Hier à l'issue d'une visite éclair au Rwanda dans la zone de sécurité, puis à la frontière zaïroise dans les camps de réfugiés, Edouard Balladur n'a pas exclu que des soldats français demeurent sur place au-delà de la date butoir du 22 août
À Kibumba, on ne mange qu'une poignée de riz, quand on peut, par personne. Le choléra mais aussi la dysenterie menacent.
- 60 British soldiers left Great Britain this morning. They will participate in the international effort in favor of refugees. In total London will send 600 troops over the next two weeks. Their mission: to restore infrastructure and provide medical assistance to refugees.
- The Americans are starting to arrive in Kigali. As for the French soldiers of Operation Turquoise and the humanitarian organizations, their fight is now being waged on two fronts: cholera and dysentery. Will French troops stay in Rwanda beyond August 22? This is what Edouard Balladur suggested last night [July 31] during his visit to Goma.
- Yesterday, after a lightning visit to Rwanda, to the security zone, then to the Zairian border, in the refugee camps, the Prime Minister did not rule out that French soldiers remain on the spot in the- beyond the deadline of August 22. Edouard Balladur: "If the international community is not able to mobilize 3 to 4,000 men to take over, France will do nothing to make the situation worse. Quite the contrary! It will do everything to make it improve".
- Concretely, Operation Turquoise therefore risks being extended if, by August 22, sufficiently large and credible contingents have not come to replace the French soldiers. The relief is certainly coming, but slowly: the British vanguard left this morning, around thirty American soldiers are already hard at work in Kigali and 200 Ghanaians took the road today to come and relieve the French in the safe zone.
- In this area, the population is worried. She has little faith in the UN contingents that she saw at work in Kigali where they did nothing to stop the massacres. The deployment of peacekeepers to replace the French could therefore trigger a new exodus to refugee camps on the Zairian border.
- Camps where the health situation continues to deteriorate: dysentery has just broken out in most of them and the UNHCR estimates that around 20,000 people could die from it. The French soldiers for their part cite the figure of 50,000 dead since the start of the exodus.
- Every day in Goma, refugees wait for cars and buses to leave for the camps. After 15 days, they are now often unwanted in the city and we want to push them to medical centers or water and food distributions a few tens of kilometers to the north. But if they avoid the exhaustion that killed time on the road, the humanitarian situation in these large camps has not really improved.
- In Kibumba, we only eat a handful of rice, when we can, per person. Cholera but also dysentery threaten. We defecate in the woods a few meters away. And night falls at six o'clock. Dozens of fire then light up. Suffocating smoke. Not all of them will wake up tomorrow.