How over 4000 Tutsi were killed as French soldiers looked on

Published by Théophile Niyitegeka
On 12 April 2017 saa 11:46
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The United Nations accepted France request on 22nd June 1994 to send troops in Rwanda, an operation called “Operation Turquoise” meant for intervention and saving people in danger.

However the tide turned wrong as French troops did support the government which executed genocide against Tutsi and helping EX-FAR to flee from RPF –Inkotanyi soldiers that were setting in to stop genocide. Eye witnesses, survivors of the genocide in Bisesero attest.

During the commemoration of the 1994 genocide against Tutsi held in Bisesero on Monday, survivors recalled how they begged French soldiers to rescue them from the hands of Interahamwe and soldiers who had killed over 40,000 people but kept a deaf ear until more 4000 Tutsi were killed within three days.

“We saw French soldiers coming on 27th June 1994. I left the forest in which I was hiding and went to talk to them because I could speak French. We explained what was happening, the indiscriminate killings, but they never listened to us. They asked us to keep hiding as we did before promising to return in three days to our rescue. We insisted for assistance and begged but they did not budge, yet they had all materials to rescue us from enemies,” recalls Eric Nzabihimana, a survivor in Bisesero.

He explained that interahamwe attacked three days later and killed 4000 among 6000 Tutsi after French soldiers had left them in a cumbersome situation.

French soldiers arrived in Rwanda with more than 30 war jets, 2400 soldiers among other military equipment.

French soldiers would leave Bisesero people being killed and supply food to refugees including perpetrators who had fled to Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Minister of Defense, Gen. James Kabarebe highlighted how France had good relations with Habyarimana’s government and provided military support during the liberation war but were defeated as they defended the indefensible.

“Their plan failed because Rwandans, their efforts, devotion, patriotism, and truth defeated them and fled,” he said.

He explained that France was involved in war and genocide as it kept providing support to defeated government forces in various forms after executing genocide.

Bisesero is located at the Rwanda - Democratic Republic of Congo border. It is known for people of bravery where residents would defend the country against the enemy in case invaded or carrying expeditions beyond borders in the past.

Residents kept such brave spirit during the 1994 genocide against Tutsi where they persevered, resisted killers and used all possible means fighting against the enemy who had enough strength and materiel.

During the 1994 genocide against Tutsi, Bisesero people resisted and fought attackers that no one was killed in April. Unfortunately, bad leadership sent armed Interahamwe troops from Gisenyi, Cyangugu which attacked and killed them.

Today, Bisesero has experienced development facilities including electricity, schools, safe water and health centers among others.

Some Bisesero survivors have advanced their education unlike the past when they were deprived of rights.

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One of eye witnesses, survivors of the genocide in Bisesero.

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Bisesero residents during commemoration of 1994 genocide against Tutsi on Monday.