Author-card of document number 13130

Monday April 11, 1994
French evacuation from Rwanda virtually complete
Identifier (cote)
Public records
Dépêche d'agence
PARIS, April 11 (Reuter) - France has evacuated most of its nationals
from Rwanda and will decide later on Monday when to pull its troops out
of the war-torn central African country, the foreign ministry said.

Ministry spokesman Richard Duque told reporters that 620 French people
had left Rwanda, most of them aboard French military planes.

There are still some French people there, and we are helping
foreigners in difficulty in Kigali,
Duque said.

Senegal's President Abdou Diouf, on an official visit to Paris, asked
France to evacuate 15 Senegalese with the United Nations peacekeeping

Among some 30 French nationals left in Rwanda were a few isolated
tourists stranded in areas of fighting which could only be reached by
helicopter and religious workers who had chosen to stay.

Duque said the 500 French soldiers were in Rwanda on a strictly
humanitarian mission and Paris would decide later in the day when to
pull them out.

France has said its soldiers will not intervene in the fighting and
will leave as soon as Westerners have been evacuated.

But Duque said the French embassy was still operating and that France
was ready to contribute if necessary to talks between the rival forces
in Rwanda.

Western nations rushed to get their nationals out of Rwanda after an
orgy of tribal violence unleashed by the killing of President Juvenal
Habyarimana last week.

The troops involved in France's rescue operation, codenamed
Amaryllis, did not take helicopters to Rwanda. They have been using
five Transall C-160 transport planes flown in from France, Bangui,
N'Djamena and Libreville for the evacuation.

The defence ministry said the soldiers used rubbish trucks to drive to
an orphanage run by French nuns 10 km (six miles) from Kigali and
rescue 100 children.

Some of the children, in the process of being adopted by families in
France, were due in Paris later in the day.

Some of them have seen war two or three times. They have seen many
a priest accompanying them told French radio.

A first group of 43 French citizens evacuated from Kigali arrived at
Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris late on Sunday.

Wrapped in green airline blankets, some said they remained holed up at
home in terror through the fighting until French soldiers arrived and
took them to Kigali airport.

Others said the Westerners' neighbourhoods were spared and they did not
witness any violence. They kept in touch through a radio network set up
by the French embassy after tribal clashes in the city four years ago.

Some prominent Rwandans took refuge at the French embassy and
Cooperation Minister Michel Roussin said they would be protected.

Rwanda's ambassador in Paris appealed for massive help for people
affected by the fighting, but said that calm was gradually returning to

The forces of order are firmly neutralising the last groups of
pillagers and other criminals,
ambassador Jean-Marie Vianney
Ndagijimana said in a statement.

Nathalie Feuillet, a doctor in Kigali with Medecins Sans Frontieres,
told France-Info radio the charity was evacuating all serious
casualties because surgeons could not operate.

She said the main hospital was a big charnel-house with many, many
dead and a few patients, some 50 or so. Most of them are very seriously
injured and cannot wait for surgery.

(c) Reuters Limited 1994

fgtquery v.1.9, February 9, 2024