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Thursday, 16 June 2016

Kibeho - The Real Story of What Happened There in 1995

Mulamba Jean Paul

In April 1995, preparations were underway for the destruction of Kibeho, according to a third ICTR document citing testimony from an intelligence officer that attended preparatory meetings in neighboring Butare.

The meetings were convened by Colonel Jack Nziza, the officer claimed. Nziza was and remains a feared figure known as ‘the enforcer’ of special operations for Rwanda’s Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI). “The mission was to prepare for the destruction of the Kibeho refugee camp,” the officer explained. “We were taken to Kibeho directly. There were many intelligence staff there. We surrounded the camp for three days, blocking all roads, especially those to Nyungwe forest where refugees might escape.

Only one path was left open through which they would have to go through roadblocks.” The RPA unleashed heavy fire on the camps; ‘there were a lot of victims.” Some were taken and burned in Butare. Some of the victims’ bones were put in bags brought by Colonel Jackson Rwahama—a notoriously cruel commander who used to work for Idi Amin in Uganda. The bags were buried in Kabutare, Save, in Senkoko in Ngoma, according to testimony.

 Another officer involved in operations targeting Hutus admitted he participated in the ‘Kibeho massacre.’ He said the attack was coordinated and led by brigade commander Colonel Fred Ibingira. Other military commanders responsible included Major Philbert Rwigamba, Patrick Nyamvumba, Emmnuel Gasana and Dan Munyuza, currently Rwanda’s deputy inspector general of police. The officer claimed that Kayumba Nyamwasa, then deputy head of the Gendarmerie, along with Jackson Rwahama and Jack Nziza joined them two days into the attacks.

In an interview with this journalist, a former DMI officer now in North America confirmed that the gendarmerie was involved in the Kibeho attack. “Yes meetings took place to discuss that. Both gendarmerie and DMI were implicated. The gendarmerie and the army worked together.” The officer described a system in which members of the gendarmerie and DMI, along with the military police acted contiguously and symbiotically. He said in theory they were separate entities, but in reality it was different.

“The gendarmerie, DMI, external intelligence and military police were really not different in essence. In many circumstances, the same people operated in all of them,” he added, citing his own personal experience. One of the UN documents reveals testimony of how Kibeho survivors were transported to Camp Huye, having been promised protection by the RPA. Instead these Hutus were put to death. “For three days, for 24 hours straight, we killed Kibeho survivors with ropes, hammers, and plastic bags,” the former DMI member said. An estimated 60 soldiers were stationed at Nyongwe taking bodies off trucks, digging graves and burying corpses, he added. He also went on to explain that from May 1993 until May 1995 while he was a member of DMI, an estimated 100,000 Hutus were killed in areas he was deployed. “The aim was to kill Hutus…men, women and children.

We killed many people, perhaps 100,000. Our group killed at least 150 to 200 people a day. They were murdered with ropes tied around their necks, smothered with plastic bags over their heads, killed with hammers, knives and traditional weapons. The bodies were then dumped in mass graves and burned,” he told investigators.

Mulamba Jean Paul / Author & Editor

Has laoreet percipitur ad. Vide interesset in mei, no his legimus verterem. Et nostrum imperdiet appellantur usu, mnesarchum referrentur id vim.

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