Rwanda: by secret negotiations with France, Paul Kagame has granted the creation of the Zone Turquoise in 1994!
The World-Africa publishes good stories from the book of Jean-Pierre and Pascal Bat Airault French Africa. covert operations and affairs of state. Back on the secret negotiations conducted by Jean-Christophe Rufin and Gérard Prunier from RPF Kagame.
Returning from a mission for the release of hostages in Bosnia humanitarian, Jean-Christophe Rufin, then advisor to the defense minister Francois Leotard, goes directly to the Hotel de Brienne, his ministry. A military – probably General Mercier, head of the military office of the Minister – the apostrophe in the corridors, “You do not want to go to Rwanda. It is not clear what our Brussels Contact RPF forward to his leadership in the field. ”
At the beginning of July 1994, France is in full cohabitation when a genocide is underway in Rwanda. Command the forces of Special Operations (COS) were deployed in Butare (Western Canada) as part of the “Turquoise” operation. Clashes have just taken place with the rebels. Officially, the mission of the two emissaries is to install a direct link between Paul Kagame and the French military, as well as negotiate the establishment of a humanitarian zone.
Two French envoys to the Rwandan hills
Initially hesitant, Jean-Christophe Rufin lets finally convinced after getting permission to take a specialist in the Great Lakes region. He naturally thinks of his friend CNRS, University Gérard Prunier. This historian has advised a few days earlier, the French military recommending them to deploy the “Turquoise” operation in the southwest of the country, where the threatened Tutsi were, rather than northwest, where were gathered remains of the army of Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, in order not to appear as the saviors of the Hutu genocidal regime.
The mission is validated ex tempore by Edouard Balladur, then Prime Minister of cohabitation, and Francois Leotard. “Without even changing me, I went to look Prunier his apartment above the [restaurant] Trotter, the Halles,” said Rufin. Branch Airport. The two emissaries boarded July 2, 1994 for a flight to Brussels, where they rallied Kampala, Uganda, with Sabena. Once there, they rent a van to go to the Rwandan border.
The bus will make the soul on the slopes of the Ruwenzori Mountains. “With my one small linen jacket carried in Bosnia, I’m frozen to the mountains,” recalls the writer. Another vehicle is sent the next morning by the renter. It will introduce them to the Rwandan border, where they intersect Patricia Allemonière, reporter for TF1. The two men will do the rest of the way by car, crossing the rebels dams, to the headquarters of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), in Mulindi.
The welcome is not warm. “What you just fuck it! All our heads are in operation, “their address, by way of welcome, the manager of the place. “We are the representatives of the French government and just explain the official point of view”, say the two emissaries. “It’s amazing that they send us another Jean-Christophe!” Retorted when they host Rwanda in reference to Jean-Christophe Mitterrand, former Africa adviser to his father very unpopular for his support to the Habyarimana regime . Their host was Pasteur Bizimungu, a Hutu who joined the RPF and become President of Rwanda, July 19, 1994, before Kagame became vice president, not the hunting of power in 2000.
The three men will discuss some of the night after a brief meal to white rice. In the morning, a 4×4 takes them to an unknown destination. “Bizimungu told us the story of his family. It was terribly impressive. We borrow pits and winding paths regularly crossing small groups of soldiers and haggard displaced, terrorized, ragged. ”
Mission stale and shortened
On July 4, in the late morning, they enter Kigali, every just taken by the RPF. Sporadic gunfire are heard again. They are taken to a barracks with orders do not move until we see the “head”. At the stroke of 16:30, Paul Kagame arises, cold, penetrating gaze.
Steeped in the culture of the National Resistance Army in Uganda, itself inherited from the Maoist ideology, it is “not the kind of guy who says” Hi boss’. ” Rufin talking to him with deference. “Night was falling and his entourage dared not turn for fear of disturbing the lamp, he recalls. I gave him a map of our operations and a list of weapons that we would deploy. ”
France then mandated to create a humanitarian area in the southwest and the emissaries are there to set up a hotline to avoid clashes with the RPF troops. Paul Kagame is now very suspicious, thinking the “Turquoise” operation intended to prevent it from taking control of the country: “If you want to save lives, let us deploy us throughout the territory,” intimate -t it.
In this shadow theater where plays daily life of the people and soldiers, Rufin finally convince someone to deploy a brand Immersat satellite phone for a first contact. He called General Lafourcade, commander of the operation “Turquoise”, it passes Kagame. Through this link, the deployment of safe humanitarian zone will be no military confrontation between the RPF and the French troops.
In the evening, a villa is made available emissaries. The next morning, Kagame is back and offers Rufin to follow. The rebel says that he is very annoyed because four French journalists were ambushed by driving his men. Two of them were injured. Isabelle Staes was shot in the stomach and José Nicolas another in the knee. ” You are a doctor. Did you go see them? How can we evacuate? “Asked the rebel leader. Journalists are then taken to the stadium in Kigali. Other colleagues are on the scene. Rufin-Prunier mission is then immediately revealed.
Mitterand, Museveni and sulfur Paul Barril
In Paris, Dominique de Villepin, cabinet director Alain Juppe, the foreign minister, into a rage. Juppe received on 21 June, Jacques Bihozagara, the RPF representative in Europe, and Theogene Rudasingwa, an intellectual close to Kagame. He will not be dispossessed of the dossier. According to La Lettre du Continent, head of the DGSE, Jacques Dewatre, also came to complain to his “brother”, the Lanxade Admiral, Chief of Staff of the armies, saying that such an operation was the spring of services and not the Directorate of military intelligence (DRM).
The two envoys are repatriated on the spot. Several journalists will discuss negotiations for the release of COS soldiers. Information always denied by the applicants, who regret having been called “spooks” once fanned their mission. The Elysee is not happy either not to have been informed.
For two years, France Mitterrand tried to block the progression of the RPF it sees as an Anglo-Saxon attempt to strengthen its influence in the region. Bruno Delaye, Africa advisor to the President, tries an ultimate reconciliation with the sponsor of the rebel RPF, Yoweri Museveni, whom he met on 30 June in London.
In the past, the Ugandan president unsuccessfully sought in exchange for his intervention to restrain the rebels military aid (including surface to air missiles) to the South Sudanese rebel leader John Garang, which he uses as a bulwark to progression of Arabic influence. Received at the Elysée on July 1, Museveni Mitterrand asks: “Who brought down Habyarimana’s plane? “The French president is not responding and slides on the mission set by” Operation Turquoise “and fears of clashes with rebels of the RPF.
Museveni also wants clarification on the role of Paul Barril, military advisor to the Habyarimana regime. Mitterrand pretended not to know him and said “do not trust him.” “He retired from the army, assigned by the President. It is a mercenary. He never worked for the Elysee. “Clap end. Museveni will not hold Kagame however concede that the creation of the humanitarian area to avoid clashes with the French.