- In Rwanda, refugees have only one choice: death from cholera or return home. There are already 1,500 victims per day in Goma. The border between Rwanda and Zaire was reopened this afternoon to allow those returning to pass.
- It is from Entebbe, in Uganda, that the large American carriers took off to parachute the food over neighboring Zaire. Other planes go directly to Goma where more than a million Rwandans have taken refuge.
- Parachutes in Rwanda, loans from Gikongoro, in the humanitarian security zone. It is not cholera but famine which threatens 1,700,000 people here. Blankets, tins, medical kits, the French soldiers were anxious to very symbolically precede their American counterparts who carried out their own drops this afternoon on the Katale camp in Zaire.
- Parachutes, however spectacular they may be, cannot meet the scale of the task. The urgency is absolute. The hospital in Goma, for example, consumes 1,500 liters of Ringer, a rehydration fluid essential for the fight against cholera, per day. New victims are constantly arriving, they are piled up on the ground. The mobilization of the international community is only beginning to bear fruit. It will take two to three weeks to stop the epidemic. Thousands of people are dying and will die again from cholera.
- In good health, on the other hand, the soldiers of the Rwandan Armed Forces. They would be 20,000 to have crossed the Zairian border during the rout. They gather and organize in two camps, north and south of Lake Kivu. The spirit of revenge that animates them is the fear of humanitarian organizations who refuse to provide them assistance until they are disarmed. The Zairian authorities have undertaken to do so. For these FAR soldiers, the return is impossible, they know that the RPF does not take prisoners.
- Philippe Douste-Blazy: "I would like to take advantage of this direct to ask a question of the international community, outside of France of course, and also to affirm two priorities. My question is to know whether the international community thinks 'are these men and women like you and me here? If the answer is 'no' then this is another discussion that I would rather not participate in. If the answer is 'yes' then why the other countries do not come to help France? Why there is not a stronger solidarity of the international community? And the priority, it is humanitarian, obviously. Here we have seen thousands of deaths for two days. More than 8,000 dead here in Goma. Little packages like that, I don't know if you know what they are: they are little babies who are on the side of the roads. It is something absolutely abominable. Here it would take 10 million liters of water per day and there are only 180,000 that can be distributed! It would take 500 tonnes of food a day and only 200 are arriving. So of course I know the Americans are coming, the Israelis are going to come, the Germans. But if it's just for humanitarian aid… Of course you need doctors, nurses, food, medicine and water. But above all, there is a political priority: the refugees who are here must be able to return to Rwanda. And that requires three conditions: there must be guarantees from the new Rwandan government. Its very important. And for that, the international community must ask it, the other governments! France is the only one to make a political gesture. Other governments must participate in this action. And then the humanitarian zone, due to the French soldiers who worked in an absolutely remarkable way, this humanitarian zone has a million people. […] This million people, if nothing is done for them, will arrive here in Goma. It will be the most important humanitarian catastrophe of the XXth century. If the refugees do not return to Rwanda as quickly as possible, then in 15 days there will be millions of deaths here! This is what must be understood! And then, I would also say that the international community must take its responsibilities. UNAMIR II must come, the UN soldiers must come to support the soldiers of France. France cannot continue alone. It is absolutely impossible. It is a problem of responsibility if we do not want these refugee camps to become death camps! […] The NGOs agree to build a road, like what was done at the time for Kurdistan: a road with sanitary points, sanitary security, water security! Security also political, so that these refugees are not afraid. They are afraid of being killed now. And there must be soldiers. General Lafourcade and his men, who are doing an extraordinary job here, must be supported by other UN soldiers. If they don't come, it will be catastrophic".
- Pierre Consigny, "President of the French Red Cross": "Everything is missing. There is absolutely no water. But there is also a lack of medicines and food. […] There is nothing that can compare, nothing that can be compared. There is also Goma today. But there is also, 200 kilometers south of Goma, the Bukavu area, which is an area that hosted 500,000 refugees, for whom the same questions are starting to arise today".