Rwanda orders France out after charge
As a 72-hour deadline for the French embassy and the French school to close their operations in Kigali neared, authorities also ordered Radio France International to halt its local broadcasts.
"The radio has been taken off air in line with the cabinet decision stopping all activities of state institutions of France," Information Minister Laurent Nkusi said.
The move leaves the BBC, Voice of America and Germany's Deutsche Welle as the only international radio stations broadcasting to Rwanda on FM.
Earlier, officials posted a notice at the already shuttered French Ecole Antoine de Saint-Exupery, in downtown Kigali, informing parents and pupils of the school's closure in line with the cabinet's decision on Friday.
Kigali's drastic move was sparked last week when French judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere called for President Paul Kagame to be tried for alleged complicity in the death of former president Juvenal Habyarimana, believed to have sparked the mass killings.
The emergency cabinet meeting ordered the French ambassador out of the country within 24 hours in addition to the closure of the embassy and the school.
"In accordance with the cabinet decision of November 24 2006, the administration of Ecole Antoine de Saint-Exupery notifies all parents and students of this school that it will be closed this Monday November 27," the terse notice read. "Parents are asked to keep their children at home awaiting new directives," it added.
Even then, some parents and students showed up at the school gates, where the signboard bearing the school's name had been smudged with fresh paint, to come to terms with the abrupt turn of events.
"I'm quite disappointed. The cabinet shouldn't have closed a school," said Faustin Niwemugabo, a parent whose three children study there.
"I think we Rwandans will lose more since our children account for the majority of the students in this school," he said. "A school is a school. You can close an embassy and such political institutions but not a school."
"I can't believe this has happened. I had to come here and see for myself,"
said another parent Angelique Mulisa.
Kagame has stridently denied Bruguiere's charges, terming them "rubbish"
and accusing France of "bullyish" behaviour. He said Paris should instead
face trial for its alleged genocide roles. Sapa-AFP
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