1994 Genocide: Role by renowned French mercenary Denard revealed

Fresh information shows that renowned French mercenary Robert ‘Bob’ Denard offered his services during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, according to documented evidence put across in a report published by a French organization, Survie.
A French officer oversees the training of Interahamwe militia ahead of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Net.
A French officer oversees the training of Interahamwe militia ahead of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Net.

Fresh information shows that renowned French mercenary Robert ‘Bob’ Denard offered his services during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, according to documented evidence put across in a report published by a French organization, Survie.

The report says that under a false identity, the famous French mercenary dispatched men for certain missions to Rwanda during the Genocide, and these services were paid for by the genocidal regime through the French bank BNP Paribas.

The same bank has been implicated in several reports as having been complicit in the Genocide in which over a million people died.

Denard, who died in October 2007, was a French soldier and mercenary known under aliases “Gilbert Bourgeaud” and “Saïd Mustapha Mahdjoub”.

He was known for having performed various “jobs” in different countries on the African continent in support of Françafrique (France’s sphere of influence in its former colonies in Africa).

These revelations demonstrate once again that the involvement of the French authorities in the Genocide in Rwanda is multifaceted.

According to the explosive report, the mercenary’s services were sought after even in the aftermath of the Genocide, at the time when members of the genocidal regime had crossed into exile in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The organization said that activities of a renowned mercenary, who had been regularly in contact with the French intelligence services throughout his career, include in 1994 on the subject of Rwanda.

Until his death, Denard had never been prosecuted by French justice and his role has never been clarified.

This information thus confirms the need to shed light on what the French state knew and decided to do before, during and after the Genocide, according to an institutional functioning which, for the most part, is still at work, according to Survi.

For Survie, an association mobilised against Françafrique, the demand for truth and justice is therefore coupled with a need to change current French constitutional laws and provisions that allow such abuses and impunity.

One of the key documents in this report is a letter dated September 13, 1994 to the Prime Minister of the genocidal government, Jean Kambanda, who was at the time based in Bukavu, a town in the east of DRC.

In the letter, the former Minister of Defence of the genocidal regime, Augustin Bizimana, talks about acquisition of technical assistance for French operatives in their quest to infiltrate back into the country.

That contract signed between an individual calling himself Robert B Martin was worth $300,000 and sought to deploy “eight expatriate executives” to the then Zaire (now DRC) responsible for training “our people to collect and exploit intelligence in the enemy ranks,” says the letter.

The report indicate that Bizimana, a fugitive of the Genocide who is still at large, later held a meeting in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, with representatives of the mercenary group during which they agreed to contact the then government of Zaire to identify a training camp in which the drills would be conducted.

His involvement dates back to the genocide period, according to the NGO which produces, among others, a handwritten note from the same minister requesting for the appointment for a Robert B Martin from June 18.

There is also a receipt dated July 5, 1994 signed by the same Robert Bernard Martin for a check from the Ministry of Defence amounting to more than one million francs.

Relations between Rwanda and France have been strained since the end of the Genocide. In 2016, Rwanda published a list of 22 senior French military officers accused of helping to plan and carry out the killings.

In September last year, France’s public prosecutor opened an investigation into allegations that BNP Paribas transferred more than $1.3m of funds that were ultimately used to finance the purchase of 80 tonnes of weapons used in the Genocide.

Later in December, the Government of Rwanda published a report that it had commissioned from a US law firm indicating that France helped arm and protect the perpetrators of Genocide before, during and after the massacres.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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