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Jacques Rosier : « À partir des premiers renseignements qu'on a recueillis sur le terrain, il semblerait que les infiltrations du FPR soient une réalité »

Card Number 3417

Masure, Bruno
Duquesne, Benoît
Boisserie, Philippe
Maizy, Éric
Staes, Isabelle
Pons, Pascal
Manier, Stéphane
Cornet, François
Boussié, Laurent
Lemaire, Jean-Marie
Flégeau, Gérard
Olliéric, Dorothée
Bony, Jérôme
Cathala, Jérôme
Gérard, Jacques
Deveaux, Jacques
Camilla, Gabriel
Mourgues, Anne
25 juin 1994
Time zone
Journal de 20 heures [53:54]
Jacques Rosier : « À partir des premiers renseignements qu'on a recueillis sur le terrain, il semblerait que les infiltrations du FPR soient une réalité »
Édition spéciale Rwanda.
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Journal télévisé
- Today again, the soldiers of Operation Turquoise continued their reconnaissance mission in the western part of Rwandan territory. In Bukavu, the southernmost point of the French system, the first French reconnaissances in Rwandan territory went very well. The soldiers have moved on to a new stage in their system: from tomorrow [June 26], they intend to install fixed points in various places in Rwanda that seem sensitive to them. And for that, they needed this day to reposition themselves. They were applauded as one applauds a liberation army. At the smallest village, at the smallest roadblock usually held with an iron fist by the soldiers of the Rwandan forces, a guard of honor greets the arrival of the French soldiers. And the more the soldiers advance in Hutu country, the more the road is adorned with tricolors. First contact with the sub-prefect of Rwesero. A camp is spotted 50 kilometers further north, 2,500 people would be there, without further details. For the sub-prefect, there is only one person responsible for this situation, the RPF. However, the approximately 15% of Tutsi who lived in his town have now disappeared. At the Kirambo camp, the welcoming committee did things particularly well. The entry into the camp is triumphant. For the representatives of the Rwandan government, it is clear that France comes to support them against the aggression of the RPF. The visit to the camp is intended to illustrate this humanitarian policy. Here nobody is in danger of death. Only Hutus driven out by the war live there. No Tutsis. There are no more Tutsi in Kirambo. How many participated in the massacres among these dancers and singers? History may tell. In the meantime, the first missions of the French soldiers showed that there was little hope of finding many survivors of the massacres. Then there remains the war between the Rwandan government and the RPF. With the advance of the front line, it is also the advance of more political than humanitarian problems.
- Operation Turquoise is 2,500 men deployed in three different locations along the border with Rwanda. Goma airport is the logistics base for the operation. Further south, Bukavu airport is the most advanced point of the operation. 250 men among the most specialized units of the French army, paratroopers and marine commandos. They know they will be the first to return to Rwanda. The weaponry is sophisticated: infrared goggles, bulletproof vests and rocket launchers. Nyarushishi is the main refugee camp in the southwestern part of Rwanda. About 8,000 people gathered there. Mostly Tutsi, the minority ethnic group. It's a lot and a little at the same time given the massacres that took place in the region. Many people have died, many have fled, and others are still hiding in houses here. They don't dare go out because if they go out, they risk being checked at one of those famous roadblocks that the French soldiers are trying to remove.
- Benoît Duquesne interviews Colonel Jacques Rosier in Bukavu: - "Were you surprised by the welcome the Rwandans gave you?". Jacques Rosier: - "Yes enough, since we thought we were returning to a country much more upset than that. That said, in the light of what we knew, from the press and information, we suspected that the population on this side of Rwanda was in favor of our arrival". Benoît Duquesne: - "So isn't there an ambiguity in having people cheer you on, some of whom we know participated in massacres?". Jacques Rosier: - "Yes. But anyway, whoever the Rwandans are, our mission is clear: it is precisely to put an end to the massacres and I think that if we return to that side, it is not not by chance". Benoît Duquesne: - "We talk a lot about infiltration by RPF elements. Is it an uncontrolled fear of the Rwandans who are on this side or is it a reality?". Jacques Rosier: - "Based on the first information that we have collected on the ground, it seems that this is a reality, which I think is possible insofar as the RPF troops continue to attack. So, logically, on the militarily, it is normal for them to carry out deep reconnaissance. Now it is perhaps up to us to verify that this real fear is a reality".
- Bruno Masure interviews François Léotard in duplex from Fréjus: Bruno Masure: - "Is it absolutely impossible for French troops to enter areas controlled by the RPF?". François Léotard: - "At the present time, the instructions that we have given to our forces are of two kinds: on the one hand, to develop humanitarian action, that is to say to recognize the places where people are threatened or in situations of health difficulties or famine. On the other hand, do not approach the front line which indeed can be a line of confrontation between the Rwandan army and the militias, and the RPF". Bruno Masure: - "There were a number of tensions at the roadblocks today. And General Germanos, who is there, describes the situation as 'fragile'. Aren't you a bit worried ?". François Léotard: - "Indeed the situation is very fragile, General Germanos is right to say so. It is marked by a lot of uncertainty, we do not know everything about the situation. I remind you that our role is to wait for the arrival of UNAMIR II, that is to say the United Nations force which should replace us as soon as possible". Bruno Masure: - "I wanted to know how you felt seeing through these images the men of the French army currently at work on this difficult terrain?". François Léotard: - "I am very happy to see the French soldiers well received, of course. We did not know what this reception would be like. It could be dangerous or difficult. And it could be tomorrow. So we have to be very attentive, very careful. There is this movement of generosity which pushes to help a country in distress. But there is also, for the government, the will not to endanger our men. And not to give to this presence a character that could provoke one or the other of the two parties present".
- A certain number of French soldiers have been in Rwanda for several days even before the start of this operation, with an extremely discreet presence. It is indeed for them to evaluate the logistical means, to locate the camps and especially to inform the headquarters on the risks incurred by the French soldiers. This is the mission of very special commandos of the French army: the CRAPS.
- In Kigali, more fighting this morning with mortars or light weapons. The UN officials there were forced to suspend their plan to evacuate refugees stuck behind the front lines. Laurent Boussié: "A demonstration took place yesterday afternoon [June 24]. A few thousand women and children, with a few men too, brought together by the RPF for an anti-French demonstration where President Mitterrand was obviously called a traitor and assassin. A demonstration perfectly organized by the RPF which was waiting, for example, for the arrival of the Western press to blackmail people. […] The health situation is currently catastrophic in Kigali. For four days now, there has been no There was no evacuation of wounded and the situation is becoming dramatic. Today, fortunately, a Red Cross truck arrived and despite the shells, the ICRC and the UN managed to evacuate 70 wounded from the Red Cross Hospital to King Faisal Hospital which is a little less crowded".
- At the origin of this new and appalling drama that the Rwandan populations have been living for more than 10 weeks now, the attack, still mysterious moreover, targeting the plane of the Rwandan President. An attack which somehow gave the signal for the fighting and massacres which, according to some estimates, caused around 500,000 deaths! We may never know exactly since French soldiers have yet to discover new mass graves. In this martyred country, no ethnic group was spared from the massacres, neither the Hutu, who were the vast majority, nor the Tutsi who represent approximately 15% of the population and who are largely represented in the ranks of the RPF.
- With us, three Rwandans who are simply going to share with us their feelings on the drama that their country is going through and on the effectiveness or otherwise of this French intervention. Josée Kabagema, who is of Tutsi origin and who is the founder of the association "Alliance pour le Rwanda". Joseph Ngarambe, who is a former civil servant at the French cultural center in Kigali, who is of Hutu origin. And another official of this cultural center, who is of Tutsi origin, Charles Rubagumya. Josée Kabagema: "The horror images are absolutely insane and it's true that, for me who follows a Frenchwoman of Rwandan origin, it was atrocious to see that the international authorities were doing nothing at all and were not moving. For us it was really something atrocious given that it was something planned for a very long time with the lists of people to kill and the identity card with the mention of the ethnic group". Joseph Ngarambe: "I was evacuated on April 12 by the French Embassy. For me, who experienced the horror, I think that the problem is still badly posed, until today. It is not a problem between Hutu and Tutsi as some tend to affirm. It is a political problem. Obviously the Tutsi were taken as scapegoats. […] Operation Turquoise seems indecent given the antecedents French in Rwanda. They strongly supported the regime in place, which regime only began to carry out massacres to stay in power". Charles Rubagumya: "All these massacres have always gone unpunished".
- This French intervention in Rwanda is already having quite direct consequences on this region of the African continent in perpetual turmoil and where politico-ethnic imbroglios have never ceased to lead to conflicts and various troubles. This is particularly true of Burundi which shares the same ethnic alliances and the same bloody history as Rwanda. This is true of Zaire where President Mobutu is somehow back in the saddle. Or even English-speaking Uganda whose leaders are strongly supported by the RPF. Three days after the assassination of the Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi, Operation Amaryllis comes to save foreign nationals in Kigali. This is not the first intervention by French soldiers in Rwanda. In October 1990, already under cover of humanitarian evacuations, 150 soldiers landed in the capital and remained there until 93 when they were reinforced by 450 other paratroopers who supported the regime of President Habyarimana against an offensive by the RPF, the Rwandan Patriotic Front . Today, the family of the assassinated President has taken refuge in France. In fact, the bridges are not cut between Paris and Kigali. According to the Liberation newspaper, it was on the intervention of the African cell at the Elysée that the Rwandan army saved the personalities who had taken refuge in the Hôtel des Mille Collines from the massacre. The RPF, which holds a large part of the capital, has its rear bases in Uganda. It was impossible for 80 UN observers in the Kabale sector to monitor arms trafficking over 170 kilometers of border. Although President Museveni does not openly support the Rwandan rebels, he knows that the refugees who are destabilizing Uganda will not return home before the fall of the Rwandan regime. In Zaire, President Mobutu supports this Rwandan regime. The eastern part of his country, Kivu, is the stronghold of an opposition divided by ethnic quarrels. Across the border with Rwanda, in Goma, transit weapons intended for government forces. But it is Burundi to the south that is most seriously threatened by the Rwandan civil war. From last October, after the assassination of President Ndadaye, the Hutu massacred the Tutsi by the tens of thousands. The ruling party is mostly Hutu while the army is Tutsi.
- Perhaps quite simply because things seem to be going well for the moment on the ground, this French military intervention seems to be better understood every day abroad, even if for the moment still most governments are content to propose logistical or humanitarian aid. At the Corfu summit, European leaders gave unambiguous political support to this operation, asking in passing that those responsible for the genocide perpetrated in Rwanda be brought to justice. François Mitterrand: "The 12 leaders all told us that they supported the French initiative. Proposals were made to us which come from Africa or which come from a few other countries. Finally we have started our action by wishing to be helped, but by taking our responsibilities by ourselves and for ourselves. The material and human set-up is taking place in extremely correct conditions. The penetration into Rwandan territory was carried out with the sometimes very warm agreement of the population".
- From the beginning of next week, a coordination cell will be set up in Goma, on the Zairian border, with the NGOs which have been forced manu militari to evacuate this country. The priority objective of the French soldiers on site is to assess the needs in humanitarian matters. Needs that are quite considerable. Refugees number in the hundreds of thousands. In France, this decision to send soldiers to Rwanda has provoked a number of questions in political parties, among intellectuals, but above all in humanitarian organizations. For now, Doctors Without Borders is the only NGO to seemingly wholeheartedly endorse this action. The others are rather reserved or frankly hostile. Bernard Granjon: "I'm for humanitarian intervention. I'm for military intervention because you can't stop massacres with doctors. I'm against French intervention because I think France is in the worst position to such an intervention. And I think that it is with the UNAMIR that this responsibility falls. France for years has been supporting those who are the perpetrators of the genocide! And it is hard to see how France can currently participate in the reconstruction of a country by keeping it in place for the third time, because it is not the first time, those who put it in the state where we find it today […] If it were really shown to me that the France is the only country that currently can go there, I believe that French intervention would only be conceivable from the moment when France says that it is making a 180 degree turn in relation to its previous policy, in the extent that it condemns s past actions, insofar as she says that she is coming to disarm the assassins, that she is going to ask for the setting up of an international commission of inquiry, of an international tribunal and that, in any case, she refuses to imagine the future of a country by keeping in place those who assassinated it". Philippe Biberson: "I don't want to get into the controversy. It turns out that the only armed force capable of deploying quickly as we requested was a French force. I accept it like that. But we must not that it has the wrong objective: we have heard for several days about objectives that were purely humanitarian. Personally, I think that we must all the same return to what makes the exception in Rwanda, what makes the particularity of this crisis: there is a genocide. It is not an earthquake, it is not a road accident! If there is a military force deployed today, it is to oppose the people who are killing people. What is expected of this military force is that it truly oppose the people who continue to kill people today. But we must not stop there. We must that behind this military operation, there is a political or diplomatic operation which puts the finger on the problem, where it hurts. At present, in this area controlled by what is still called the Interim Government, the people who are in charge are the people who ordered the massacre! These are the people who carried out the genocide. And there is something that is extremely surprising: it is that today, Rwanda's seat in the United Nations is still occupied by the former Rwandan government".
- This operation Turquoise includes an important emergency medical device with the establishment, in the next few days, by the specialists of those called EMMIR, the military medical element of rapid intervention, of two units to the Zaire border: at Bukavu and Goma. Philippe Douste-Blazy: "France's policy has not neglected morality or human rights. And when we know that it was the biggest genocide of the end of the XXth century, when we saw hundreds of orphans, we saw that they had their throats cut, massacred, when we saw millions of refugees, people displaced after having walked 200 kilometers in terrible sanitary conditions, we is fortunate that France was able to act. We had a moral duty to react. This is the first time that France has been able to send military action for humanitarian reasons. That is what is fundamental. the first time and I believe this is historic. Secondly, the epidemics. Because you have to see the Ngara camp, you have to see this camp in Tanzania near Rwanda, with these 250,000 refugees, soon 300,000. The largest camp in the world! And when you see that, you know that today there is a risk of tuberculosis, cholera and diphtheria. And I say bra see MSF and Doctors of the World who are there. So of course we have to help them. But until now, there was no humanitarian corridor to return to Rwanda. And thanks to Alain Juppé, the Prime Minister, Mr. Léotard, Mr. Roussin, well precisely, the soldiers will be able to reach these doctors with medicines and especially with food".
Excerpts from the 20 o'clock news of France 2 of June 25, 1994 are visible here and here