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August 2, 2023 French

Edgard Pisani : « On peut se demander si en définitive ce ne sont pas les extrémistes hutu qui ont abattu l'avion dans lequel était le Président, plutôt que les Tutsi »

Card Number 30085

Tripault, Richard
Aït-Habbouche, Morad
Hintermann, Mémona
10 avril 1994
Time zone
Journal de 23 heures
Edgard Pisani : « On peut se demander si en définitive ce ne sont pas les extrémistes hutu qui ont abattu l'avion dans lequel était le Président, plutôt que les Tutsi »
Michel Roussin : « Il faut rendre hommage aux unités françaises qui sont engagées dans Kigali et qui ont vraiment fait le maximum pour protéger des vies humaines »
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- The situation in Rwanda continues to worsen. According to the International Red Cross, fighting with heavy weapons is currently taking place on the outskirts of Kigali. A capital that foreigners have fled all day. The first French are expected tonight in Paris.
- These men and women, mostly Americans, managed to flee the fighting. They arrived in Nairobi this afternoon aboard a US Air Force C-130 Hercules. A few meters from them on the same tarmac, the Belgian soldiers. They had to wait more than three hours for permission to land in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. The French soldiers, themselves, had no setbacks. Throughout the day, they multiplied the evacuation operations. By early evening, 525 of the approximately 600 French people had been able to leave Kigali. Behind them, they leave a country of fire and blood.
- In 48 hours of fighting, according to the International Red Cross, there would already be thousands of dead in the capital and hundreds of corpses in other towns where Hutu and Tutsi were massacred. Father Pierre Jault: "Deaths? But I saw plenty of them on the way here this morning! I saw the houses burning, I even heard people screaming, calling for help! […] Don't stop. They're drunk with blood. The people who had taken refuge in the church, we took them out of the church, we killed them".
- Rwanda, where approximately 7 million people live, is a small country in central Africa. It is the scene of rivalries between two ethnic groups, the Tutsi and the Hutu, and for a very long time, the struggle for power has been fought through massacres. It is called the land of a thousand hills. For three days, Rwanda has again become the country of carnage. On one side the regular army and the terrible presidential guard dominated by the Hutu ethnic group. Since Wednesday [April 6], they have avenged their President killed in an attack. Their enemy: those rebel troops, here in their northern stronghold. Some 20,000 men. They mainly belong to the minority Tutsi ethnic group. They are grouped in the Patriotic Front of Rwanda.
- Jean-Pierre Chrétien: "There is a whole new generation of sons of Tutsi refugees from the 1960s who came from Uganda but also from all kinds of neighboring countries, from Zaire, from Burundi. Tutsis among them, we must not forget: there are also dissident Hutus. The very President of the Rwandan Patriotic Front is a former Rwandan Hutu soldier. […] In Kigali, there were two important political groups if we can summarize: the formation close to the President, with soldiers and civilians who were hostile to these agreements. And on the other hand favorable opponents. Now the victims of the massacres of the last few days are essentially all this movement of opponents, all these intellectuals , all these leaders of human rights leagues. And the assassins are people from the presidential guard and are people from the Coalition for the Defense of the Republic who are close to the former President".
- To understand the last convulsions, we have to go back to August [1993]. In Tanzania, the rebels have reached agreements with President Habyarimana, an iron-fisted general killed on Wednesday [April 6]. These agreements put an end to three years of civil war. They promised a sharing of power with the Tutsi, new institutions, free elections next year [1995]. Since then, nothing. This time, more determined than ever, the Rwandan rebels swear to march on Kigali.
- This evening, they would not be far from the suburbs of the city. They accuse the West of having helped the deceased President, of not having put enough pressure on him to respect the agreements of August [1993]. However, last week, the United Nations reluctantly renewed the mandate of the 2,500 peacekeepers deployed in the country. Peacekeepers who were supposed to enforce a ceasefire between the rebels and the regular troops. The armed opposition is threatening: it warns France against any intervention that would try to save the current power in Kigali.
- Michel Roussin, Minister for Cooperation: "This evening, as we speak, a Transall has just landed in Bangui with 97 children. A second Transall will join Bangui a little later in the evening. That 70 of our compatriots, protected by the French soldiers who are there, who will leave tomorrow morning [April 11] for Bangui. I believe that the system that has been put in place has worked quite well. And I believe that we must pay tribute to our forces because the units that have been involved, both the air force crews and the paratroopers who are in the capital, have really done their best to protect lives. […] As soon as the last French people have been evacuated from Kigali, our system will withdraw to its bases: Bangui and then the mainland. […] It is thanks to France that we have tried, in Arusha, to ensure that these people, representing different ethnicities and different parties ts, can finally talk to each other and work out a peace process and a democratic process together. But despite our good will, despite the UN on site with more than 2,500 blue helmets, we could not avoid this massacre".
- Edgar Pisani: "The international community would do well to intervene in time, nothing is gained by letting things drag on. Concerning Rwanda, it is clear that with Burundi they constitute small states with a very high population density and where two ethnic groups are mingled with each other, with very old quarrels. The Tutsi having dominated for a long time, the more numerous Hutu having, by the normal play of things, taken over the government in recent years But I think it would be futile to reduce the current debate to the confrontation between the Tutsi and the Hutu alone. It seems to me that we must start from the evolution which was initiated by the negotiation and which led Arusha agreement, which France favored, and according to which a kind of bipartisan regime would be put in place under the leadership of President Habyarimana. President Habyarimana did not respect the Arusha agreement. Why? Because in his very entourage, extremists ref used that he did not apply it. And one can wonder if ultimately it was not them who shot down the plane in which the President was, rather than the Tutsi. There is therefore at the same time an inter-ethnic conflict and a conflict within the Hutu to know who will ultimately win, those who want to maintain a blocked situation as it has been for several ages now or, on the contrary, to evolve towards a more open democratic system. […] We must consider that the ethnic problem and the political problem are mixed with economic and social problems. Rwanda is perhaps the most densely populated country in the world with very little urbanization. That is to say, this country of a thousand hills is populated by small farms each located on a plot of land and there is no social organization. From all this arise conditions of discontent, dissatisfaction, which inevitably lead to fueling conflicts when they arise. […] A country like nearby Tanzania cannot remain indifferent to the troubles that are developing on its borders. And the question that we can ask ourselves is whether ultimately an agreement between the international community on the one hand and Tanzania on the other could not lead to an intervention, no longer of protection against the immediate but of blocking a situation which, if it were to last as it is, would lead to a completely unbearable and ultimately politically dangerous massacre for the whole region".