French soldiers 'trained Rwandan militias'

22nd April 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 22 (AFP) - French soldiers trained Rwandan civilian militias in the two years leading up to the 1994 genocide, an officer in the French gendarmerie said Friday, contradicting persistent denials from the Paris government.

PARIS, April 22 (AFP) - French soldiers trained Rwandan civilian militias in the two years leading up to the 1994 genocide, an officer in the French gendarmerie said Friday, contradicting persistent denials from the Paris government.

"I saw French soldiers giving fire-arms training to civilian Rwandan militiamen in 1992. There were about 30 militiamen being trained. I am absolutely categoric about this. I saw them and that is all there is to it," said Thierry Prungnaud.

"They must have been militiamen because the soldiers used to go around in fatigues and these were civilians," said Prungnaud, who was in Rwanda in 1992 on a training programme for the presidential guard.

"It must have gone on till 1994. It didn't shock me - after all I didn't see how it all turned out. It just seemed normal," he said.

Prungnaud, a former sergeant in the National Gendarmerie Intervention Group (GIGN), was speaking in an interview on France-Culture radio.

He said the training took place in a sparsely populated area of the country in La Kagera park.

The government in Kigali accuses France of training Hutu militias in Rwanda as the Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front mounted an insurrection from neighbouring Uganda.

Hutu extremists went on to kill some 800,000 people in the genocide.

Successive French governments have denied the allegation.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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