Arusha, 26 September 2007 (FH) - The Rwandan army in 1994 was badly organized, badly trained and not really controllable, "they were primarily cannon fodder" affirmed Tuesday the Belgian historian Filip Reyntjens while testifying before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).   

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This army which counted 8 000 men in 1990, before the attack of the RPF in the north of the country, had 40 000 in 1994; pointed out Filip Reyntjens, an expert witness called to support the defence of Joseph Kanyabashi, the former mayor of Ngoma in the Butare prefecture. He has been on trial since june 2001 alongside with five others from that area.
"The military budget, which was formerly one of the lowest in Africa, heavily weighed on the economy starting in this period", explained Rejntyens. The growth of military expenditures also weighed heavily on the command level, he explained, citing the case of sub-lieutenant appointed major in the absence of an officer likely to occupy that position.
"These people were not trained, they were essentially cannon fodder which could not match an excellent infantry which advanced between 30 and 40 kilometres per day with weapons and luggage" he explained.
"The soldiers with permission returned to their premises with their weapons, their ammunition and their grenades", he described it, admitting that that had resulted in many exactions. According to his report, cited by a lawyer, many permissions were "semi-official" and the number of deserters was important.

© Hirondelle News Agency