- The end of Operation Turquoise: as planned, the French will have left Rwanda on Sunday evening [August 21]. Part of the contingent will remain based in Zaire, Goma and Bukavu, where the exodus of Hutu refugees is of course feared. To stem the tide of Rwandans, Zaire has even decided to close its border with Rwanda today.
- We begin to queue, to trample to cross the bridge and take refuge in Zaire. By mid-afternoon, 5,000 people per hour were crossing the border according to the French soldiers, responsible for counting entries into Zaire. The number of refugees would therefore have doubled since yesterday [August, 18].
- Crossing the border, the procession of Rwandans is uninterrupted for four kilometers to Bukavu. Their long flight ends in the city center where 30,000 people already occupy the college sports ground. A wild camp where until now, we have distributed neither food nor material to settle. The only reception structure: an MSF dispensary.
- A choice made at the outset to prevent refugees from settling in the city. But today, the camps set up by NGOs are sold out.
- Due to a lack of space in the camps, the town itself is gradually taking on the appearance of a vast refugee camp. 50,000 people have already taken up residence in the streets of Bukavu. UNHCR is desperately looking for new sites. In the meantime, the worried Zairian authorities have announced the next border closure.
- A closure which will certainly radically solve the problem of the ever-increasing flow of refugees, but which for some could create a wave of panic. Refugee: "If we close the border, most people will think that maybe we will kill them and they will throw themselves into the water".
- UNICEF announced at the end of the afternoon that the border would close Sunday [August 21] at noon. New rumor or real desire of the Zairian authorities? It is at this precise moment that the French soldiers will leave the border region in Rwanda.
- This evening the information is well confirmed: the border, in the direction Rwanda-Zaire, is well closed at the level of Bukavu.