Rwanda is known for her fast progress, rising from an abyss towards a future glowing with hope after the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. Prior to 1994, Tutsi had endured intense persecution and sufferings as genocide plans got underway.
The night of 4th October 1990 brings memories of a tragedy when former EX-FAR spent the entire night firing bullets in the air with the intention of falsely accusing Tutsi in the morning to be behind the shootings. The night described as a ‘theatre’ over the applied trick was followed by arrests of Tutsi accused of firing the bullets and being agents and sympathizers of Inkotanyi.
In the morning, people who heard the gun shots did not see any dead body from the sporadic gunfire.
The ‘drama’ was followed by indiscriminate imprisonment of Tutsi in ‘Special Prison of Ruhengeri prefecture at the beginning of liberation war in 1990.
In an interview with IGIHE, MP Kalisa Evariste one of the people jailed following the horrendous night narrated that Tutsi were arrested from 5th October 1990 and jailed in various prisons countrywide.
“Following the night of shootings, people were frightened as we would receive information that people are getting jailed. I hopelessly told my wife that it might reach me too. I was too arrested the next day,” he said.
“I was too taken to prison to join others. I met there Tutsi who worked in various positions along with businesspeople. We were kept in for days without eating nor drinking. Inside the prison was a person with gunshot injuries. He cried the whole night and died later,” he said.
The jailed people were tagged with Tutsi, Inkontanyi agents and businessmen.
More than 12,000 were arrested at the time and kept in prison under different forms of torture for six months. Many lost their lives in the process.
“We only met Tutsi in prison. This was the beginning of the process of genocide preparations. They were not intending to jail but kill us. No one was arrested for a particular crime but rather his innate personality,” said MP Kalisa.
Few days later, RPF voiced concerns for people jailed for no reason in Rwanda, putting pressure which led to release of the victims. It was one of indirect paths guided by divisionism which led to the 1994 genocide against Tutsi which took lives of more than one million people in 100 days.