Une rescapée affirme avoir été violée par des soldats français
Kigali, 13 déc. (ARI) - Une rescapée a affirmé à la commission rwandaise qui enquête sur le rôle présumé de la France dans le génocide que des soldats français de l'opération "Turquoise" l'ont violée durant le génocide anti-tutsi d'avril à juillet 1994, a établi l'Agence Rwandaise d'Information (ARI).
Cette rescapée qui a témoigné derrière les rideaux fait partie des Tutsi qui s'étaient réfugiés dans le camp de Nyarushishi (ex-Préfecture de Cyangugu). A leur arrivée au camp de Nyarushishi, les soldats français ont consacré les trois premiers jours à l'identification des tentes qui abritaient les filles et femmes tutsi.
«A la tombée de la nuit, les Français saisissaient les femmes tutsi et les conduisaient dans leurs tentes. Je n'étais pas seule. Nous étions nombreuses. Arrivées dans leurs tentes, ils nous donnaient à boire ou à fumer, il nous photographiaient, après ils nous ôtaient les habits et nous étions par la suite violées », a-t-elle témoigné.
« Ils nous disaient qu'ils allaient montrer les photos prises à leurs femmes restées en Europe pour qu'elles voient la différence entre elles et les femmes tutsi », a-t-elle dit. Cette rescapée dit que les Français ont fait d'elle leur esclave sexuelle au point d'être violée par un groupe de quatre soldats au même moment. Elle était libérée le matin après que plusieurs groupes se soient relayés.
Ceci se passa durant toute la période au cours de laquelle les soldats français de l'Opération Turquoise sont restés au Camp de Nyarushishi. Cette rescapée a finalement attrapé une grossesse des soldats français. Cependant, elle avorta à cause des infections dans ses appareils génitaux parce qu'elle continuait d être violée.
Depuis le début de la deuxième phase des auditions publiques, aucune réaction n'est jusqu'ici venue de Paris, qui dément toute exaction de ses soldats au cours des trois mois du génocide qui se soldèrent par la mort de plus d'un million des Tutsis.
La France, qui avait envoyé des troupes au Rwanda dans le cadre de l'Opération "Turquoise" approuvée par l'ONU, nie toute implication et affirme que cette Opération a empêché un génocide total au Rwanda. (Fin).
ARI-RNA/ Gen./ D.M/ 13. 12. 06/ 12 : 50 GMT
French soldiers in Zone-Turquoise raped girls and aided rape by militias
Kigali, December 13th (RNA) – Anonymous Witnesses X - a former Bourgumestre in the former Gikongoro province and XI – a Tutsi woman survivor, have authoritatively confirmed the long existing information that French soldiers raped women and provided the rampaging interahamwe militia with Tutsi females to be gruesomely raped in the infamous Zone Turquoise, RNA has established.
Testifying before the Mucyo commission probing French complicity in the inhumane acts that characterised the Tutsi Genocide in Rwanda, a former bourgumestre (Mayor) of Karama Commune, said the French arrived in Gikongoro in June 1994 - established at SOS-Gikongoro (Orphanage) – as General headquarters. Then at Karama, became second headquarters with up to 40 soldiers holed up in a fenced compound.
According to the Bourgumestre, cases of rape he witnessed happened at the Karama headquarters. Where villagers would come over looking at french soldiers out of curiosity. Apparently, french soldiers picked "nice" girls among the curious villagers and raped them from the trenches in broad daylight.
"Am sorry to say this. …but…the girls were mounted from the rear", the Bourgumestre said, however was cut short by commission head – Mucyo - as he (Witness) was preparing to name some of the women who were gruesomely raped by the french soldiers.
Commission protocol requires that such evidence involving names of abused victims be not mentioned publicly as that could jeopardise their security.
According to the witness, at the same Karama headquarters, Tutsi women and girls were brought in from Kaduha hill and numerous areas as they hid – the "nice" ones would be kept and "used" as maids – and the rest would be sent to the SOS general headquarters and others would "disappear".
The correlation comes in a case for Witness XI (Tutsi lady) who testified behind closed-curtains in a bitterly emotional session. As she narrated her ordeal, some among the audience and commissions alike held back tears.
The "Tutsi" lady said she had come from Kigali looking for her children, who had been brought to Gikongoro by the "person" who had promised to flee with them as she (Witness) hid in Ndera (Kigali).
The RPF rebels based between Butare, Gitarama and Gikongoro facilitated her entry into the now french Zone with the help of another man who had returned to find his family - but on condition that they returned together. The man left her in Gikongoro town, she was discovered by the Interahamwe – but handed over to the french soldiers in a nearby bar.
She explained her problem to the french soldiers who offered to help her recover her children. She was taken to french headquarters and offered accommodation – but as she narrated, that was just the beginning of her ordeal of abuse.
"At night I was raped by a merciless militia in a room that French soldiers had given me to sleep – when I tried to flee – the french soldier kicked me very hard - I fell down in pain – the militia roughed me and raped me as the young french soldier looked on in amusement.", she narrated with difficulty, often breaking-down.
"The bitter thing about my experience is that it is the french soldiers who received me and now they were standing their looking on as I was being abused by the militia – not… only…that but…I…. feel. …raged with anger and bitterness…that such people (french soldiers)…may never face justice", she said amidst dead silence as everybody was grappling with emotion.
As the Bourgumestre described, french soldiers dug up military trenches all around the Karama headquarters as defences in preparation for any RPF rebel attack because the rebels were in the areas between Butare – Gitarama and Gikongoro.
According to him, all Bourgumestres of Gikongoro were summoned July 3 1994 by one French Col. Jacques who gave them lines of duty that involved mobilising all Hutus in their communes to single out "enemies" and make sure all were "finished". "He told us 'tuer tous les énemies'", the former local mayor said in a mixture of Kinyarwanda and French.
And indeed, as the former administrator affirmed it, "we (Bourgumestres) made sure all Tutsis discovered on roadblocks and all the surrounding villages by the interahamwe were killed. The french would move around supervising as they asked 'any enemies still roaming' – and the interahamwe would respond - 'we have finished them of all'…"
Queried about the signs used to identify Tutsis, the Bourgumestre said the French commanding officer - "the Colonel" – told them at all the meetings they (Bourgumestres) held with him – that they were to look at shoulders of all those passing through the roadblocks for marks of a gun-belt or look at their feet for marks indicative they had won gum-boots - in addition to the I.Ds that had "Tutsi".
According to the witness, the french colonel said; "all Tutsis have used guns before and won gum-boot" – so apparently, looking at their shoulders and feet would be the practical sign of singling them out.
Meanwhile as for the Gikongoro Bourgumestre earlier, put to task to come up with names of some french officers and soldiers - since they had "worked together", he said he could only recognise them if he had their photos. And eventually he made the most stunning revelation.
After the Genocide and war, around 1995, as he explained, a French NGO 'Action International Contre la Fain' (AICF) – brought the same french soldiers back as drivers for the NGO trucks and other vehicles – "this time as aid workers".
"I recognised some of them….I tried to talked to one but he ignored me…. and ofcourse I had nothing to do", the former administrator, in glasses and speaking with marked respect for the commission, said as he over and over again repeated "thank you President of the Commission.
It is the first time that such information has come to light. The NGO was among the many aid agencies expelled from Rwanda during the proceeding years on various accusations.
In correlation with previous witnesses, at onetime in SOS-Gikongoro compound, the Bourgumestre said he asked a french officer where they were taking tortured near-dead Tutsis in helicopters - he was told that they were dumped over-flight in Nyungwe forest.
"He (french officer) told me that they (soldiers) do not have the time to burry the victims around there and so it was better to dump them (victims) in Nyungwe. Not only so but there would be no need to kill them (Victims)
"…that is why they were vigorously torturing Tutsis - tying them up with ropes – hands to the back (kandoya) – covering them with sacks – thrown into helicopters and taken away….", he told the commission.
The Bourgumestre, who read from a prepared document, narrated for about an hour before he was questioned on various aspects for which he repeatedly affirmed - "I saw all that I have told u because I was there."
Interestingly, in all the meetings the french "Colonel" summoned for Bourgumestres, Gikongoro Prefect (governor) Rucyibaruta Laurent was present but "never" spoke or "did anything" – and Witness X revealed, that he was flown away with his family by the French and "could have been taken to France".
The indication probably is that, like similar senior government officials of his calibre, and as an insider – he could have been aware of the entire genocidal plan. And as the Witness was told about Nyungwe victims, the French wanted to "clean up" any evidence of their involvement in the massacres.
Gikongoro prefecture was part of the UN authorised "humanitarian cordon" that would be controlled by the French - termed the Zone Turquoise covering the western prefectures of Kibuye, Gikongoro and Cyangugu. The buffer zone became a protectorate for the genocidal Government, retreating ex-FAR and fleeing interahamwe. (End)
ARI-RNA/Gen./FMW/13.12.06/12 :50 GMT
Rwanda News Agency