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August 2, 2023 French

Le plus grand camp de réfugiés tutsi à l'Ouest du Rwanda est désormais sous protection militaire française

Card Number 31044

Masure, Bruno
Staes, Isabelle
Boussié, Laurent
24 juin 1994
Time zone
Journal de 20 heures
Le plus grand camp de réfugiés tutsi à l'Ouest du Rwanda est désormais sous protection militaire française
Kigali a été à nouveau le théâtre la nuit dernière et ce matin de violents combats.
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Transcription d'une émission de télévision
- So far, Operation Turquoise is apparently proceeding without incident. About 8,000 refugees are already now under the protection of the French paratroopers. In this newspaper, report from our special correspondents on the spot and an update with our special correspondent in Kigali where the bombing of a hospital claimed seven new victims this morning.
- In Rwanda, some 8,000 Tutsi refugees living in an area controlled by government forces are now under the protection of a French paratrooper detachment.
- A simple bridge at the exit of Bukavu and it is the entry into Rwanda. We are in Cyangugu, the first stage of the humanitarian operation by French troops. All along the road the population cheers, blue-white-red flag in hand. A triumphant welcome in this part of Rwanda, a government zone. Rwandan soldiers and militias are celebrating. They who, yesterday, massacred savagely.
- Isabelle Staes speaks to a FAR soldier: - "You are accused of having committed a lot of massacres in this part of the country on the side of the government forces". The soldier replies with a smile: - "No, it's the RPF! The RPF is our enemy. He's saying all that to implicate us". Isabelle Staes: - "Yes, but it was the militias on this side of Rwanda who started the massacres". The soldier: - "The militias? No, they are lies".
- First objective of the French: the Nyarushishi camp about ten kilometers from Cyangugu. A first detachment set up there yesterday [June 23] to protect 8 to 9,000 refugees. They are Tutsi, gathered here by the government army and loosely protected by the local gendarmerie.
- Lieutenant-Colonel Hervé Charpentier: "We try to continue to roam to expand the security system based on the information that the refugees, the authorities and all those who want to talk to us are willing to give us".
- Colonel Thibault [Tauzin] had to explain to these initially suspicious Tutsi that his troops were there to protect them. The soldiers regularly patrol this camp where people crowd into makeshift shelters, where they suffer from dysentery and where they always feel threatened by Hutu extremists.
- Today the Red Cross is distributing bamboo so that everyone can build a shelter. It is also she who supplies and tries to treat a traumatized population.
- The largest Tutsi refugee camp in western Rwanda is therefore now under French military protection, but the front line is only a hundred kilometers from here and there are still many other places to protect. So every day the French soldiers go deeper into the country in order to avoid new massacres.
- In the center of the country, the capital Kigali was once again the scene last night and this morning of heavy fighting. Obviously the Rwandan Patriotic Front is stepping up its military pressure to chase the last government soldiers out of this town.
- These images were taken yesterday [June 23] at the Red Cross hospital in Kigali, a few hours before a shell fell in the emergency room of this hospital, this morning at 11.45 a.m., killing seven people.
- No victim among the 13 expatriates who work day and night with some 650 patients admitted in the permanent building but also in tents erected urgently all around. For three months now, this hospital located in an area controlled by government troops has been full.
- Here there are wounded from the two wars that are taking place in Rwanda: those from the conventional war between government armed forces and RPF soldiers. And then there are the people who are injured and massacred by the militias.
- In yesterday alone, 84 wounded were brought to this hospital, where from tonight there will be no more bandages. In the last 48 hours there have been mostly soldiers among the wounded, since the Rwandan Patriotic Front redoubled its artillery fire on learning of the launch of Operation Turquoise.
- In the hotels of the city, always refugees who try to protect the Blue Helmets whose general has now established contact with the French. Roméo Dallaire: "According to the directives I received, I should cooperate and maintain a liaison with them. And these are my objectives".
- French people who operate far from Kigali but whose intervention does not facilitate the diplomatic work of the UN in the capital of Rwanda.
- Laurent Boussié: "The fighting which started last night and which lasted a whole part of the day was first heavy weapons fighting with cannons and mortars. infantry with light weapons. So we understand that the Red Cross hospital is caught in the middle of this fighting. It itself was hit today by a shell. Fighting which is in fact an offensive by the Rwandan Patriotic Front, which told us this afternoon that it had taken five positions from government soldiers over the past 72 hours […] In parallel with this military offensive, the RPF softened its position on the French intervention. midday, I met a senior RPF official. The categorical position displayed a few days ago has been replaced by more realistic language with phrases like this: 'The French have accepted the limitations requested by the UN. if the French remain strictly in their mission, there will be no problem with them. But, of course, we will judge every action'".
- For the moment, only the Senegalese have engaged militarily in this operation. A first contingent of 300 men, fully equipped and armed by France, should join the French soldiers already deployed on the spot.
- They sing and they dance to give themselves courage. These 40 men from the 22th reconnaissance and support battalion are only the vanguard of the Senegalese contingent. Eventually, there should be 300 to participate in Operation Turquoise. Dressed, equipped, escorted by the French army but proud to represent Senegal and Africa in this intervention.
- Soldiers without qualms, that's normal. But on the political level, not everyone sees things the same way: part of the opposition believes that a purely African solution should be favored. What the opposition really fears is that the Senegalese government will use the Rwandan affair to create a climate of national unity in a country where the social and political situation remains extremely tense, in a country where the leaders of the two parties the most important opposition groups have been in prison for four months.
- In total, this Operation Turquoise provides for the participation of approximately 2,500 French soldiers. Under the authority of General Morillon, this entire operation is coordinated from the headquarters of the FAR, the Rapid Action Force, based in Maisons-Laffitte.
- A shower of stars on the epaulettes under the command of General Morillon: here is the staff of the FAR, the French army's rapid action force in its operational command post. The room, rather sensitive and confidential, where all the information on the men of Operation Turquoise arrives, their needs, their problems, their assistance. General Philippe Morillon: "We manage to ensure the establishment of these forces and above all to restore a permanent alert system since what the Chief of the Defense Staff is asking us to have 2,000 men projectable on notice of less than three days".
- To face this mission, the FAR can draw from a reservoir of 50,000 men spread over the whole of French territory. 3,000 of them have already been sent on a mission to the former Yugoslavia. 2,500 today are therefore in Rwanda. The last to leave are fine-tuning their equipment and morale at the assembly point, the grounds of the Maisons-Laffitte barracks. In a few hours, these last men of Operation Turquoise will have arrived on the ground. Their security will largely depend on the assistance provided by General Morillon and his staff.
- Six European countries, Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Germany and Great Britain, declared today their willingness to provide logistical or humanitarian aid to this Operation Turquoise. Italy for its part is ready to support the troops but under certain conditions.
- France intends to add Rwanda to the subjects of conversation at the official dinner tonight. It seems that Paris has lifted the reluctance, the reservations aroused by its military-humanitarian intervention. It would thus be assured of obtaining moral or logistical support from all its partners.
- Alain Juppé: "I was able to see today that all our partners approved of France's initiative and, in various forms, were ready to join in on the logistics plan. What does the logistics plan mean? That means transport planes to help us transport either our troops or also humanitarian aid!Because behind the French soldiers arrive, in the regions that we have identified, humanitarian aid in a massive way.Five or six countries Europeans have declared themselves available and this is in the process of being put in place".
- But only Italy would be ready to send troops, up to 5,000 men, provided that Berlusconi can convince his entire government. A sentence in the final communiqué of the Corfu summit should reflect this European support. So France should soon feel less alone in Rwanda.
The 20 o'clock news of France 2 of June 24, 1994 is visible in its entirety here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5N1MwIj-tPY