RE: “Why France clings on the plane” (The New Times, October 17).
Even if we were to accept the farfetched theory that there is any causative relationship between the shooting down of the Habyarimana plane and the Genocide against the Tutsi, how would the RPA have known about the flight details of that specific airplane well in advance in order to preposition a ground-to-air missile team in the right spot on the flight path in the middle of enemy territory in order to have a chance at the perfect trajectory to bring the aircraft down?
Contrary to Jean-Louis Bruguière’s fiction, Masaka, which is right under the flight path of any aircraft about to land at Kigali International Airport, was a stronghold of Habyarimana’s Gardes Presidentielles during the war years.
In April 1994, any strange people, such as an RPF missile team and their launchers and equipment, would have stood out like sore thumbs and been apprehended or neutralised very quickly.
It is also important to underline one other fact that the French political agent-cum-judge feigns to ignore because it also does not fit his predetermined scenario.
Information about the displacement of a head of state and commander-in-chief of a country in the throes of a civil war are not given out to all and sundry, but only to those with an imperative need to know; for instance, his own senior commanders and heads of security as well as their French allies and defacto commanders.
The RPA might have known that Habyarimana had traveled to Dar es Salaam and would be flying back sometime within a wide band of time, but — unlike Habyarimana’s security people and their French allies and friends, such as Paul Barril — they had no way of being privy to his flight plans in order to organise any missile attack, even assuming such an operation could be carried out from deep within a highly sensitive and well-patrolled enemy territory.
There is also the well-known sequence of events, including the dimming of the airport landing lights just before the missiles were fired at the aircraft, probably with the aim of making the aircraft easier to see in the darkness of night. Only those in control of the airport — Habyarimana’s own Presidential Guard — would have been able to do that.
And, of course, not surprisingly, the actual ballistic investigation by French experts commissioned by Judge Marc Trévidic concluded that the missiles were in fact fired from Kanombe barracks, at the time a stronghold of Habyarimana’s Presidential Guard and their French allies.
Thus, the continuous French attempts at misdirection, using all manner of subterfuges and Rwandan dissidents who, according to ‘testimonies’ helpfully cooked up for them by French ‘intelligence’/political judges were nowhere close to the locations of the events they are so ready to testify about, but who were allegedly informed about them by an uncharacteristically boastfully voluble General Kagame, would be so risible if the issue they were trying to divert us from — France’s active role in the Genocide against the Tutsi — was not exceptionally serious.
Be that as it may, the French might do well to learn from what President Paul Kagame has told them: Les faits sont vraiment têtus!