Rwanda: Bizimana - Interahamwe Were Supplied With Tonnes of Machetes Prior to Genocide

Genocide survivors and perpetrators testify about their unity in Rwankuba (file photo).

The Executive Secretary of the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG), Dr Jean Damascene Bizimana, yesterday delivered a lecture to over 500 police officers and spoke about how the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi was prepared, right from the colonial period to its execution and its current effects.

In the lecture, delivered at Police General Headquarters, in Kacyiru as part of the ongoing 24th commemoration of the Genocide, Bizimana underscored the role of security organs in prevention and handling effects of genocide.

He shared with them the background, preparation, and execution of the Genocide and emphasised on how the genocidal regime invested in brainwashing, training and equipping mass murderers.

Bizimana focused on the ten stages of genocide which include; classification, symbolisation, discrimination, dehumanisation, organisation, polarisation, preparation, persecution, extermination and denial and how they manifested with regard to the Genocide against the Tutsi.

Bizimana spoke about how hatred for Tutsis was institutionalised so much it was tutored in Military and Gendarme institutions at the time.

The Genocide against the Tutsi was perpetrated with unprecedented savagery and took the lives of 1,074,017. According to Dr Bizimana, "prior to the Genocide, Felicien Kabuga, who is among the chief financers of the Genocide, purchased 581 tons of machetes and this is why during the Genocide, all the killers had new machetes."

"Today we are facing cases of Genocide denial. After the physical extermination, comes the attempt to revise history and erase the memory of the victims. Denial is never done out of ignorance; to deny facts as obvious as attempted extermination of a people, requires premeditation and persistence," Dr Bizimana told law enforcers.

At the function, Silas Ntamfurayishyari, a former Rwandan military (ex-FAR) officer who was a decorated as Protector of Friendship Pact (Umurinzi w'Igihango) ,shared his testimony on how, at the height of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, risked his life to hide or abet in helping Tutsis flee to escape death.

During that time, Ntamfurayishyari, who was then a corporal in the Ex-FAR, detailed how smuggled Tutsis out of Rwanda into Burundi, through a thick forest stretching twenty kilometers, using little military supplies he had.

"I knew very well that my decision could cost me my life, but it was a risk I was willing to take. I believed that if I was able to save a single life, it was my duty to do so," he said.

He also detailed how his commanders discovered what he was doing and ordered his fellow soldiers to shoot him on sight for being a "traitor." Fortunately, he escaped death.

The Police Commissioner for Operations, Commissioner of Police George Rumanzi, said that RNP will hold different reflective functions on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in a way that they reach out to all police officers.

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