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May 13, 2024 French

Hier [22 juin] à 19 h 30, le Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU a autorisé l'intervention française. Les rebelles du Front patriotique du Rwanda ont dit qu'ils s'y opposeraient par tous les moyens

Card Number 29035

Pernaut, Jean-Pierre
Jacquemin, Marine
Nakad, Nahida
Jentile, Catherine
23 juin 1994
Time zone
Journal de 13 heures
Hier [22 juin] à 19 h 30, le Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU a autorisé l'intervention française. Les rebelles du Front patriotique du Rwanda ont dit qu'ils s'y opposeraient par tous les moyens
En France, les organisations humanitaires sont divisées. Les politiques aussi.
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- Operation Turquoise began after the green light last night [June 22] from the United Nations. At least 200 paratroopers are on the border with Rwanda, where they are due to enter as of today.
- The paratroopers and marine commandos came into play last night. A reconnaissance of the zone along the Zairian-Rwandan border. Their column from Goma should arrive in Bukavu in the early afternoon. At the same time, a dozen Puma will land in the evening at the same Bukavu airport, a small runway which cannot be accessed by jumbo jets, hence the difficulty. Phase 2 of Operation Turquoise aims to protect, and not evacuate, a few thousand Tutsi refugees at high risk in a stadium in Cyangugu. The French soldiers should therefore enter Rwanda tomorrow morning and take a stand. The objective of phase 3 will be to extend the security zones.
- Operation Turquoise should mobilize a total of 2,500 men, around 100 vehicles and 40 planes. Humanitarian objective to initially protect 8,000 Tutsi in southwestern Rwanda.
- At the Ministry of Defense, yesterday afternoon [June 22], François Léotard and Admiral Lanxade, Chief of Defense Staff, explain Operation Turquoise. It is five o'clock. At 7:30 p.m., the UN Security Council authorized the French intervention. A few minutes later Operation Turquoise begins. 2,500 men will have to participate, all professional soldiers. 1,000 will be sent from France. 1,500 already posted in Africa are being routed right now to Zaire. Their mission is initially outside the combat zone. It should last a month. It will have only one goal: humanitarian.
- First objective: Cyangugu where several thousand Tutsi, the rebel ethnic group, would be in danger of death. 1,000 French soldiers will be brought into Rwandan territory. A risky operation since it is being carried out without the clear support of France's allies, most Europeans refused to participate. Only Italy seems ready to offer 500 men. Other countries, notably Belgium and the United States, are ready to provide logistical assistance.
- Since France launched its intention to intervene, the rebels of the Patriotic Front of Rwanda, the Tutsi, have said that they would oppose it by all means. They accuse France of supporting the power in place. For them, French soldiers are aggressors. Jacques Bihozagara, "Rwandan Patriotic Front Representative": "We are not going to go to Cyangugu specifically to go and fight the French forces! But if we have to get there, and if they are there, we will treat them as invaders! So otherwise said, we're going to face them".
- In France too, we have heard many comments on the intervention of our troops. Politicians are divided, even among the majority. Pierre Lellouche, "Deputy R.P.R." : "We can no longer tolerate genocides next to us by pretending that it does not exist". Jacques Baumel, "Deputy R.P.R." : "Carrying out an intervention in a distant country, ravaged by tribal struggles, ancestral, and which are likely to develop despite the presence of our unfortunate 2000 soldiers, is a terrible risk".
- On the side of humanitarian organizations, two opposing lines. Bernard Granjon, "President of Médecins du Monde": "The mere prospect of this French intervention meant that we could no longer go to Rwanda. In the South, because our position was deemed unseemly by the government troops. the North, because the RPF tells us: 'With the aggravation of the situation, we can no longer ensure your security'". Philippe Biberson, "Pdt Médecins sans Frontières": "The alternative to what is happening today was nothing, it was to wait for the genocide to be accomplished, for it to end. And then we could have effectively brought in the UN: it would have been too late, there was no one left to save".
- Régis Faucon: "It is true that it challenges us to see that the humanitarian organizations themselves do not agree. We must also not forget that the French go to a country, Rwanda, where they are not. not necessarily well received by everyone. France has a fairly heavy record in this region since it is often perceived as having sided with one ethnic group against another. So, and this is the whole paradox, there is a great distrust on the part of the ethnic group that, precisely, we intend to save".
- As Operation Turquoise began this morning, it is important to briefly recall how catastrophic the situation is in Rwanda. Hundreds of thousands of refugees, hundreds of thousands of dead. A real genocide for several months. Despite the horror figures: 200,000, 300,000, 500,000 people have already been massacred. Thousands of Rwandans are throwing themselves on the roads of the exodus, the assassins of yesterday mingling with their victims to escape the advance of the RPF. It is in this context that the French took the initiative of a one-off humanitarian intervention, two and a half months after the start of the massacres.