APRIL 29, 1994: The Implementation of Genocide Perpetrated against the Tutsi

By Dr. BIZIMANA Jean Damascène
On 29 April 2020 at 08:52

On April 29, 1994, the criminal government continued to implement its plan to exterminate Tutsi. The criminal government had a plan to search for all Tutsi who were still hiding in hotels and churches and kill them. This document points out some of the sites where Tutsi were killed on this date in 1994

1. For the first time, the UN Security Council addressed the issue of the Genocide against the Tutsi

From April 7,1994, the UN Security Council continued to ignore the issue of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

On April 28, 1994, Ambassador Karel Kovanda, who represented the Czech Republic, requested the Council to discuss the matter. Ambassador Kovanda pointed out that till that date the UN Security Council had deployed 80% of its efforts to discuss the issue of maintaining or withdrawing UNAMIR troops from Rwanda, 20% to a ceasefire decision, and 0% to the analysis of the killing which was taking place in Rwanda.

Based on information from human rights organizations, he acknowledged that the existing government was committing genocide. Some of the representative of superpower countries with a permanent seat in the UN Security Council insisted that his statement should not be used in the UN Security Council.

The chairman of the UN Security Council, Ambassador Colin Keating, had also received reports that Rwanda was witnessing the worst massacre of Tutsi. Dr. Rony Zachariah of the MSF-Belgium handed over the report on the April 22, 1994 massacre at Butare University Hospital where Doctors, patients and their caregivers were killed.

This was reinforced by a statement issued by the OXFAM organization declaring that genocide was taking place in Rwanda. For the first time on April 29, 1994, the UN Security Council addressed the issue of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

The president of the World Peace Council wanted member states to assume their duty to intervene if the genocide was being committed in Rwanda, as per the provision of International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948.

Some countries such as New Zealand, Argentina, Spain and the Check Republic were in favour that a resolution on the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda be taken. Some superpowers have opposed the use of the word genocide. The French envoy and the Rwandan representative did their best to persuade the UN Security Council that the killings were a result of the war, and that a decision to intervene was not necessary.

After a long debate, it was decided not to use the word genocide as provided for in the International Convention against the Prevention and Punishment of the genocide crime of 1948, instead they used the following terms: "The UN Security Council reminds that killing people from one ethnic group based on the plan to exterminate them is a crime punishable by international law”.

2. Tutsi massacre at Shangi catholic parish, Cyangugu

Before the genocide against the Tutsi, Shangi Parish was located in Gafunzo commune, shangi Sector and it is currently in Nyamasheke district, Shangi Sector. Discrimination and persecution of Tutsi in Gafunzo was in place for long time but since the 1990 liberation struggle started, it became intense. During that time, MRND and MDR joined their efforts to persecute Tutsi.

During 1992, educated Tutsi who occupied various posts in public institutions in Gafunzo commune were fired from their jobs and those who were working in education were also fired. In addition, any Hutu who had married a Tutsi woman were requested to divorce them. A councillor called BACAMURWANGO Anicet led by example and sent away his wife because she was a Tutsi. However, some of the families did not implement the decision.

In 1993, interahamwe started to be trained across the country and those from Gafunzo were trained in Shagasha Tea factory. The former director of the factory NSABIMANA Callixte from Gisenyi always said that he did not like Tutsi. He is the one who played a key role in training Interahamwe within the factory in collaboration with the prefect BAGAMBIKI Emmanuel, sous prefet Gerard TEREBURA, Sous prefet Theodore MUNYANGABE and Lieutenant Samuel IMANISHIMWE.

From april 8, 1994 interahamwe started to yell and sing “Tubatsembatsembe” loudly above the hills slightly translated as: “Let’s exterminate them”. At that time, Tutsi started to flee to Shangi parish. Among the interahamwe who shouted “Tubatsembatsembe” included Hutu from the clan called “Abanyumu” and roadblocks were established everywhere. The first roadblock was established at Teacher Bonaventure’s home who lived near Shangi Parish.

From April 12 to 13, 1994, interahamwe and local Hutu started to attack Tutsi who had taken refuge at the parish to loot and kill but Tutsi tried to defend themselves and defeated them.

On April 14, 1994, a third major attack led by Interahamwe called PIMA attacked Tutsi. Before killing Tutsi at Shangi parish, interahamwe passed by Gafunzo commune to take guns and grenades to use. Bourgoumestre KARORERO Charles instructed brigadier of the commune to give weapons to interahamwe. Interahamwe used the above mentioned weapons to kill Tutsi but some of them survived. The PIMA attack had come from Nyamirundi.

Interahamwe locked all water pipes first so that Tutsi refugees at Shangi Parish may starve. Those who tried to go and fetch water from Lake Kivu below the parish were immediately killed before they reach the place.

On April 18, 1994, the delegation from the prefecture led by sous prefet MUNYENGABE Theodore held a meeting with all councillors and requested the latter to write down a list of all Tutsi who fled their homes and where they had taken refuge.

During next days, Father MATEGEKO Aime, sous prefet MUNYANGABE and commune staff would come every day and take strong men and boys as well as educated ones and kill them. They lied to Tutsi that those who were called are the ones who illegally had weapons like guns, grenades and other weapons to kill Hutu and that they have to go to Kamembe court to provide explanations about it. Among all those who were taken, none of them had returned.

On April 27, 1994 around 10am, another attack of interahamwe from Shangi and Nyabitekeri came to the Parish but was defeated and sent back. On April 29, 1994 a major attack led by Yussuf Munyakazi from Bugarama carrying machetes, clubs, guns and grenades came in three trucks full. The survivors of the attack said that Interahamwe were singing: “isi n’ibiyirimo byose ni iby’abahutu” meaning: “the world and everything in it belongs to the Hutu” and they started to throw grenades and using machetes. On that day, they stopped killing around 19h30 and took the surviving girls with them to rape them.

On April 30, 1994 Interahamwe came to kill those who were wounded and then brought all the people who were going to the market and told them to pick up bodies from the church and take them to a pit called Red Cross (a hole used to unfill toilets of Shangi Primary School) and dumped all bodies. When the pit became full, they excavated other ones and threw all bodies in order to clean up the church.
Father MATEGEKO Aime, a prominent killer at Shangi was convicted of genocide crime and sentenced for life imprisonment.

3. Tutsi massacre at Kamarampaka Stadium, Rusizi

Kamarampaka Stadium was located nearby Rusizi court, Military base, the Gendarmery, Cyangugu prefecture headquarter, Cyangugu prison, Cyangugu Diocese and Kamembe business center. It was also close to the DRC border. This was the reason for many Tutsi to take refuge at the stadium because they thought they will be safe near administrative buildings. First Tutsi fled to the stadium on April 9, 1994 with their cattle as Hutu had started burning their houses.

On April 19, 1994 a military attack led by prefect BAGAMBIKI Emmanuel of Cyangugu arrived. They had a list of Tutsi men whom they wanted to kill first including the educated and those who appeared rich. Others were strong men who would be able to defend themselves.

Father Laurent NTIMUGURA mocked them when they told him to appeal for them and he told them that they are not the ones who should be depressed as Hutu had lost their so-called parent (the president) they are the ones who should complain not Tutsi. However, his colleague Father Oscar NKUNDAYEZU comforted them and brought them food and gave repentance sacrement to those who wanted it. Father Laurent NTIMUGURA was sentenced to 20 years in prison and completed it, he is currently living with the Bishop of Cyangugu.

Tutsi who had taken refuge at Kamarampaka Stadium lived a miserable life as there was no water, no food, no toilets and they were facing dysentery epidemic due to dirtiness and many were very sick.

On April 26, 1994 another military attack came and was led by Lt. IMANISHIMWE, they took men to be killed as usual. Prefect BAGAMBIKI decided that Tutsi refugees who were at the stadium would not be given chances to flee to Zaïre and then sent them to Nyarushishi, far from the border so that none would flee to Zaïre.

On April 28, 1994, another military attack took other men to be killed. Refugees held a meeting and agreed to flee to Zaïre. Around 3 am in the morning, they took the road to Zaïre but soldiers who watched them did not allow them, Bagambiki and soldiers had waited for them on the way and ordered them to go back at the stadium. On their way back, interahamwe and soldiers started to kill them with guns, machetes, clubs and grenades. Those who survived were taken to Nyarushishi.

IMANISHIMWE Samuel was convicted of genocide crime by the ICTR and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.


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