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France's 2,000-man peacekeeping force nervously guarded the last piece of Rwandan turf unclaimed by surging Tutsi rebels -- a "safety zone" designed to protect fleeing majority Hutus. A day after it took the capital, Kigali, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) said France is using the humanitarian zone in southwest Rwanda to protect the losing Hutu government, which the RPF blames for thousands of atrocities. While the rebels prepared late Tuesday to set up a government in the capital and declare a unilateral ceasefire, TIME Paris reporter Bruce Crumley says, the French are downplaying the chance of conflict. The French field troops, meanwhile, are left to wonder whether vengeful Tutsis will simply cut through their small force to claim total victory. "They're acting as a kind of human shield," Crumley says of the French. "But given the ethnicbreakdown (of those they're protecting), they can't really claim neutrality any more."parpar