12 January 2019

Rwanda: Anti-Genocide Commission Documents Past Killing Patterns

The National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) has committed to carry out research and document testimonies about the Genocide across the country.

The exercise will cover all the former 12 prefectures namely Butare, Byumba, Cyangugu, Gikongoro, Gisenyi, Gitarama, Kibungo, Kibuye, Kigali City, Kigali-Rural (Kigali Ngali), Ruhengeri and Umutara.

Jean Damascène Bizimana, the Executive Secretary of the commission, revealed the plan during the launch of findings based on history and testimonies about the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in the former Ruhengeri prefecture.

Ruhengeri covered the current Musanze District and surrounding areas.

The 316-page book which was co-authored by two researchers at the commission, Faustin Mafeza and Donatien Nikuze - along with Bizimana - documents the torture and killings of the Tutsi in the area since 1959 up to 1994.

Bizimana said that the first group of militia in Rwanda dubbed " Amahindure" was formed to kill Tutsi in Ruhengeri prefecture in former Mukingo Commune, the birth place of Joseph Nzirorera, who was National-Secretary of the Mouvement Républicain National pour la Démocratie et le Développement (MRND) and other Genocide masterminds.

The militia group, he said, was the model for the future Interahamwe militia largely responsible for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The other group was "Turihose" which was considered a special militia that received specialised training from military camps and then trained other militia to kill the Tutsi.

Other militia groups that were formed in Ruhengeri Prefecture included Abazulu, Intarumikwa, Abadebande, Gashagari, Virunga Force and others.

"The study shows how since 1959, Tutsi were gathered at Nemba and Janja parishes and some were expelled to DR Congo, others to Bugesera so they could be killed by Tsetse flies. In 1963, Tutsi were also tortured and killed and Ruhengeri was like the centre for detaining Tutsi," he said.

He also said that, in 1973, Tutsi women were tortured in schools such as Rwaza Girls' School and Science College of Musanze.

"We want to show uniqueness of the 1994 Genocide in each of the former prefecture. Last year, we presented findings from the former Gisenyi Prefecture, today we have presented those from Ruhengeri which was home to many politicians and high ranking military officers.

We will soon present findings from Kibungo and by the end of the year, at the end of this year, we will have presented research findings from Butare, Gikongoro and Cyangugu," Bizimana pledged.

"68 per cent of Rwandans are under 30 years old, young people are the ones to build this country but they first have to understand its history of the Genocide," he said.

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