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August 5, 2022 French

La situation devient de plus en plus tendue pour les soldats français : pour la première fois, un accrochage a opposé les militaires à des rebelles du Front patriotique qui ont tiré sur les véhicules des parachutistes

Card Number 29119

Chazal, Claire
Jentile, Catherine
Berrou, Loïck
3 juillet 1994
Time zone
Journal de 20 heures
La situation devient de plus en plus tendue pour les soldats français : pour la première fois, un accrochage a opposé les militaires à des rebelles du Front patriotique qui ont tiré sur les véhicules des parachutistes
À Kigali, Marc Vaiter se bat depuis deux mois pour la survie des 210 orphelins de son dispensaire.
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- The situation is becoming increasingly tense for French soldiers based in Goma and Bukavu on the Zairian border. They find it difficult to cope with the influx of refugees, Hutu or Tutsi. They are still continuing the evacuation of 600 Rwandan orphans from the town of Butare in southwest Rwanda. For the first time, a clash between the soldiers and rebels of the Patriotic Front who fired at the vehicles of the paratroopers.
- It's the save-who-can today in Butare. Once again the Rwandans are thrown on the roads of exodus. The RPF is taking the city. For several days now, the fighting had intensified on the outskirts. The French had already succeeded in evacuating trapped nuns 48 hours ago [July 1st].
- Today, supported by helicopters, the COS men tried to supervise the evacuation of civilians, ensuring their safety as far as possible. In particular, they managed to take 600 orphans with them. Behind the legionaries are taking position. They must control the road that leads from Butare to the Zairian border. That is to say, the axis that cuts Rwanda from east to west.
- The device is set up very quickly. 150 men crisscross the area and constantly scan the surroundings. They fear infiltration of the RPF. And they even think that they could find themselves in contact with the Rwandan Patriotic Front quite quickly.
- On the road, the refugees from Butare are already arriving. At least for those who are lucky enough to own a vehicle. The legionaries are responsible for protecting their flight. But this evening the RPF announced that it was opposed to the creation of humanitarian security zones of this type.
- According to Colonel Rosier, a French convoy was passing on the road and at that time they found themselves next to RPF men. At first, they even exchanged friendly signs. And then all of a sudden, shots were fired against the French (moreover, we found a bullet impact at about 20 centimeters from the driver) and at that time the French retaliated. It was the first time, according to Colonel Rosier, that they opened fire. And there were no injuries on the French side.
- For the first time, a French envoy was able to make contact yesterday [July 2] in Goma with a minister of the Rwandan interim government to precisely facilitate the conduct of Operation Turquoise.
- François Léotard will go tomorrow [July 4] and Tuesday [July 5] to Senegal. He will meet President Abdou Diouf to try to mobilize the Senegalese on this Turquoise operation.
- In Kigali, the noose is tightening on the population and the UN soldiers. A Russian peacekeeper was also injured. The rebel shells and the Hutu militias are stepping up their pressure. In this orphanage run by a Frenchman, the living conditions are appalling. More and more children are crowded together, from all ethnic origins. Their evacuation becomes urgent.
- They were 325 to disembark yesterday morning [July 2] in the parish of Saint-Michel in the heart of downtown Kigali. 325 survivors, evacuated from the Gisimba orphanage located in a district where militias are rampant. These children, most of them Tutsi, whose parents were killed during the April massacres, lived for three months under the terror of a local militia leader.
- Nine Tutsi adults hiding in the orphanage have also died in the past three weeks. 40 others survived and find themselves lodged in Marc Vaiter's estate. This volunteer, who arrived in Rwanda in 1993 to take care of child victims of AIDS, has been fighting for two months for the survival of the 210 orphans in his clinic. This massive influx of new arrivals makes the evacuation of the parish all the more imperative.
- Marc has more immediate concerns: accommodation must be provided for the 325 new residents. He asks for the help of those in charge of the neighboring bishopric, which has empty premises. The answer is clear, the clergymen will not budge. Little consolation: a United Nations truck arrives in the afternoon. Vitamin cookies, flour, powdered milk. The 600 refugees in Saint-Michel parish, at least, will not die of hunger.
- UNAMIR can distribute food to these refugees but due to lack of men and resources, it is unable to protect them from the actions of the militias. French troops for their part cannot access Kigali. This is why the much-requested reinforcement of the peacekeepers is essential.