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< Turning Points

Warnings of Catastrophe: Part III


Documents 6–10: Summaries and Links

Document 6

Date: February 21, 1994
To: [Kofi] Annan, United Nations, New York
From: [Jacques-Roger] Booh-Booh, UNAMIR, Kigali [and UNAMIR commander Roméo Dallaire]
Subject: The Military Situation and Assessment of RGF/RPF Intentions as of 20 Feb 1994

In an analysis of the military situation, Dallaire reports that both the Hutu-dominated Rwandan Government Forces (RGF) and the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) may be preparing to violate the terms of the Arusha peace agreement. He cites evidence of RPF incursions into the demilitarized zone but leaves open the possibility of a provocation by government sympathizers “dressed as RPF.” He warns that time is “running out for political discussions” and “any spark on the security side could possibly have catastrophic consequences.”

Document 7 (FrencH) 

Document 7 (English)

Date: February 25, 1994
To: Delbelonu [Belgian delegation to the United Nations]
From: Minafet [Belgian Ministry for Foreign Affairs Chef de Cabinet Lode Willems]
Subject: Warning of “Genocide” in Rwanda

The Belgian foreign ministry expresses alarm at the worsening security situation in Kigali and warns that the failure to strengthen UNAMIR could result in a “new bloodbath.” The Belgian ambassador to the United Nations replies on February 28 that both the United States and the United Kingdom are considering withdrawing the peacekeeping force from Rwanda “in case of difficulties.”

Document 8

Date: March 3, 1994
To: RPF General Paul Kagame
From: UNAMIR Force Commander Roméo Dallaire
Subject: Letter of Protest—Deployment of RPF Troops in Demilitarized Zone and Expulsion of UNAMIR Duty Personnel from the CND [Rwandan parliament building]

Following the upsurge in political violence in mid-February, both sides pushed ahead with plans for renewed military operations. In this message, Dallaire warns RPF commander Paul Kagame against violating the terms of the Arusha peace agreement and conducting military operations in the demilitarized zone in northern Rwanda. 

Document 9

Date: March 7, 1994
To: [Kofi]Annan\DPKO\United Nations\New York
From: [Roméo] Dallaire\UNAMIR\Kigali
Subject: Resupply of Ammunition for Government Army

By early March, Dallaire was complaining of peace agreement violations by both sides. In this message to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) in New York, the UNAMIR commander complains about shipments of ammunition to the Rwandan army through Kigali airport and warns that such supplies could “become an explosive issue.”

Document 10

Date: March 10, 1994
To: [US] Secretary of State
From: US Embassy Brussels
Subject: Foreign Minister Claes’s Interview on His Trip to Rwanda and Burundi and on Situation in Zaire

Interviewed on his return from Rwanda, the Belgian foreign minister expresses deepening pessimism that a political solution can be found. He warns that the country appeared to be heading toward “an almost structural confrontation” between the majority Hutu and minority Tutsi populations.