The mockery of it all!
Some of those who formed the disgraceful 1994 Opération Turquoise recently congratulating themselves over a job well done? At a time that their leadership has seen better to turn the page and embrace productive, collaborative engagement with Rwanda?
No doubt, for their shame, they are trying to twist a knife in the wounds of genocide survivors.
Otherwise, what’s to celebrate? We know, as they do, that this is only trying to sanitise their past shame. An effort in futility, especially that some of them are boldly coming out to expose the true genocidal motive of l’Opération.
Turquoise was a last ditch effort to salvage a genocidal regime. Happily, it came to nought, as it was doomed to.
Their adversary’s courage, focus, charisma and swiftness in defence of the truth could not succumb to defeat. With strong, far-sighted and methodical leadership, triumph was certain.
But we are ‘overshooting’ ourselves. Let’s start with the beginning.
Seeing that its protégée of a long time, albeit a genocidal regime, was facing eminent defeat, the then-government of France moved to launch a massive rescue set-up. It had materially, diplomatically and physically backed the Habyarimana regime against the RPF/A liberation struggle from its onset, on October 1, 1990.
A defeat of the regime, therefore, would be the defeat of mighty France – an abomination.
So, on June 22, 1994, it secured U.N. Security Council approval to launch what it termed a “humanitarian operation” in two days flat (being UNSC member), no usual lengthy debates. Thus, the then-government immediately put its ‘tools’ together.
The ‘tools’: 2,500 troops equipped with 100 APCs, 10 helicopters, a battery of 120mm mortars, 4 Jaguar fighter bombers, 8 Mirage fighters and reconnaissance aircraft.
Luckily, the government had then-Zaïre (D.R. Congo) on its side. Else, where would this humungous “humanitarian” material have been offloaded? Still, the bombers, wouldn’t they overshoot tiny Rwanda and ‘scorch-earth’ all of East Africa and the vast Indian Ocean?
And, indeed, the scorched-earth accomplishment was the intended assistance to the regime. Which, mind you, the UNSC was not exactly unaware of when granting the approval.
But it was a scorched-earth policy of a different kind.
Earlier, in Paris where Commander Paul Kagame of RPF’s liberation wing, RPA, had been ‘summoned’ for ‘consultations’, the warning’d been impressed upon him in no uncertain terms.
The strong warning conveyed through low-ranking government officials: “Stop your nonsense of a struggle or else we shall wipe out your people inside Rwanda!” Bemused, he asked: “All Rwandans are my people, which of them are you protecting and which, your pet aversion?” For that ‘impudence’, he was thrown into detention for a day, then unceremoniously sent off.
That was 1992. Now it was June 1994.
The humungous Turquoise force camped in the western axis of Rwanda. It was not going to carry out the threat of only obliterating “his people” but also bomb all the RPF members out of their liberated zones on Rwandan soil.
The then-government had to protect “its people.” A section of Rwandans were “its people” and to hell with the other section!
However, before launching the mother of all attacks, the Turquoise commanders sent out a reconnaissance team to detect the position of the RPA frontline, anticipating it to be around Kigali. The team was in such war gear as could have scared Satan out of his Hell!
Hardly had they reached the Butare environs, 80km south of Kigali, than they were confronted by a barely clothed RPA youth, astride in the road. His hand was up, as a call for a halt.
When one of the Turquoise soldiers made to dismount his jeep and disdainfully kick the RPA ‘cockroach’ off the road, the team in-charge screamed: “Cédez!”
He’d frozen. The grass on all the hills around had come alive with gun-muzzles. They were bang in the middle of an ambush!
The rest, as the cliché goes, is history.
History of humiliation of how this group was let off the hook scot free, with a message to go tell their commanders, and commanders tell their superiors, to leave Rwanda to Rwandans.
And, yes, they did, when they packed everything and settled across, in Zaïre.
But not before looking the other way, or in some cases assisting, as the retreating génocidaires and army continued their genocidal enterprise in all of Zone Turquoise.
Cases are innumerable.
One example: Bisesero. While the hunted braves had put up a spirited defence and somehow successfully fended off the génocidaires, they came out of their hiding on hearing of the arrival of the “humanitarian French force”. The Turquoise detach left them high and dry and, practically to a man/woman, they were mopped up.
Another: the agonising case of a teen girl in a Turquoise soldier’s tent, in the Cyangugu stadium. The brute repeatedly raped her for all the time he was there, till he left her for dead. She sorely managed to crawl away and meet a kind old woman who nursed her totally ruined body, in her house. Alas, the nursing was not successful.
Now tell me, sane of this world, what kind of Lucifers dare celebrate this shame?