French Troops Advance Through Rural Rwanda
A CONVOY of French troops rolled across the Rwandan border yesterday as ``Operation Turquoise'' spread southwest through the country.
The convoy of 13 jeeps and two trucks, carrying paratroopers, antitank missiles, and machine guns, is the first major arrival since a contingent of 200 French troops crossed over three days ago. The troops came from Bukavu, a Zairean town on the southern banks of Lake Kivu, where France has set up one of the three major bases for Operation Turquoise.
Other French troops are driving into Rwanda on the north side of Lake Kivu after crossing over from their second major logistics base at the Zairean town of Goma Saturday.
Since setting up base at the refugee camp of Nyarushishi, where 8,000 Tutsis have been under threat from local Hutus, the paratroopers have been sending patrols north, east, and south from Cyangugu. They are trying to locate Tutsi communities in danger, while cracking down on the Hutu militias terrorizing the region. Ethnic massacres have devastated many parts of the country since April, after the Rwandan president was killed.
In the town of Cyangugu, Hutu Bishop Ghaddee Ntihinyurwa says that only 10,000 of the original 55,000 Tutsis living in the district are left - and of 45,000 who disappeared, at least half probably were killed. UN aborts rescue of orphans
THE UN yesterday put off an attempt to rescue a group of unaccompanied children among 30,000 civilians it says are trapped by civil war in Rwanda's capital of Kigali.
After several days of intense fighting, Kigali was silent for much of the night. The United Nations said it postponed plans to evacuate about 200 trapped Tutsis - mostly children - after failing to win guarantees of safe passage.
The UN said yesterday that most of the trapped civilians were Tutsis caught behind government lines. ``Altogether there are about 25,000 on the government side,'' UN Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) spokesman Maj. Jean-Guy Plante told reporters. He said an estimated 5,200 were in UN-guarded centers in city territory controlled by the rebel Rwanda Patriotic Front.
UNAMIR had to abort an attempt to truck the children out of St. Michel Cathedral on the government side and take a similar number of people out of rebel lines Saturday after both sides violated a temporary truce.
The largest concentration of Tutsis on the government side is in the St. Famille church complex, where 8,000 people are surrounded by Hutu militias. The militias allegedly killed 60 boys they dragged out of St. Famille on June 11, sparking international outrage and French intervention.