APRIL 18, 1994: THE IMPLEMENTATION OF GENOCIDE PERPETRATED AGAINST TUTSI THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY

By Dr. BIZIMANA Jean Damascène
On 18 April 2020 at 02:59

On April 18, 1994, the criminal government continued to implement its genocidal plan to exterminate Tutsis throughout the country. This document highlights some well-known killing sites across the country on April 18, 1994.

1.The criminal government continued to sensitise citizens to carry out Genocide

On April 18, 1994, members of criminal government including Édouard Karemera, who was supposed to be the Minister of local Government visited Gitarama to sensitize people to start genocide. On that day, president Théodore Sindikubwabo visited Gikongoro and held a meeting with the authorities of Gikongoro prefecture to arrange the killings at Kaduha, Murambi, Cyanika and all sites of Gikongoro Prefecture. On his way home, Sindikubwabo stopped at Nyakizu (Butare) Commune headquarters and called upon killers to carry on killings. Sindikubwabo carried out these sensitization meetings in the presence of many citizens brought by local authorities.

2. Prefect Kayishema Clement exterminated Tutsi at Gatwaro, Kibuye

Gatwaro stadium was built in former Bwishyura sector, Gitesi commune, Kibuye Prefecture currently Karongi District, Bwishyura Sector, Kibuye cell, and Gatwaro village. Tutsis were taken to the stadium by the authorities especially Prefect KAYISHEMA Clément under pretext that they want to maintain their security while they are assembled at the same place. Most of refugees who flew to Gatwaro stadium had survived from elsewhere like Kibuye church, Home Saint Jean and Mubuga church. Many others came from Mabanza commune and walked a distance of 19 Km towards Kibuye prefecture and then to Gatwaro stadium.

Before entering in the stadium, all their belongings were taken away including their batons. In the following days, all water pipes supplying the stadium were cut and they got very sick due to dirtiness and those who were injured or sick tried to go to Kibuye hospital nearby the stadium but were shoot and returned back or got killed on the way.

KAYISHEMA would not allow any well-wisher to provide anything to refugees. A Germany doctor Wolfgang Blam together with Dr. HITIMANA Léonard continued to care for Tutsi who were injured in difficult conditions. They killed Dr. Blam’s wife first because she was a Tutsi and later the doctor and their children were killed too.

They were killed by Joseph MPAMBARA Interahamwe from Mugonero, a brother to Obed Ruzindana who was convicted of Genocide crime by the ICTR and sentenced to 25 years of imprisonment. Joseph MPAMBARA fled to the Netherlands, and was convicted by the local courts on July 9, 2011 for crime against humanity which is part of genocide planning activities and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

On April 18, 1994, KAYISHEMA Clément launched the massacre in Gatwaro stadium by shooting dead an Adventist Pastor MUNYAKARAGWE Ezechiel with the gun that he requested from a gendarme. He came with armed Interahamwe, gendarmes, police, military and other Hutu civilians. They bordered the stadium and others went on Gatwaro hill above the stadium.

Prefect KAYISHEMA authorized them to start killing Tutsis. They were killed with guns, grenades, machetes, pangas and other various traditional weapons. On that very day, they killed Tutsis till 6 pm. Afterward, soldiers headed to Bisesero while Interahamwe stayed overnight to check for any survivor who would escape during the night.

At night, surviving Tutsis gathered the corpses of their colleagues and tried to give first aid at hand to those who were seriously injured. Later on during night, interahamwe decided to leave the stadium to come back in the morning. They went to celebrate at the neighbouring bar. Early morning on April 19, 1994, around 6 am, they came back at the stadium to finish off those who were breathing using traditional weapons.

Some of the issues raised by Dr. HITIMANA Léonard included that of ensuring security for children who were taken from Home Saint Jean to the hospital. Those children were killed before he arrived at the hospital.

Kayishema was convicted of genocide crime by the ICTR and sentenced for life imprisonment.

3. Massacre of Tutsi in Kamonyi, Kayumbu

Kayumbu bridge is located in Nyarusange village, Karengera cell, Musambira sector, Kamonyi district. On April 18, 1994, the head Priest Pio NTAHOBARI together with Rwakayigamba (a teacher) and a church secretary called Nyagahene denied entrance in the church for Tutsi refugees saying that they would destroy it. They camped in the market opposite the church. Killers were not satisfied and chased them away saying that Tutsi’s God is at Kabgayi that they should go there instead.

They descended towards Kibuza (There is Kamonyi Genocide memorial) where they met an attack which they managed to escape before they could meet another one at Gaperi, killers here killed men and boys only.

The survivors of those attacks arrived at Musambira Parish where they met the head priest Lawurenti and they were lucky to have the church opened for them. Next morning on April 19, a truck full of soldiers arrived at the church and held a meeting with Hutu refugees from Kivuye. After the meeting, the Priest told refugees to leave especially those who had come last.

Interahamwe run after them with machetes while soldiers and presidential guards went to Kayumbu bridge and started shooting them one by one until bodies were all over the bridge. After the shooting, soldiers left the surviving ones to local citizens and interahamwe to use traditional weapons and take away their possessions most of the killers at Kayumbu bridge were not known in the area.

4. Massacre of Tutsi at Nkanka Parish, Rusizi

In the former Kamembe commune, many Tutsis were killed at Nkanka Parish, at the commune and at Busekanka. From April 8, 1994, Tutsi started fleeing at Nkanka Parish because the killings had already started in Gitwa and Murambi and Interahamwe had started burning their houses. All tutsi came at the Parish because the Mayor had told them that they will be protected as he had sent police at the Parish. His purpose was to be aware of the exact number of Tutsis and to prevent them from fleeing to DR Congo (former Zaire).

On April 17, 1994 the Mayor of Kamembe commune MUBILIGI Justin Napoléon and the head priest of Nkanka Parish NGIRINSHUTI Thaddée held a meeting with local notorious interahamwe to kill Tutsis. Next day on April 18, 1994 interahamwe killed them using grenades, wooden clubs, machetes and other weapons.

Before they would be given refuge, father NGIRINSHUTI Thaddée took away all their weapons including (sticks, amacumu, machetes, bows and arrows to prevent them for self-protection in case they are attacked. In addition, the room of policemen who were at the Parish was full of guns, grenades which were used by Interahamwe on April 18.

On April 19, 1994, 60 Tutsis who had taken refuge at Kamembe commune were killed. They were first hidden by a staff of the commune GATERA Casimir who was intimidated by the mayor saying that he should send them out before Interahamwe destroys the entire office searching for Them. They were released and killed on spot.

On April 18, 1994, Tutsis were slaughtered at Nyabitimba parish, Karengera (Cyangugu) Mibilizi hospital, Cyimbogo.

5.Massacre of Tutsi at Simbi Parish, Maraba Commune, Huye

Simbi sector is located in the former Maraba commune led by the Mayor Habineza Jean Marie Vianey since September 1990. He used to oppress Tutsis as if it was one of his duties since appointment:

- Habineza together with policemen went to Simbi CERAI- considered as TVET (Centre d’Enseignement Rural et Artisanal Intégré) and took Mazimpaka Gregoire (the principal) as well as teacher called Kanobayire Jean Baptiste of Cyendajuru and tied them behind saying that they are confiscating guns given by Inkotanyi illegally.
- He closely monitored and trained interahamwe to make traditional weapons that were used to kill Tutsis like wooden clubs, bows and arrows, spears, and supplied them with other equipments which includes machetes, guns and grenades.

- He prepared Tutsis list and their location to ease their killing
- Since the attack of Inkotanyi, no Tutsi from Maraba was allowed to leave Maraba commune without a laisser passer.

Between April 10 and 17, 1994, all Tutsis from Maraba were gathered in Simbi church. Three policemen Nkuriza, Kanani Antoni and Nyirimana Kaniziyo ensured security of the refugees at the church and they only killed them after the visit of the President Sindikubwabo who blamed them for taking long to kill Tutsi. He then sent soldiers to help interahamwe to kill them.

On April 18, 1994 interahamwe from Gikongoro and Maraba, soldiers, gendarmes and policemen attacked them at the church. It was on a daylight when two interahamwe climbed over the church and took off iron sheets and poured petrol over them. In addition, Bushakiro poured chilli powder amongst them and suffocated them. Afterwards, interahamwe smashed doors and threw grenades, stones on them and entered the church to chop those who were breathing. About 40,000 tutsi were massacred there.

After killing Tutsi in Simbi church, the Mayor Habineza sent one of interahamwe Ruzindana Celestin to the Sisters’ home to inform the latter that the next to be killed are Tutsis at Simbi health centre. They immediately went and killed Sister Peter Claver, Sister Paul and Sister Pelagie. Sister Gervais was hit on head by a club and did not die on spot but she became blind. Tutsis who had taken refuge in the health center were also killed.

The master minders were:

Former municipal police: Nkuriza, Antoni Kanani, Nyirimana Kaniziyo Sebarinda Celestin, Nsimyukiza Clement: the deputy mayor, Rwabuhungu Sylvestre (President of MDR Power), Mujyambere Antoine former teacher and the president of MRND and others who came from Gikongoro.

Between 2000 and 3000 Tutsis were killed on that day in Kigembe commune and Butare.

6. Massacre of Tutsi at OPROVIA, Rusizi

Many Tutsis from around Kamembe town and Rusizi were killed at Kamembe. From April 18, 1994 interahamwe started to attack tutsi in their homes and snatched them to kill them at Kamembe near the new market and in the nearby coffee plantations next to Kamembe sector. They were led by Napoléon MUBIRIGI, the former Kamembe mayor, Haruna Rizinde who represented MRND in Kamembe, Councillor of Kamembe Sector called MURUKU.

The killers in Kamembe town included local interahamwe and Burundians who had taken refuge in Rwanda. The most prominent Interahamwe were Kanyarukiko Cassim, Ngenzenuku Hassan, Haluna Nsengiyumva also called Cenga, Shuwayibu also called Epis, Kimputu, Nsengiyumva and many others.

7. Massacre of Tutsi in Rwamagana, Mwulire and at Sovu School

Close to the starting of genocide, Tutsis who lived in the former Bicumbi commune were very oppressed by the former Mayor Semanza. After Habyarimana’s plane crash, all Tutsis were ordered to stay in their homes.

On April 7, 1994 Hutu attacks started to invade Tutsis homes and killed them. However, some Hutus joined their tutsi colleagues to fight back the killers with the purpose of suppressing the attacks in Mwurire sector. Those Hutus were called in a meeting by interahamwe and MRND leaders to inform them to avoid supporting tutsi and Tutsis resisted for about 12 days.

Tutsis from Mwurire, Nzige, Gahengeli, Rubona, Rutonde and Bicumbi were all gathered on the hill of Gisanza where they got killed on April 18, 1994 by municipal police and citizens who were given guns.

Tutsis became weakened by the killers’ gunshots as their weapons which included stones, sticks got finished. Over 15.000 Tutsis got killed on the spot. Others got killed at the roadblocks like the one located near Baptist church whereby over 400 Tutsis were killed. Over 50,000 Tutsis were killed in Kabuya swamp and in the home of the councillor Bakundukize Yohani.

Likewise, Tutsis who had taken refuge at Sovu school- Rwamagana were killed especially children, women and old women. Before killing them, girls and women were raped and killers would throw chilli powder in their private parts afterwards. On April 18, 1994 those who had killed Tutsis of Mwurire supported local Hutus of Sovu to exterminate those who were at the school.

Conclusion

The Genocide against the Tutsis was planned and implemented by the Government. The fact that Tutsis were killed from the morning of April 7, 1994 across the country, it is undeniable that it was a government’s planned agenda.

Done at Kigali on April 18, 2020

Dr. BIZIMANA Jean Damascène
Executive Secretary
National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide (CNLG)


Advertisement

YOUR OPINION ABOUT THIS ARTICLE

RULES AND REGULATIONS
Kwamamaza