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May 13, 2024 French

Vénuste Kayimahe : « On est dans une situation presque d'assiégés parce qu'il y a dehors les miliciens, les militaires, tous ceux qui peuvent nous tuer. On est résignés, on attend la mort tout simplement »

Card Number 29899

Masure, Bruno
Boisserie, Philippe
Romedenne, Patrice
Laudrin, Caroline
12 avril 1994
Time zone
Journal de 20 heures
Vénuste Kayimahe : « On est dans une situation presque d'assiégés parce qu'il y a dehors les miliciens, les militaires, tous ceux qui peuvent nous tuer. On est résignés, on attend la mort tout simplement »
De partout parviennent des témoignages sur les atrocités commises par des bandes armées de gourdins, de machettes, de sagaies ou de haches.
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- Rwanda delivered to the worst disorder after the flight of the government from the capital. Almost all foreigners have been able to leave this country where the fighting seems to be intensifying.
- In Rwanda, clashes have resumed between government forces and rebels of the Patriotic Front who are at the gates of the capital Kigali, hastily abandoned by the Rwandan government. Almost all foreigners have left this country and most embassies have closed, starting with the French Embassy.
- On the airport tarmac, the ambassador gives his last instructions. In his bag, the French flag which still flew this morning on the embassy of Kigali. Under strong military escort, all embassy staff leave. At the foot of the Transall, only the consul's dog seems indifferent to the drama that could be played out here. At 7:45 a.m., last salute. There are no more French people in Rwanda.
- Meanwhile, the military continues to evacuate foreigners. Here, three Canadian Sisters isolated in the countryside. They take with them four little orphans under the empty gaze of the adults. One last donation of all the money they have left and it's time to say goodbye, time to say goodbye.
- At the airport, a final escort accompanies the last returnees. At noon, all the French soldiers are gathered in the air terminal and at 3 a.m., 150 of them are already leaving Kigali. The others will leave depending on the evolution of the situation. The war is coming. Colonel Henri Poncet, "Operation Commander in Rwanda": "You can see around the hills of Kigali that certain elements of the RPF are taking position. Are they light detachments or larger forces? I am unable at the present time to specify it".
- This afternoon the noose of the RPF tightened. Most of the hills around the city are in their hands and the cannon thunders regularly. Even the airport is surrounded. One sign does not lie: the government has taken the road of exile to the South.
- Tonight in Kigali, there are no foreigners left. Most embassies are closing. The UN peacekeeping mission manages hypothetical ceasefires. No one seems able to avoid further carnage, because carnage there will be: the tens of thousands of Tutsi massacred in recent days will not go unpunished. Rwanda seems destined for an increasingly common future in Africa: chaos.
- In this capital Kigali, more than ever left to fend for itself and therefore to the worst abuses, many inhabitants have not had the chance to flee and they live in anguish.
- Kigali and the whole country in the grip of anarchy. From everywhere came testimonies of the atrocities committed by gangs armed with clubs, machetes, spears or axes. In the capital, the Tutsi are hunted. Testimony of one of them, employed at the French Cultural Center where he has been holed up for several days. Vénuste Kayimahe: "We are in an almost besieged situation because there are militiamen, soldiers, all those who can kill us outside. They have just massacred everyone in the city of Kigali. We are resigned. We is terminated. We are waiting for a miracle or simply death".
- His salvation, this man will perhaps owe it to the 20,000 rebels of the RPF dominated by the Tutsi minority. According to the UN they are patrolling this evening in Kigali, deserted by the provisional government.
Philippe Boisserie: "The Rwandan Armed Forces themselves announced that the connection had been made between the soldiers of the Rwandan Patriotic Front, who were still detained in the center of the city and those who were this morning on all the surrounding hills. However, the battalions of the Rwandan Armed Forces are still on the spot and they are defending themselves valiantly. The end of the afternoon was marked by very intense fighting here. […] For the moment nothing has been decided for the 350 men Still here. But tonight the UN has prepositioned a unit in the parking lot of the airport, which would tend to prove that it would in fact replace the foreign soldiers who currently occupy this airport. So it would be the UN who would take over from the military. In any case, the Rwandan Patriotic Front has been very clear: according to the UN, it has set a deadline of 60 hours from this morning. So Thursday [April 14] at the end of afternoon, he clearly says that we don't need a seu the foreign soldier on Rwandan soil".
- A total of 1,600 people, including nearly 600 French, have been evacuated since Saturday [April 9] by French soldiers. Among the refugees who arrived in France in recent hours, 94 Rwandan orphans, some of whom were in the process of being adopted by French families.
- At 3 o'clock last night, the long journey of these children comes to an end. They had to leave Rwanda in a hurry after nine orphanage staff were killed. The 94 children, accompanied by about thirty adults including five nuns, found refuge in the transit center of Créteil. Their arrival was not really planned. We had to organize in haste. Information meetings are improvised on the stairs and Red Cross volunteers pretend to be grandmothers.
- A transit center transformed into a hive: medical examination for those who suffer from malaria and diarrhoea, bracelet for everyone with their identity. Life is getting organized little by little: distribution of baby food, nappies and fixed meal times for the older ones.
- As soon as the children have time to acclimatise, the problem of their future already arises. Everything is decided at the end of this corridor, between the director of the orphanage and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Seven of these children had already been adopted by French families in Rwanda, around fifteen others are still in their first contact.
- Only children whose files were already in progress in Rwanda will be adopted. For the others, they will have to wait for a decision from the next government. But most of these children will return to their country as soon as the situation allows.
The 20 o'clock news of France 2 of April 12, 1994 is visible in its entirety here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRa6QCnUCcE