Her husband killed Tutsi, she hid and saved one

On 8 January 2019 at 08:30

While her husband was killing thousands of Tutsi victims in Ntarama, Bugesera District, Anne-Marie Nyirabazungu stood heroic and hid one young man who was being hunted to be killed. He survived the 1994 genocide against Tutsi that took away lives of his other family members.

Nyirabazungu 55, now a resident of Ntarama Sector of Bugesera District, was married to Servilien Kambari who was the leader ‘Conseiller’ of former Kibungo Sector in current Bugesera District.

Kambari used a gun to kill many Tutsi including those who had fled to Ntarama Catholic Church where they took refuge believing killers would not dare to kill people in the ‘house of God.”

Kambari later died in the attacks the former RPA (Rwanda Patriotic Army) Inkotanyi soldiers carried out to liberate Bugesera District and surrounding areas to protect and save victims who were being killed in the 1994 genocide against Tutsi.

Talking to IGIHE, Nyirabazungu, said she hid one Celestin Mugabe who then was 20 years old.

“It was on Sunday when other people had gone to pray and from churches they came back saying killings had started,” Nyirabazungu recounts.

“At around 3 PM, Celestin Mugabe came to my house carrying a bag and asked my help as his fellow Tutsi were being killed. I put him in my house. His mother and his siblings went to hide in the swamp where I took them food in the evening,” she says.

Nyirabazungu adds that she kept hiding Mugabe and his two other younger brothers who came later into his house.

While Nyirabazungu was hiding Mugabe, her husband Servilien Kambari woke up every day and went to Ntarama to kill Tutsi.

“I kept feeding Mugabe’s parents from neighboring homes where they hid. I told my children to keep it as a secret that Mugabe was hiding at our house. Every day, Interahamwe militias came to my house looking for the young boy I hid but my children and I kept denying his presence at our house,” Nyirabazungu adds.

Nyirabazungu says that Mugabe’s parents later decided to flee to Ntarama Church where they believed their lives would be saved but they were killed on the way.

Few days later, Mugabe also left Nyirabazungu’s house as killers kept looking for him but fortunately survived.

“On my heart, I always feel the pride to have saved somebody’s life during the genocide. It pains that my husband killed several others. Now Mugabe is alive and he is a father to four children,” Nyirabazungu says adding that “people should be generous and truthful.”