France provided arms to government of Juvenal Habyarimana to fight off the rebels of the Rwandan Patriotic Front/Army (RPF/A), admits Admiral Jacques Lanxade, French army chief from April 1991-1995.
Admiral Lanxade dismisses as “completely false” the details contained in a book by former French army officer Guillaume Ancel in Rwanda during the genocide, which claims France supplied ammunition before, during and after the genocide to militias in DR Congo.
“It is absolutely right France delivered arms during the the Habyarimana era because at the time they were meant to reinforce the Rwandan army,” says the 84year-old in interview with BBC Afrique aired last night.
He however added: “But after, France never supplied any arms…It makes no sense. The genocide was not executed with arms which we had supplied. We did not in any way support the extremist Hutus [who executed the genocide]. All that is fiction.”
Habyarimana was killed in plane crash on the night of April 6, 1994. The following day, the genocide got underway all across Rwanda implemented by the ‘interim government’ of President Theodore Sindikubwabo.
As reported in our Liberation Day Special Report, a week after October 1, 1990 when RPA invaded Rwanda, Admiral Jacques Lanxade sent arms and commandos to Rwanda. The supplies continued all throughout the war.
Lanxade was Chief of Staff of French Special Forces from April 1989 to April 1991, when he was elevated to full chief of the French army. It suggests, he had the Rwanda dossiers on his desk first hand.
Admiral Lanxade is number one on list of 22 French military officers for whom Rwanda issued criminal summons in November 2016 over their role in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. Even when the move was largely sympbolic as neither of these men would ever be interogated, it piled pressure on the French.
In 1991, Admiral Lanxade paid a visit to Rwanda.
He says in the BBC interview that France was the one which tried to stop the genocide, and that that will be known from the team of experts constituted by President Emmanuel Macron in April this year.
Admiral Lanxade claims that if the US, Britain and Belgium open up their classified documents, France’s true role in Rwanda will come out.