«Pour la France, l'ennemi c'était le FPR et les Tutsi de l'intérieur», selon le témoin N° 7
Kigali, 12 déc. (ARI) – Avant, pendant et après le génocide, les soldats français ont appris aux auteurs du génocide que l'ennemi du Rwanda c'est le FPR et les Tutsi qui sont ses complices de l'intérieur du pays, selon le témoin N° 7 entendu sous couvert de l'anonymat par la Commission rwandaise qui enquête sur le rôle controversé de la France durant le génocide, a établi Agence Rwandaise d'Information (ARI).
Ancien membre de la milice interahamwe - fer de lance du génocide - dans la Préfecture de Gisenyi, le témoin N° 7 affirme avoir été formé par les soldats français pendant trois mois en 1993 dans le Camp Bigogwe situé à la limite des ex-Préfectures de Ruhengeri et de Gisenyi.
«Nous étions formés par des officiers rwandais et français. « Idéologie », c'était l'intitulé du cours dispensé par les Français. Dans ce cours, ils nous apprenaient comment identifier l'ennemi du Rwanda. Pour nos instructeurs français, l'ennemi c'était le FPR qui venait d'attaquer le pays et les Tutsi qui sont ses complices de l'intérieur».
« En plus de l'Idéologie, ils nous apprenaient également l'Histoire du Rwanda. Sur le plan militaire, ils nous apprenaient le «combat sans arme». C'est-à-dire comment nous devons nous défendre sans armes contre l'ennemi et ses complices de l'intérieur», a-t-il ajouté.
Le témoin N° 7 a indiqué à la Commission que la France avait continué à livrer les armes aux ex-FAR (Forces Armées Rwandaises) et Interahamwe durant le génocide. Au mois de mai 1994, il s'était rendu avec d'autres Interahamwe à l'aéroport international de Goma pour recueillir les armes livrées par la France.
«Nous étions partis dans des bus d'ONATRACOM (Office national de transport en commun, ndlr) et dans les camions de Félicien Kabuga (principal financier du génocide, recherché par le Tribunal Pénal International pour le Rwanda, ndlr) à l'aéroport international de Goma (est de la RDC) pour recueillir les armes des mains des soldats français. », a-t-il dit.
«Nous étions partis à Goma à la demande du Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva qui était responsable de l'armée à Gisenyi. Il nous avait dit que la France venait de nous envoyer des armes. Toutes les armes reçues avaient été distribuées aux Interahamwe de la Préfecture de Gisenyi qui s'en étaient servi pour exterminer les Tutsi », a-t-il précisé.
Après la défaite des forces génocidaires, ce témoin N° 7 s'était réfugié dans la Province du Nord-Kivu (est de la RDC). «J'avais été blessé durant les combats contre le FPR (Front Patriotique Rwandais, qui a vaincu les ex-FAR/Interhamwe) au Rwanda. Arrivé au Zaïre, j'ai été soigné dans un dispensaire mis en place par les Français à côté de l'aéroport international de Goma».
« Après la guérison, j'avais rejoint d'autres Interahamwe dans le Camp de Katale (30 Km au nord de Goma, ndlr) pour une formation militaire dispensée par les Français. Ces derniers nous disaient qu'ils vont nous aider à reconquérir par la force le pouvoir au Rwanda».
En 1996, le Rwanda a expédié ses troupes aux côtés des rebelles congolais de l'AFDL (Alliance des Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération) pour, disait-il, stopper les incursions des ex-FAR/Interahamwe au départ de l'ex-Zaïre. «Au mois de novembre 1996, nous étions arrivés à Tingi-Tingi (nord-est de la RDC) fuyant l'avancée de l'AFDL. Un avion de l'UNICEF(Fonds des Nations Unies pour l'Enfance, organisation humanitaire) avait atterri sur la piste de Tingi-Tingi avec des armes qui nous avaient été distribuées pour que nous puissions contrer l'avancée des rebelles soutenus par le Rwanda», a-t-il révélé. (Fin)
ARI-RNA/ Gen./ D.M/ 11. 12. 06/ 11 : 35 GMT
We trained interahamwe and ex-FAR as translators alongside French soldiers – anonymous witness tells Mucyo commission
Kigali, December 12th (RNA) – Testifying before the National Commission probing French complicity in the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda, anonymous Witness VI has authoritatively just said that French soldiers from the notorious Détachement d'assistance militaire et d'instruction (DAMI) or Compagnie DAMI were the senior trainers for interahamwe and ex-FAR in training wings at Mukamira and Bigogwe (Northern Province), and fought the RPF rebels as technicians for the heavy weaponry brought from France, RNA has established.
The Witness, who was an interahamwe and ex-FAR training instructor - and army Sergent, said after he had completed his training at ESO ( Ecole Superieure des officiers) – Butare (now Huye district) in 1991, he was moved to Ruhengeri with others to act as assistant instructors for army recruits, in preparation of offensives against the RPF rebels. Current Defence Minister - General Gatsinzi Marcel, then headed ESO. He has also testified before the commission behind close-doors.
Sounding enlightened and confident, witness VI said at Bigogwe training wing, for every group of recruits, there was a French soldier showing the tactic as the Rwandan junior officers translated and re-practiced the same tactics to the hundreds of recruits.
"As for myself, the French soldier would use me as the practice tool – then I would also use one recruit to show how the tactic was effected – and then the rest would also copy what I had just showed them – and that is how all other groups were doing it", Witness VI, dressed in a white truck-suit (sports-wear) explained.
According to him, the recruits were trained for a month or two and sent to the frontline as back-up for the offensive against the RPF rebels on fronts in Mutara (Eastern Rwanda), Byumba (north east) and various fronts along the Uganda-Rwanda border.
Indifferent from previous witnesses, the Sergent was testifying with marked authority, as he was apparently one of the "best officers" that graduated from ESO-Butare and was even controlling junior French soldiers.
As the RPF offensive became more "bitter, routine and mobile" around April 1992, the Sergent says "he and other good officers" - totalling about 50 were sent to the fire-spitting Kirambo (Cyeru-Ruhengeri) frontline to man the newly acquired 12 "ear-deafening heavy mortars" ('105 mm').
According to the witness who was commander - deputised by a French soldier on one of the 12 mortars - every 105 was manned by 3 French soldiers who were the technicians and 4 Rwandans as support staff.
Then on the hill just close by, as the Sergent narrated, there was a "French General" and one – Colonel Serubuga who had high-tech surveillance and communications equipment used to gauge the targets.
"I had a radio-transmitter ("Icyombo") through which the 'French General' would command - and then I would relay the information to my French subordinates for execution as we fired the mortars concurrently with the other groups", the seemingly knowledgeable former ex-FAR explained.
"Though I was the commander of my group, they just respected us (ex-FAR commanders) and made us heads but my French assistant and the 2 French technicians were the ones in control of everything", he said.
Put to task several times to come up with the names of the French General and the 3 juniors under his command, the witness said "we called them by names such as 'mortier' (mortar) – like weapons – they never told us their names – they always just gave us such names of weapons", amidst controlled laughter by the commissioners and the audience.
According to a former RPF soldier and now civilian that RNA talked to about the 105 mortars, "some people who were in the midst as the mortars landed became deaf – confused – and often abnormal". "Some even died out of shock from the gruesome thunder".
After the plane carrying President Habyarimana was shot down (April 6), according to Witness VI, ammunitions stocks were reducing as well – so a meeting was called in Gisenyi including Genocide financer Kabuga – Nzabahimana Augustin – Lt. Col. Bivugabagabo Marcel – Col. Anatole Nsengyumva and others - to fundraise for new weapons.
Concurrently however, French brought in more truckloads of weapons from the Goma Airport (just across in DRC). The weapons included grenades, machine guns, Kalashnikovs and several rounds of heavy mortars and were displayed in Stade Umuganda (Gisenyi town stadium)
On this, Witness VI seemed to correlate with earlier anonymous Witness V – an illiterate former interahamwe militia who was among the trainees at Mukamira. The militia had been transferred from Mukamira to Camp-Gisenyi where they were given arms in preparation for a militia murderous campaign in Bisesero (Kibuye).
There was also correlation on the testimony that the weapons brought in from the Goma were in boxes with marks of hoes. Probably interpreted as a concealment tactic by French along the transportation route.
Bisesero area is one of the prominent areas in Rwanda known for Genocide victim resistance. The Tutsis grouped up on a hill and ferociously resisted militia attacks.
According to Witness IV (yesterday) and V (today), both of who participated in the French organised attacks on the Bisesero region using hundreds of interahamwe militias, Gendarmes and ex-FAR soldiers, hundreds of victims were "finished" in a carnage that lasted a "few days". The Witnesses affirm that, they moved in 3 buses and 2 trucks with French escorts on jeeps to Bisesero.
"When we heard that Gendarmes Nkunzurwanda had died on the previous attacks on Biseseso – French soldiers called us on parade and they looked very angry – so our officers organised us and we 'stormed' Bisesero – as back-up for the defeated ex-FAR and we cleared all the resisting enemies (Tutsis)", Witness V said. The interahamwe also "patrolled" Kibuye hunting for Tutsis and collaborators – set up roadblocks as they were "supervised by French soldiers.
What is clear with the testimonies, French soldiers were in Rwanda all through from 1991 and previously, past 1993 – during the Genocide and even after the different series (1991- 92 -93) of the Arusha Accords – although they were required to leave.
France has also maintained on different fora that none of its soldiers participated in anyway in the preparations of war and eventual Genocide in Rwanda.
Despite the hell he was part to, Witness V has never been brought to justice and lives happily in the village he once destroyed in Ruhengeri. As for VI, he was jailed since 1995 till 2004, brought to a Gacaca court, tried, sentenced (12yrs) and released after it was known that he had been in jail for all the previous years. (End)
ARI-RNA/Gen./FMW/12.12.06/12 :30 GMT
Rwanda News Agency