Nkundiyaremye’s garage served as base for Interahanwe during Genocide against the Tutsi emerge: witness

By Esther Muhozi
On 25 April 2024 at 12:20

A witness testified to the Brussels Court of Assizes in Belgium that the AMGAR buildings, which housed the ‘Centre-ville Auto’ garage operated by Emmanuel Nkunduwimye, alias Bomboko, were known as the headquarters of the Interahamwe militia, which played a role in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.

These buildings were located in Cyahafi cell, Gitega sector, Commune Nyarugenge in Kigali, known as ‘Gakinjiro’. Today, this area is part of the Kora cell, Gitega sector in the Nyarugenge district.

The 69-year-old witness, on April 24, 2024, explained that during the genocide, he lived about 100 meters from AMGAR in Cyahafi, but was taken to these buildings with the help of George Rutaganda, the Vice President of the Interahamwe.

He stated, "The Interahamwe at AMGAR were in two groups; some were originally there, while others had fled from Kicukiro after the Inkotanyi took over. George Rutaganda also came from Kicukiro. I didn’t know most of them, but I knew Rutaganda, who miraculously told everyone I was a Hutu, their brother, warning that anyone who touched me would face problems.”

He further described that the Interahamwe had marked him for execution, but he managed to bribe them with a significant amount of money on April 15, 1994, to spare his life when they found him hiding at home.

The presiding judge asked if Rutaganda had charged him money to take him to AMGAR, to which he replied that he hadn’t, although Rutaganda owed him money, deciding not to collect it.

Regarding the Interahamwe in AMGAR, the witness noted, "They were there, they slept there. Sometimes five came, other times three, all armed. Below AMGAR, I could hear them digging and burying those they killed. They referred to it as the Interahamwe Headquarters."

The witness told the court that he once asked Rutaganda if he would be held accountable for the people being killed and buried in pits behind AMGAR. Instead of responding, Rutaganda brought corrugated sheets to cover the area to prevent further scrutiny.

He shared that he informed fellow mechanics at the AMGAR ‘Centre-ville Auto’ garage about the killings and burials, highlighting that Emmanuel Nkunduwimye, especially, often wore military attire and carried a gun.

Nkunduwimye fled Rwanda in 1994 to the Democratic Republic of Congo, moved to Kenya in 1995, and then to Belgium in 1998, where he was arrested in 2011. His trial is expected to conclude in June 2024.

Nkunduwimye had shares in a garage in AMGAR.