A French military advisor to the government of Juvenal Habyarimana has given yet more light into a campaign in which several government critics died under mysterious circumstances.
Under intense international pressure to allow dissident voices inside Rwanda, ex-president Habyarimana opened the political environment around late 1991. But then vocal opponents began to disappear.
On February 21, 1992, Public Works Minister, Felicien Gatabazi, was killed by gunmen as he drove from a political rally. Gatabazi had been a vocal critic of Habyarimana’s refusal to allow refugees return from Uganda.
In the months that followed up until the early days of the 1994 genocide against Tutsis, politicians were targeted.
Rtd. Col. Michel Robardey, who served in Rwanda from1990-1993,has now gone public.
He was among three highest ranking officers of the infamous ‘Military Assistance Detachment and Instruction’ (DAMI), which trained the Rwandan army at the time and helped prepare civilian militias, which were instrumental in executing the genocide.
Col. Robardey reveals thatclandestine meetings chaired by president Habyarimana took placewith intent to eliminate all his opponents.
A strategy was also devised in which the same killings would be blamed on the Rwanda Patriotic Front rebels, writes the French officer on his blog.
Col. Robardey says the information he is confirming was first revealed by journalist Janvier Afrika. The journalist would be targeted and at some point imprisoned in March 1993.
Robardey says around 50 deadly mine attackswere planted in several areas around Rwanda,which killed hundreds of people between 1991 and 1993.
Why is Rtd. Col. Michel Robardey eventually cleansing himself now?
He probably has no choice but to clear his name after late last year, the Rwanda National Commission against Genocide (CNLG) mentioned him among top French national to have been brains behind the mass killing of Tutsis as early as 1992.
He reportedly worked alongside General Jacques Hogard and General Jacques Hogard, Jean-Claude La Fourcade and Jacques Rosier.
That time, DAMI was the brain of the Rwandan military during 1992-93 when several massacres took place away from public knowledge. The campaign was initiated in a slow motion massacre to exterminate Tutsis.
DAMI had its headquarters in military camps of Gabiro, Mukamira; Bigogwe, Nyakinama university campus and Gako Military camp in Bugesera. These camps were directly under Col. Theoneste Bagosora – currently serving decades in jail for genocide.
Col. Robardey writes that President Habyarimana bares major responsibility for the Genocide that wiped more than a million Tutsis in Rwanda.
And this was helped by a strong partnership between Habyarimana regime and French government, according to Col. Robardey.
By April 1994, the Rwandan army had intensified military and ideological training of civilian Interahamwe in the military camps identified.Col. Robardey and his colleagues were the supervisors as part of DAMI.
Col. Michel Robardey was also advisor to the criminal rsearch centre and documentation of the Rwandan gendarmerie – commonly called at the time as “Criminologie”.
He was responsible for coordination of data compilation activities concerning people to hunt and kill, Tutsis being main targets.
During the 100-day genocide; local militiamen (Interahamwe) had lists of Tutsis they had to slaughter.
The infamous RTLM hate radio broadcast played its role on identifying and announcing some of the key targets, and neighbourhoods where Tutsis were supposedly hiding.
Reading between the lines of the former French Military Expert’s onset opinion, it is concluded that by August 1994, France was devotedly providing financial resources to the perpetrators of the genocide.
Whilst the genocide against Tutsi was at its peak; the National Bank of Paris (BNP-Paribas) honored the settlement of several deliveries of arms contracts.
France ensured the supply of arms, ammunition and equipment to the Rwandan Armed Forces (Genocide regime) to organize and systematically execute all Tutsis.