Rwandan claims French troops gang-raped her

13th December 2006, Comments 0 comments

KIGALI, Dec 13, 2006 (AFP) - A female survivor of Rwanda's 1994 genocide on Wednesday told a panel probing alleged French complicity in the massacres that French troops had gang-raped her and others multiple times.

KIGALI, Dec 13, 2006 (AFP) - A female survivor of Rwanda's 1994 genocide on Wednesday told a panel probing alleged French complicity in the massacres that French troops had gang-raped her and others multiple times.

Testifying before a government-appointed inquiry commission, she recounted in graphic detail the alleged abuse by French soldiers deployed to Rwanda during the genocide on a humanitarian mission.

Between emotional breakdowns, the woman, identified only as "witness three on day three" and speaking from behind a wooden screen, said she and other minority Tutsi women had been subjected to horrendous sexual violence.

She said she was one of many who had been taken by French troops, including a colonel, from a refugee camp near a French military base in the province of Gikongoro in southwest Rwanda.

"One would insert his penis in my mouth, another one would enter my private parts while a third one caressed my breasts," she said, adding that the rapes also involved anal intercourse. "They forced me to drink liquor and smoke."

"I left the French camp early morning together with other girls from my refugee camp who were being raped there, too," she said.

Another protected female witness testified that she had been raped by a

Rwandan employed by the French in the presence of a French soldier.

"I thought he would save me," the woman said.

The women's testimony followed that of the former mayor of Karama district, where French troops had one of their camps, who described the atmosphere there as "scandalous beyond imagination".

"I saw them bring into their rooms young Tutsi refugees who had run away from militias," the mayor said, adding that he had seen this "many times" as he had regularly worked in the camp as an interpreter for French military officials.

Rwanda accuses France of backing government soldiers and extremist Hutu militia responsible for the killings of about 800,0000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus during the genocide.

France backed the Hutu-led government of the late Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana, whose assassination triggered the genocide, against Tutsi rebels headed by now President Paul Kagame.

France denies any culpability in the genocide and says its troops instead helped save Tutsis by running the UN-endorsed "Turquoise" mission.

But seething anger over an alleged French role and allegations by a French

judge against Kagame and current senior Rwandan officials in Habyarimana's death led Kigali last month to sever diplomatic relations with Paris.

The inquiry panel, which wrapped up initial public hearings in October, resumed open sessions Monday in its bid to determine if there is enough evidence to file suit against France for damages at the world court.

In its first two sessions, the panel heard from ex-militia men who claimed French troops had transported them to Tutsis refugee hideouts so they could kill them.

Meanwhile, Belgian hotelier Michel Campion told the panel that he had seen

French soldiers manning a roadblock on the outskirts of Kigali trying to force a young Tutsi boy out of his car merely because of his ethnicity.

"I had given this boy from the university a lift in my car when we came across the French soldiers close to river Nyabarongo," he said, adding that he had refused to leave without the boy.

"I was even more surprised because there were no Rwandan troops nearby to put pressure on them," Campion said of the French. "They only looked at his identity card and saw the word 'Tutsi'. They were acting exactly like government soldiers."

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

 

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