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January 29, 2024 French

Pour la première fois aujourd'hui une colonne de soldats français a été accrochée par des rebelles du Front patriotique

Card Number 33402

Bilalian, Daniel
Staes, Isabelle
Duquesne, BenoƮt
Normandin, Jean-Louis
3 juillet 1994
Time zone
Journal de 20 heures [7:59]
Pour la première fois aujourd'hui une colonne de soldats français a été accrochée par des rebelles du Front patriotique
Face à l'avance rapide de ces rebelles, la France propose la création d'une Zone de sécurité humanitaire dans le Sud-Ouest du pays.
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Journal télévisé
- Events are accelerating in Rwanda: for the first time today a column of French soldiers was attacked by rebels from the Patriotic Front. They responded. There are no victims on the French side. On the other hand, there could be some on the rebel side.
- At the same time, faced with the rapid advance of these rebels, France is proposing the creation of a Humanitarian Security Zone in the South-West of the country where thousands of refugees like these 600 orphans who were evacuated would be grouped from the town of Butare today Sunday.
- Six Puma fly over the hills in southern Rwanda. French paratroopers are on the lookout because the FPR rebels have infiltrated there. Direction Butare, the country's second city, threatened by the imminent arrival of the Patriotic Front.
- Emergency operation in the diocese of Butare. In the panic, all the city's religious, seminarians and scouts were evacuated. In total, 300 people. 700 orphans will also be evacuated from a camp, UNAMIR having negotiated a ceasefire until 6 p.m. with the RPF.
- In Butare there is confusion. The population flees. The rebels, who yesterday [July 2] were still three kilometers from the city, continued their push. This time they are there, a few hundred meters from the French soldiers. Colonel Didier Tauzin: "When we left, we were shot at by the FPR. And we returned fire. But there were also groups of the FPR at the side of the road who remained calm. I think, all the same, that when they saw our armament, they must have said to themselves that it was better not to move".
- On the road to Butare the roadblocks are now in the hands of the rebels. The city has fallen, the government troops have fled and the French soldiers are the last to leave.
- So today for the first time, since the launch of Operation Turquoise, French soldiers were involved in the evacuation of these orphans from the town of Butare. Benoît Duquesne: "The circumstances are relatively confused. According to Colonel Rosier, it was on the way out of Butare, when the French who had gone to look for these orphans were coming out of the town. They arrived at a roadblock manned by the RPF. In principle the negotiations were going well at this roadblock. There were friendly signs exchanged with the soldiers of the Patriotic Front. And then suddenly men who were standing on a high position began to open the fire on the French column. There was even a bullet which arrived 20 centimeters from a driver's door. And at that moment the French, feeling directly threatened, responded. We do not know of course if they caused injuries among the RPF. But in any case there were none among them. About 30 kilometers from Butare is the region of Gikongoro. And throughout this region a huge number of refugees are circulating, around 500,000, 250,000. And it is in this region that the French would like to set up a security zone. However, this is the current axis of breakthrough of the Patriotic Front. And we wonder of course, if we decide to protect the camps, how the French soldiers could not be in a position to militarily oppose the RPF's breakthrough".
- This humanitarian security zone that France wants to create to accommodate all the refugees fleeing massacres and fighting is made all the more necessary as the men of the Patriotic Front, forcing their advance, push tens of thousands of people in front of them. refugees who wander the roads in search of a haven of peace, even temporary.
- We could call it the camp region, the Gikongoro district. For a long time, the villages and houses have no longer been enough to absorb this overflow of refugees, these displaced people as they are called, driven out by the war and the advancing front, fleeing the RPF with fear in their stomachs and hunger as their baggage. - It is the migration of an entire country, of these Hutu massacrers who became victims of the war, in search of NGOs that are too rare. They would thus be 250,000 to 500,000 tossed from camp to camp according to the movement of the front and the attacks of the Patriotic Front.
- Benoît Duquesne questions a refugee: - "Was there a lot of harm done to the Tutsi?". The refugee: - "Well, we have to forgive each other". Another refugee: "When the RPF attacks, generally the first bomb is for the displaced people's camp. There are mainly people who flee now because there are not so many abuses anymore. People are fed up with it now of war".
- After Gikongoro it's the forest. And after the forest, Lake Kivu and the border with Zaire. A deadly migration that the Red Cross helplessly accompanies. The announced arrival of the French has given some hope, but since their time in the camps, people have been wondering: what did they come to do? How can they protect us if they do not stop the advance of the RPF?
- It is therefore in the South-West of Rwanda that the French government would like to set up a security zone to accommodate all these refugees fleeing the fighting. In Brussels, the representatives of the Patriotic Front are already making it known that they are against this French initiative, which the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Alain Juppé, details for the first time : "If we do not want to see the fighting lead us little by little to withdraw towards the border between Rwanda and Zaire, we must, and this is the proposal we have made, create a safe humanitarian zone in the southern part west of the country, more precisely in the districts of Cyangugu, Gikongoro and Kibuye, so as to ensure in this area that the populations are protected from any threat wherever it comes from. And the Franco-Senegalese forces will therefore have this mission. It is not a question of us taking sides on one side or the other. And in the Safe Humanitarian Zone, we will protect the populations from all attacks wherever they come from, whatever side they come from. We have informed the different parties of this and I believe we can say that, thanks to this contact work which is permanent and which will continue , the initial prejudice against the operation has greatly diminished. Everyone saw what the French soldiers and the Senegalese soldiers were doing. What are they doing? Saving populations, saving religious people, saving orphans, saving refugees in camps. Who can oppose such work? This is the reason why little by little support is showing up".
The 20 o'clock news of France 2 of July 3, 1994 is visible in its entirety here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNX4I5qVV0A