For Tutsi, Butare was the last hope both as a refuge in itself and as a way station en route to Burundi. For leaders of the genocide, it was a troublesome obstacle to completing the national campaign to exterminate the Tutsi. To achieve that goal required eliminating the some 140,000 Tutsi residents of Butare and the tens of thousands of others who had sought refuge there.1 It also necessitated extirpating the very idea that Hutu and Tutsi could live peaceably together.
In trying to resist this catastrophe, Prefect Jean-Baptiste Habyalimana was at first able to count on the local commander of the National Police and on his own subordinates, with the exception of the burgomaster of Nyakizu. But otherwise, the prefect was opposed by powerful forces committed to genocide: military officers, the militia, intellectuals, and Burundian refugees. In addition, assailants from both the west and the northeast invaded Butare, attacking Tutsi who had fled from Gikongoro, Kigali, and Gitarama as well as those resident within the prefecture.The Setting
The town of Butare, the prefectural center, was located in Ngoma commune, which had a population of about 26,600 people. About one quarter of them were Tutsi, a percentage far higher than the national average and higher also than the 17 percent Tutsi population of the capital.2 A sleepy little town, Butare stretched out along a ridge on either side of the main highway that ran south to the border with Burundi. The central district could be traversed on foot in fifteen or twenty minutes, but several of its neighborhoods jutted out from the main axis along other ridges, separated from one another by largely uninhabited valleys. To travel from the far point of one sector to that of another could take more than an hour walkingby road, but local people cut that time by using foot paths through the valleys.
As befit its status as the intellectual center of the country, the town of Butare was heralded to the north by a handsome new historical museum, which both by its architecture and its contents paid tribute to the old monarchy so disavowed by the new Hutu republics. At the northern entry to town, on either side of the main road, although not visible from it, lay a school for social workers and Catholic and Protestant theological institutes and seminaries. Just beyond the commercial district and off to the left of the main road stood the cathedral, the extensive complex of the Groupe Scolaire secondary school, and a training school for veterinarians. Leaving town to the south, the wooded campuses of the university to the left of the road and of a scientific research institute to the right completed the impressive concentration of institutions devoted to the life of the mind. A large university hospital, a short distance from the main road, abutted the research institute and a smaller hospital was located just beyond the Groupe Scolaire.
Buye, the neighborhood at the northern entry of the town, encompassed the tree-lined avenues of slightly decrepit colonial-era houses and newer residences of university professors, doctors, government employees, and military officers. The sector of Ngoma, originally built by the colonial administration to house its Rwandan employees, lay a respectable distance from the Buye residences, down a dusty and largely uninhabited road, past the airfield. The orderly rows of modest, look-alike brick houses had been expanded in recent years by larger and more varied structures, but Ngoma still looked like a working class neighborhood. At the entry of Ngoma stood a military camp, housing only some fifty soldiers, the rest of its troops having been sent to the front. Back on the main road, a row of shops bracketed by the two oldest and best-known hotels in town, the Ibis and the Faucon, formed the commercial center, which spilled over onto adjacent streets.
Down one of those streets stood an open-air market and beyond it a school for training junior military officers, the Ecole des Sous-Officiers (ESO). The school housed some one hundred soldiers and served as the headquarters for the military command of Butare and Gikongoro prefectures. Its senior officers lived in Buye, not at the camp. Tumba and the two sectors known as the Cyarwas (Cyarwa-Cyimana and Cyarwa-Sumo) lay beyond the university and included some substantial residences of university or medical professionals, as well as more modest homes. The headquarters of the National Police, located in Tumba, commanded some 300 gendarmes, the majority based in the town of Butare and with a second important group at Nyabisindu in the northern part of the prefecture. A week or ten days after the start of the genocide, some 120 of the NationalPolicemen were transferred north to the battlefront.3 The semi-rural sectors of Matyazo in the north of the commune and Nkubi and Sahera in the south represented the transition from the town to countryside beyond. The main street of town was paved as were short sections of intersecting roads, but other roads were dirt or gravel.
The military camps in Butare were troubled by the same regional and political divisions that existed elsewhere in the armed forces. Gen. Marcel Gatsinzi, the local commander of all forces in Butare and Gikongoro, was from Kigali and Lt. Col. Tharcisse Muvunyi, who replaced him when he was briefly named chief of staff on April 6, was from Byumba. Neither was associated with the Hutu Power advocates from the northwest. Capt. Ildephonse Nizeyimana of the junior officers school was from the northwest and was reportedly a relative of Bagosora. Nominally subordinate to the other two, he could and did ignore their orders or act counter to them. Symbolic of the power relationships among the officers was the number of their guards. General Gatsinzi had six men while Nizeyimana, only a captain, had twelve, all of them from his home region of Ruhengeri. Acknowledged leader of the hard-line military group in Butare, Nizeyimana was celebrated in local songs for his virulent hatred of Tutsi. The chief of Ngoma camp, Lt. Ildephonse Hategekimana, stood with Nizeyimana although he was not himself from the northwest. A subordinate officer recently posted to Ngoma, Lt. (jg) Niyonteze, backed up Hategekimana.4
Among the National Police, the commander Cyriaque Habyarabatuma had been counted as a fair-minded moderate since 1990 when he had helped Tutsi and members of the political opposition arrested by President Habyarimana. Nizeyimana could not tolerate Habyarabatuma and in the days just after the start of the genocide Habyarabatuma believed that Nizeyimana was preparing to kill him. Habyarabatumas second in command, Maj. Alfred Rusigariye, originallyfrom Gisenyi, supported the genocidal line of Nizeyimana and Hategekimana rather than the policy of his superior.5
Following the February 1994 troubles, the general staff transferred to Butare several soldiers and police who supported the Hutu Power position. Once combat resumed, Kigali headquarters on occasion rotated fresh troops from Butare to the front and sent men who had been in combat to Butare. The soldiers who had been fighting the RPF, and particularly those who had been wounded in battlewere reportedly more ruthless against Tutsi than others.6
Before the genocide, a small group of Presidential Guards protected the home in Buye of Dr. Séraphin Bararengana, a physician who was President Habyarimanas brother. Once Sindikubwabo was named interim president, a contingent of Presidential Guards established a small post outside his house which was situated just at the entry of Tumba, a short distance from the National Police headquarters. Outside the usual hierarchy, the Presidential Guards were commanded directly from Kigali, but they often frequented the ESO, where they had links with Nizeyimana and other Hutu Power advocates.7
Prefect Habyalimana had been a professor at the university and knew that the intellectual community was split between those for and those against Hutu Power. As early as 1990, some professors had provided the intellectual justifications for what would become Hutu Power and had reportedly even participated in drafting the Ten Commandments of the Bahutu. Since that time, they had supplied propaganda declarations to influence the international community to favor Habyarimana. (See above.) The vice-rector of the university, Jean-Berchmans Nshimyumuremyi, led this group and overshadowed the rector, who was reportedly far more moderate. Increasingly alienated from colleagues who were Tutsi or tolerant of Tutsi, these hard-liners encouraged similar sentiments among students. In 1993 students who backed President Habyarimana insisted on creating a newstudent organization, the Rwandan Student League (Ligue des Etudiants du Rwanda, LIDER) to rival the established General Association of Rwandan National University Students (Association Generale des Etudiants de lUniversité Nationale du Rwanda, AGEUNR). In that year, too, Habyarimanas supporters demonstrated outside the university and threatened to close it down. They were led by the wife of the university rector, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, minister of family and womens affairs and their son, Shalom Anselme Ntahobari, a one-time student who had dropped out of the university and who would become the most important local militia leader in Butare town after April 6.8
The Militia and Political Parties
In the period just before the genocide, there was little indication of the problems to be posed by the militia after April 6. The MRND, the CDR, and the MDR had too few adherents to have built up significant groups of trained men in the town or in most of the communes of Butare. As discussed above, militia had begun training in Nyakizu in September and October 1993, and, according to witness testimony, young men from the commune of Maraba had been secretly taught military skills beginning at about the same time. At least three recruits had left Maraba for about a month, transported in the vehicle of the commune to some unknown destination for further training.9 Another member of the Interahamwe, active in Butare during the genocide, reported that he had been trained in Kigali.10 Militia from outside Butare had reportedly arrived after April 6 and lodged quietly in a local motel until April 19 when they moved to other quarters, on orders from the military. Although the presence of this group was not generally noticed, people had remarked that armed strangers, either militia or disguised Presidential Guards, were quartered at the Rwandan Match Company (Société Rwandaise des Allumettes, SORWAL). Questioned about this at a public meeting in the early daysof the genocide, Prefect Habyalimana wrongly declared that there were no unknown armed persons at the match factory.11
While organized anti-Tutsi militia were not widely seen in Butare before early April, young supporters of PSD, the party which dominated politics in town and in a number of communes, caused trouble in February 1994. Enraged by the assassination the previous day of Felicien Gatabazi, the popular PSD leader, a crowd of young men caught and lynched Martin Bucyana, the national head of the CDR who was popularly held responsible for the crime. When members of the PSD were arrested and charged with Bucyanas murder, party leaders organized a demonstration demanding that they be released and used quieter forms of pressure as well to slow the investigation. In the days after Bucyanas murder, PSD members threatened proponents of Hutu Power generally and northerners in particular. The CDR leaders at Tumba, Deputy Laurent Baravuga and Simeon Remera, believed it necessary to take shelter temporarily at the police brigade. At this time, when Tutsi were being killed in Kigali, advocates of Hutu Power made their own threats against Tutsi and friends of Tutsi. At the university, some Tutsi and opponents of the MRND felt so threatened that they moved from their campus dormitories into town.12
Several hundred Burundians lived in town, including some university students, teachers, and other professionals who had been refugees for some years, and unemployed young men who had found their way into town from refugee camps or directly from Burundi. Many of the more than 100,000 refugees in the camps headed back to Burundi after April 6, but some 65,000 were still in Butare prefecture in May, including hundreds who had undergone military training in the camps. Well aware of the attitudes and experience of these young refugees, theprefect from the start insisted that the refugees be provided with adequate food in order to minimize the risk of their turning to violence.13Early Violence
On the two days after the plane was shot down, Butare people stayed at home as directed by the Ministry of Defense over the radio. Satisfied with the relative calm, the prefect ordered public services resumed and markets opened on April 9. Soldiers from the Ngoma camp, however, notified at midnight April 6 of Habyarimanas death, had already begun killing Tutsi on April 7. A few went out from Ngoma camp and brought back young men tied up in the back of their pickup truck, beating them on the way. The next day soldiers from the camp, including some recently arrived northerners, picked up twelve young men from Matyazo. When notified of the detentions, Major Habyarabatuma secured the release of one or more of the men, but at least one of the others, Jean-Bosco Rugomboka was tortured by being burned with an iron and then killed by stabbing. One rumor that was circulated to justify his murder was that he had been caught in the process of planning to kill Hutu. Because Rugomboka had been a PSD supporter and because PSD members had repeatedly challenged northerners and Hutu Power supporters after the deaths of Gatabazi and Bucyana, some Hutu took the rumor so seriously that they left Ngoma temporarily for Nyakizu and other places outside of town. Another rumor, apparently lent credence by being repeated by Joseph Kanyabashi, burgomaster of Ngoma, at a public meeting five days later, was that Rugomboka had been found in possession of a RPF tee shirt. On Monday, April 11, Ngoma soldiers arrested eight young men and women who had just returned home to Butare on foot from Kigali. They tortured them as they had Rugomboka, killed them and dumped their bodies near the road leading out of town to the Burundi border, perhaps as a warning to any who were considering fleeing the country.14
The military used not just threats, arrests and violence but also political action to pull the young Hutu of Ngoma to their side. Between April 7 and 21, groups of young men, many of them supporters of the PSD, reportedly spent a few daysbeing indoctrinated at the ESO. They returned to the streets of Ngoma far more hostile towards Tutsi and more supportive of Hutu Power.15
Not many Butare residents knew of the first killings by the soldiers, but many saw the smoke of houses set aflame in neighboring Gikongoro on April 7 and 8. On April 9, Butare people received the first displaced persons from Gikongoro into the western communes of Runyinya, Maraba, and Nyakizu. Major Habyarabatuma sent National Police to the border of Gikongoro to protect the displaced persons and to try to keep out their assailants. Burgomasters of Runyinya and Maraba organized Hutu and Tutsi to defend their communities from invasion by the assailants. Displaced persons began arriving also in northeastern Butare, coming from adjacent communes in Kigali and Gitarama. National Police were sent to the commune of Ntyazo to protect against attacks from those prefectures.16
Preoccupied by evidence of disturbances in neighboring regions, the prefect and others witnessed the passage on April 9 of convoys of foreigners fleeing south to Burundi. They recognized that their hasty departure reduced the chances of any foreign intervention to halt the slaughter. Two of a small U.N. contingent present in Butare during the first week of April appeared at the funeral of the young Tutsi Rugomboka on Sunday, April 10. They inquired about the circumstances of the murder, but they did nothing, neither then nor in the ten days remaining before they left town.17
Trying to Keep Control
The prefect called burgomasters and sub-prefects to report on the situation at an urgent meeting of the prefectural security council on Sunday morning, April 10. The sub-prefect of Nyabisindu began by reporting rumors that Presidential Guards had arrived in town and that soldiers were going around checking on the names of owners of various houses. Some forty-five children had been sent to take refuge in the church or elsewhere. Some people had received threats over the telephone and gunfire had been heard in the middle of the night. The burgomaster of Nyabisindu commune added that his house had been attacked during the night and that many people had chosen to spend the night outside, fearing murder if they slept at home. The burgomaster of Nyaruhengeri reported threats against religious sisters who rana clinic and the burgomaster of Muyira stated that soldiers and civilians armed with traditional weapons had come into his commune from Kigali prefecture and killed one person and pillaged goods. The burgomaster of Runyinya declared that military and civilian authorities in Gikongoro were doing nothing to combat violence in that prefecture and that more than a thousand displaced persons had fled into his commune.18
After listening to the lengthening list of problems, the prefect stressed that Responsibility belongs to the burgomasters. Recognizing that crises elsewhere could spill over into their areas, he directed them to keep order by combating rumors and providing the necessary supplies to the fast-growing groups of displaced persons. He announced that he would go to Nyabisindu to deal himself with the problem of military men19 who were challenging the civilian authorities. Lieutenant Colonel Muvunyi apparently supported the prefect by urging the authorities to fight anything that could set one ethnic group against the other. He urged that troublemakers be identified and held responsible should anything happen. Speaking from a different point of view, the commander of Ngoma camp, insisted that all those who spread rumors to discredit the army be identified, presumably a reference to the report about military misbehavior in Nyabisindu.20
The prefect, no doubt well aware of problems with soldiers and police in Butare town as well as in Nyabisindu, reacted promptly the next day when he heard that a group of soldiers from the ESO had entered Ngoma church to look for ibyitso, accomplices of the RPF. He called the parish priest and insisted that he never again acquiesce in such a search unless it were authorized by a proper warrant.21
On April 11, Habyalimana refused the summons to a meeting of all prefects with the new government in Kigali. Some say that he had been warned of a plot to assassinate him en route, but he might also have been simply trying to decide how far to obey the interim government.22 The next day, April 12, when the DefenseMinistry announcement and Karamiras speech on the radio showed that the interim government was bent on genocide, Habyalimana again refused an order of national authorities. The general staff directed the Butare prefecture to deliver no more authorizations to Rwandans to leave the country. Several hours later, the prefect, backed by the prefectural security council, directed the local head of the immigration service to give the necessary papers to Rwandans trying to flee with foreign religious sisters. The next day, the sisters were stopped by a soldier who appeared to be on drugs at a barrier just south of Butare town. He refused to allow the Rwandans to pass and took them away to police headquarters. One of the sisters appealed to passing U.N. soldiers for help, but they said they could do nothing. She next appealed to a high-ranking military officer, probably Lieutenant Colonel Muvunyi, who arranged for one of his officers to escort the Rwandans beyond the barrier.23
The order prohibiting travel authorizations was one of the last direct telephone communications received by authorities in Butare from the national government. On the night of April 12, long-distance telephone service was cut leaving Habyalimana and others in outlying prefectures isolated. They would continue to receive information delivered over the radio and to communicate with other officials through brief messages transmitted by telegram. But no longer could they engage in substantive dialogues with distant authorities nor could they quickly and easily exchange information or verify official claims with like-minded colleagues in the capital.
At the security meeting on Wednesday morning, April 13, Habyalimana discussed the disintegrating situation. He acknowledged that military officers in Gikongoro were encouraging the troubles, that civilian authorities in Nyabisinduby which he meant the sub-prefectwere not telling people the truth, and that the ordinary people were beginning to participate in the disorder. He stressed again that the people had no right to make their own laws, that they had no excuse for threatening others, and that they could not set up patrols and barriers that were not officially authorized. Although he directed that government services reopen and that the curfew be lifted to reassure people and to restore some sense of normality to life, he also prepared for a continuing crisis by requisitioning vehicles and fuel, along with stocks of food to provide for the rapidly increasing flow of displaced persons.24
Prefect Habyalimana ordered his subordinates to hold meetings throughout the prefecture to try to calm people and prevent disorder. At one such meeting at the stadium on April 14, he tried to reassure the residents of Ngoma. A university professor, Jean-Marie Vianney Maniraho, stood to ask why there were so many soldiers out of their camp and present in town and a farmer from an outlying area asked in a quavering voice why people were burning houses in nearby Maraba commune. The prefect responded that citizens would be protected as guaranteed by law. Repeating his advice to the priest of Ngoma church, he stressed that citizens should not permit searches of their homes or arrest by any person who did not produce the appropriate warrant.25 Burgomaster Kanyabashi and Major Habyarabatuma delivered similar guarantees of protection to more than 500 displaced persons from Gikongoro who were gathered at a health clinic in Matyazo. In the commune of Ndora, the burgomaster told Tutsi that there was no threat and that they should return to their homes at night instead of sleeping out of doors.26
The reassurances rang hollow as people began arriving in Butare, bearing news of disasters elsewhere, worst of all the massacre of thousands at Kibeho church just across the Gikongoro border on the night of April 14. Early reports by those who had fled the carnage, including the parish priest Abbe Pierre Ngoga, were confirmed by the staff of Doctors Without Borders (Medecins sans Frontiers, MSF) who were turned back a few hundred yards short of the church on the morning of April 15. En route to treat the wounded and carrying a general letter of authorisation signed by Lieutenant Colonel Muvunyi, they were stopped and forced to leave by drunk militia and communal policemen who told them that Muvunyis authorisation meant nothing to them. As they turned their cars and drove away, they heard heavy gunfire and many screams. They returned to their base in Butare town and informed the authorities.27
At a meeting of the prefectural security council on April 15, the prefect reported on the Kibeho massacre and then summed up the situation in various parts of the prefecture. Most serious was the problem at Nyakizu, where some 20,000people were massed at the church complex and where many Tutsi homes had been burned down. Assailants, some of them armed with guns and grenades, were crossing into Butare at various points along the border with Gikongoro. The numbers of displaced persons in other communes adjacent to Gikongoro continued to mount and some 1,000 people were gathered at the Burundi frontier, stopped by border guards and soldiers from crossing the river. A policeman in Maraba was shooting at innocent people and an assistant burgomaster had been caught in the act of pillaging with the population. In several communes, including Nyakizu, Maraba, and Runyinya, assailantsboth local and from outside the prefecturehad killed Tutsi. Despite all this bad news, there had been no major catastrophes as of the morning of April 15 and most of the troubles had been imported into the prefecture from the outside. Officials had organized patrols and barriers, with Hutu and Tutsi working on them together, just as they were standing together against incursions from outside.28
The prefect and security council imposed a total curfew in communes where there had been violence. The next day, April 16, they sent teams of officials to these areas to try to restore calm.29
Responding to Attacks from Gikongoro
While other officials tried to restore order after the fact, the prefect himself tried to address the cause of the problem by meeting with the Gikongoro prefect. At the end of the session, the two prefects issued a communique that seems to have represented a compromise between Habyalimana, who rejected the new authorities and Bucyibaruta, the MRND loyalist, who did not want to challenge them. They did not recite the virtually obligatory historical preamble that blamed the RPF for the crisis, but neither did they acknowledge the official role in the attacks. Instead they attributed the extent of the disturbances to the famine that had disrupted the local economy. They named the communes in Gikongoro where people had been killed, thus making clear exactly which officials were meant by their otherwise general appeal to prefectural authorities at all levels to halt the violence. In an effort to end the attacks against Butare, they forbade any travel outside the sector, except for reasons of work, and any gathering of people into groups.
The prefects broke with the official myth that the Tutsi were the aggressors and the Hutu the victims trying only to defend themselves. They ordered local officials to establish barriers and patrols against troublemakers and wrongdoers.By using these simple words instead of the code terms for Tutsiinfiltrators, accomplices, enemy, Inyenzi, and Inkotanyithe prefects showed that they wanted action against the real criminals, not against those targeted by the government. Other authorities had been instructing the population to listen to the radio and follow its orders, but the two prefects urged people to avoid being misled by rumors and to listen with a very critical ear to everything said on all radios. They asked the authorities to prosecute those who spread false information and they asked people to report to the authorities anyone who possessed unauthorized firearms. They urged the army, the public prosecutors and local officials all to make full use of the law to prevent and punish any and all acts of violence. And, in a final indication of how alone they felt in confronting the catastrophe, they entreated the government to restore long-distance telephone service.30
In their communique, the prefects failed to mention the one obvious cause of the violence. When summarizing the statement for the prefectural security council the next morning, Habyalimana added the element omitted in the published statement: extremists.31
Dealing with the Displaced
On April 15, assailants attacked the estimated 20,000 displaced persons at Cyahinda church in Nyakizu and on the 16th, they continued killing throughout the day. This tragedy brought to the prefecture the large-scale slaughter experienced elsewhere in Rwanda and underscored the risk that such massacres might be staged wherever significant numbers of Tutsi gathered. The radio insisted over and over that infiltrators were hidden among the displaced and that they were planning to attack the Hutu as they moved into their communes.32
On April 16 and 17, prefectural authorities began sending displaced persons to centers some distance from Butare town, attempting also to disarm them whenever possible, even though they were carrying only traditional weapons. In a number of communes, including Ruhashya, Mbazi, and Nyaruhengeri, burgomasters at this time or soon after refused to allow the displaced to congregate at the communal offices, apparently on orders from their superiors. They directed them instead to other locations, such as a stadium or church. Some of those refused refuge at the Ruhashya communal offices went to the Institute of Agricultural Sciences of Rwanda (Institut des Sciences Agronomiques du Rwanda, ISAR) at Rubona.33
On April 16, Burgomaster Kanyabashi and Lieutenant Hategekimana directed the more than 1,500 displaced persons at the Matyazo health center to move to Karama church in Runyinya or to Simbi church in Maraba. Abbé Jerome Masinzo of Ngoma church and Catholic lay leader Laurien Ntezimana insisted that the displaced not be moved until the security of the locations had been checked. Ntezimana went first to Runyinya and found the area already burning. The next day, Lieutenant Hategekimana insisted that Abbé Masinzo escort the displaced to Simbi. When the Abbé and Ntezimana set out with the group, they found Simbi also besieged. Only when they brought the displaced back to Ngoma and presented the lieutenant with a fait accompli did he agree to leave them at Matyazo.34 That same day, authorities sent nearly 500 people who arrived in Sahera sector of Ngoma south to Nyumba church in the commune of Gishamvu and directed others at the Nyakibanda seminary to move to Nyumba also. No one checked the security of these locations. The displaced were apparently transferred to both places, the sites of massacres soon after.35
Habyalimana feared that the 3,000 people waiting to cross the boundary into Burundi would be massacred if they did not move away from the frontier. At the time, Radio Rwanda was inciting people of the region to attack them. On the 8 p.m. news on April 16, it had declared that the gathering of displaced persons near the frontier was meant to open a new front in the war. It concluded The government is appealing to the population to remain vigilant and help restore order andpeace.36 When soldiers moved the displaced back to a small commercial center called Nkomero, a prefectural delegation, apparently including Habyalimana, went to preach calm and to promise them aid.37
The military authorities presumably made the decisions about regrouping the displaced persons at certain sites, about disarming them, and about moving them back from the frontier. But Habyalimana himself and other civilian and church leaderssome of them Tutsi like Habyalimanapersuaded the displaced to cooperate in these measures.38 Perhaps they had no choice. Or perhaps they hoped to undercut the government strategy of presenting the agglomerations as a threat to local Hutu. By having Tutsi surrender their weapons and move away from sensitive locations, like the town and the frontier, Habyarimana and others may have hoped to demonstrate that the Tutsi had no intention of taking the offensive.Prefect Habyalimana Removed
After meeting with the Gikongoro prefect on Saturday, Habyalimana spent the weekend dealing with one crisis after another. The violence had spread from its first major center along the western frontier in the communes of Maraba, Runyinya and Nyakizu, to adjacent communes further to the east and south in Huye, Gishamvu, Kigembe, Muganza, and Nyaruhengeri. Another center of violence that had been established in the northeast by raids from Kigali and Gitarama was expanding south and west through the commune of Muyira. The attacks were no longer the work of outsiders alone: people from Butare were taking up their machetes to join killers from Gikongoro and the other prefectures.
Attackers from Maraba commune had begun burning the sector of Sovu in Huye commune, driving women and children to the Sovu health center and Rugango church. The men of Huyestill Hutu and Tutsi togetherwere attempting to fend off the attackers.39
Assailants had driven some 1,000 persons, many from Nyakizu or Gikongoro, to seek refuge at the Kigembe communal office. In Nyaruhengeri, people werebeing conscripted by officials and political leaders to go attack Nyumba church in neighboring Gishamvu where, it was falsely alleged, a soldier had been killed. Others were being sent to attack Tutsi at Gisagara in Ndora commune and at Mugombwa in Muganza. They were told to take banana leaves with them. Some returned hurt and required medical attention while others who came back without injury were then dispatched to other sites.40
In the northeast of the prefecture, displaced persons continued to arrive in the commune of Muyira fleeing soldiers and other assailants from Kigali and Gitarama. Their attackers, too, had worn banana leaves and had covered their faces with chalk and ashes.41
In the early afternoon of April 17, other soldiers were driving the roads of Maraba and Runyinya in a red pickup truck, giving armed men who stood along the road the thumbs up sign. The attackers, who also wore banana leaves around their necks, shouted back with approval, Power! The church and adjacent buildings at Simbi in Maraba commune were full of displaced persons. A double row of armed assailants had encircled the buildings and were just waiting for the agreed-upon hour of 7 p.m. to begin the slaughter. A dense network of road blocks was in place to catch any Tutsi who tried to flee. One of the barriers was manned by a proud twelve-year-old, under the watchful eyes of adults nearby. He told a passerby that he had been present at the planning meeting where the hour of attack had been set. Asked why the Tutsi should be killed, he replied with assurance, Because they are evil.
According to a witness, Jean-Marie Vianney Habineza, the burgomaster of Maraba, was present at the church, wearing a pistol and accompanied by armed communal policemen that Sunday afternoon. When soldiers arrived to deliver an additional group of displaced persons from Ngoma commune, the burgomaster refused to accept them and complained that he had already told the Ngoma burgomaster Kanyabashi that morning to send him no more Tutsi. The displaced persons walked back to Ngoma to the sounds of whistles and the shouts of Power! from groups of children and young people along the way.42
Kanyabashi was supposedly astonished to learn that Simbi was besieged and promised to alert Lieutenant Colonel Muvunyi. Informed of the pending attack, theBishop of Butare also promised to call Muvunyi. A message was left too for Major Habyarabatuma, who was not at police headquarters. The National Policeman who took the message stated that Habyarabatuma was angry at the death of two of his men at Cyahinda and would not intervene again if it was just to have his policemen killed by Tutsi.43
Someone seeking to avert the disaster at Simbi also called Habyalimana, but was told by his wife that he was still at Nyakizu. By that time, Habyalimana could hardly have helped in any case. As the 8 p.m. news on Radio Rwanda announced, he was no longer prefect.44
That night a rotation of the troops took place. Captain Nizeyimana reportedly sent away those soldiers who showed no enthusiasm for killingTutsi civilians. This may also have been the time when about half the Butare contingent of the National Police was sent to the battlefront. It was not replaced in Butare.45
Hutu Power Gains in Butare
With the increasing raids from outside the prefecture, the multiplication of attacks within, and the incitement to violence by the military, Habyalimana and those associated with him were clearly losing ground to the forces of genocide. Other administrators and political leaders, motivated by fear or opportunism, then followed the lead of the Nyakizu burgomaster and began inciting people in their areas to genocide. Many were anxious to profit from or at least not to be excluded by the forces shaping the radically and rapidly changing political situation. François Ndungutse, a native of Shyanda commune and one of the few leaders left at national level in the PSD, reportedly helped push the PSD towards the side of Hutu Power. The one important party to have resisted the efforts to divide it in 1993, the PSD had lost most of its national leaders during the first days of the killings in Kigali and Ndungutse apparently hoped to strengthen it by cooperating more closely with the MRND. Observers in town noticed that the young men of PSD were drinking and strolling the streets with soldiers and before long, those who had worn the hats of the PSD were seen sporting the caps of MRND or even the CDR. One remarked:
The PSD was strong in Butare, but after April 6, there was no more PSD. There was only two ethnic groups, Tutsi and Hutu: Tutsi to be killed and Hutu to be killed if they didnt want to kill.46
Adherents of the MRND hoped to reassert their hold over at least some parts of Butare prefecture while supporters of MDR, particularly MDR-Power, saw the opportunity to establish a base as Ntaganzwa had done in Nyakizu. These supporters of Hutu Power, including even those of the CDR, moved quickly to exploit the new cooperative spirit that they found among members of the PSD.47
Massacre at Simbi
Burgomaster Habineza of Maraba was one official who changed abruptly from an opponent to a supporter of killings. At first, he had led Hutu and Tutsi from his commune to the border to fight off incursions from neighboring Gikongoro. When assailants penetrated to the vicinity of the church where Tutsi had taken shelter, he went to the nearby playing field of the school to frighten them off by firing his pistol.48
The raiders from Gikongoro, wearing banana leaves and carrying machetes, hoes, and clubs, were backed by men with firearms, either former soldiers or National Police. Some assailants wore a kind of cannister on their backs from which they sprayed gasoline on houses before setting them alight. Vehicles followed behind carrying fuel to refill the cannisters as needed. The assailants access to fuel and vehicles, already under state controls, was further proof of official sponsorship of the attacks.49
When Habineza was unable to halt the attacks, backed as they were by officials of the neighboring prefecture, he asked support from the prefecture. The prefectural security council on April 15 sent several National Policemen along with the public prosecutor Mathias Bushishi and a sub-prefect named Evariste Bicamumpaka to Maraba. From the point of view of the prefect, the delegation was meant to reinforce Habinezas efforts to keep order; and they did actually arrest an assistant burgomaster who was accused of encouraging the attacks. According to observers in the commune, however, the burgomaster stopped opposing the genocide soon after this visit. Some believe that one of the visitors took the burgomaster aside and persuaded him to give in to the violence.
Whatever changed the mind of the burgomaster, his decision was soon clear. He unexpectedly insisted that the Tutsi leave the church and move to a camp where they would be more exposed to attack. After the parish priests protested, he did allow them to remain in the church but he took away one group, largely of girls and young women. He was supposedly transporting them to a safer location, but they were never heard from again.50 At about that same time, Habineza tolerated, if he did not actually encourage, the murder of the local judicial inspector, a man with whom he had often had conflicts in the past. When a group of young men armed with spears and machetes raided the home of the judicial inspector, he fled to the nearby home of the burgomaster. Habineza refused to let him in. As the judicial inspector turned away, he was struck in the back with a machete. Reportedly, the head of the communal police took him to the brigade to finish him off.51
Many in the commune followed the lead of the burgomaster. As one witness remarked,
In the first days, the refugees [i.e., the Tutsi] would walk out and around the area, go out of the church to buy sorghum beer and so on. But, after April 15, no one would serve them beer. This was just one sign that things were changing.52
The first group of National Police to come to Maraba had worked to keep order, but after April 17 another team came with the opposite goal. They arrivedin Nyangazi sector of Maraba in a pickup truck and found a group of people pillaging the homes of Tutsi. Seeing that the assailants hesitated to kill, the police encouraged them. The witness declared:
Right over there the National Police killed Hategeka because he was pillaging the house of Gasarabwe and they ordered him to kill, not to just pillage. Hategeka was armed with a grenade and a machete [but he was not killing]. After the police had killed Hategeka, the people killed some of those who were fleeing, a man called Kabera and a woman called Mukakaremera and her seven children. The National Police went on towards Ruhashya.53
Maraba assailants borrowed methods and equipment from the Gikongoro attackers: they too used the portable spray devices to make it easier to burn houses quickly. A driver who worked for the commune reportedly used one of the commune pickup trucks to supply the arson squads with fuel.54
Hundreds of assailants, some local, some from Gikongoro, attacked the Simbi church and health center at about 9 a.m. on April 18. They wore banana leaves and had chalk on their faces and they made a lot of noise with drums and shouting. One priest, who was Tutsi, had escaped the night before and the other, who was Hutu, was in the church baptizing people in anticipation of their imminent deaths when one of the attackers threw a grenade into the building. The killers slaughtered all day and into the night, then stopped to feast on the cattle that they had looted. They returned to resume the slaughter on April 19 and 20. According to one survivor from Maraba, some of the killers were like madmen, but many others had been forced by the authorities to kill.55
Eight soldiers, who had arrived in a red pickup truck, directed the massacre with the help of communal policemen. On the first day, a second group of uniformed men also arrived, driving in a van, apparently to ensure that the others did not need help. The soldiers in the van distributed grenades to assailants as it drove around the area. The burgomaster, armed and present before the attack, was not reported seen during the slaughter itself.
Most of the 3,000 to 5,000 persons in the church and outbuildings at the time of the attack were slain. The few who escaped were caught in the dense web ofbarricades that covered roads and paths at every ten paces.56 During the attack, three Hutu nuns were killed, apparently because they opposed the pillage of the health center.
Burgomaster Habineza rewarded with one kilogram of rice each person who helped bury the victims in shallow graves around the church. The rice had been stored by church authorities for distribution to the hungry.57
Habineza reportedly participated in the pillage of the health center and subsequently confiscated valuable goods from ordinary people who had looted them from Tutsi homes. He almost immediately organized local meetings to divide up the fields of those who had been killed.58
Massacre at Kansi
In the commune of Nyaruhengeri also, local leaders decided that April 18 was the time to begin large-scale killing. Until that day, Hutu and Tutsi had worked together at road blocks and on patrols. Near the church of Kansi, Tutsi teachers had at first been afraid to take their places at the barrier and did so only after Hutu had promised that they would not harm them. Thousands of people had sought shelter in the church and adjacent buildings after the burgomaster, Charles Kabeza, had refused to let displaced persons come to the communal offices. Saying he had been ordered not to allow them to gather at the offices, he had put a barrier in place to keep them at a distance. The parish priests had sought without success to get the Red Cross to provide food for the displaced, who were also lacking water.59
In the afternoon of April 18, retired soldiers or military men in civilian dress came to goad Hutu into attacking Tutsi at the barrier near the church. At first the Hutu hesitated, but then they began to throw stones at the Tutsi, who threw stones back. That night, armed men attacked the church complex and killed some Tutsi. The next morning workers warned the priests, who had spent the night in the rafters of the church, that a major attack would come that night. The priests, who had notbeen able to get even food for the displaced despaired of getting any protection for them. They advised the crowd to flee, but leaders of the group asked Flee to where? Many were already weakened by lack of food and water. Unable to save the thousands of people, one of the priests gave them absolution and left. As he passed behind the church, he was caught by an assailant who put his machete to the priests neck and warned him to stay clear of the killing that was going to take place.60
That afternoon assailants killed the director of the school outside the convent of the Bernadine sisters. Shortly after, former soldiers and communal councilors led thousands of armed men in attacking the church and school buildings, beginning with grenades and finishing with machetes. In a few hours of intense slaughter, they killed between 10,000 and 10,500 persons. During the attack leaders used plastic whistles to direct the activities of the killers. Among the killers were Burundian refugees who had been housed at the Nyange camp not far from the church.61
The next day, one of the priests found ten or fifteen survivors outside the main door of the church. As he stood talking with them, he heard assailants blowing their whistles in the same rhythm that they had used the day before. From the woods behind him, a crowd surged forward and killed the survivors before his eyes. When the priest later entered the classrooms, the killers once more came after him and killed babies who had survived the massacre of the day before. When he asked them why they were murdering infants, they replied, They are the enemy.62
For the next six days, local people were too occupied with searching for survivors and plundering to help dispose of the bodies. Dogs came to eat some of them. After the six days, the burgomaster sent men to help with the burial. The church paid for the labor.
Pillagers made off with everything portable from the church and school buildings, even items for which they had no possible use. When the burgomaster appealed for the return of some of the goods, people did bring them back. Some who regretted having killed asked the clergy, Will God punish us?63
The Hutu at the barrier who had promised the Tutsi teachers that they would not harm them kept their promise. Burundian refugees killed them instead.64
On April 18, the same day as the massacres at Simbi and Kansi, administrative officials and political leaders launched the slaughter of between 2,000 and 3,000 people who had taken refuge at the communal offices in the commune of Kigembe, just south of Nyaruhengeri.65 On the same day, assailants spread out over the hills of the commune Huye, burning and killing in all sectors except Mpare.66 And in the northeast, assailants from outside the prefecture and others from the commune of Muyira drove Tutsi, including those displaced from further north, from Muyira into Ntyazo, just to the south.67Welcoming the New Prefect
Although many had already moved to violence on or before the 18th, the first day when people became generally aware of Habyalimanas dismissal, the commune of Ngoma and others forming a protective shield to its northMbazi, Ruhashya, Mugusa, Shyanda, and Ndorawere largely, if not completely, quiet. In many places Hutu and Tutsi were still patrolling or guarding barriers together. In Mbazi, the burgomaster Antoine Sibomana had coordinated an effective defense of Hutu and Tutsi against attacks from the adjacent commune of Maraba, in one instance killing several of the assailants. He had arrested commune residents, including his own brother, who had attacked Tutsi.68 In the northeastern commune of Ntyazo, Hutu, and Tutsi came together for an effective defense that would last for ten days.69 Several burgomasters still hoped the armed forces would help them to keep the peace. The burgomaster of Runyinya, who had provided both protectionand food to people who had fled from Gikongoro, appealed to Major Habyarabatuma for additional help from the National Police. In a letter to the local military commander, the burgomaster of Ndora described how he had been able to intervene successfully to stop an attack against a man who was accused of hiding unknown persons in his house and asked the commander to send a patrol from time to time to quiet the troublemakers.70
In accord with orders from the prefect, many burgomasters and other officials held meetings about security between April 14 and 18. They organized patrols and guard duty on the barriers and they also addressed the fears felt by people, whether Hutu or Tutsi. One witness from the commune of Ngoma recalls such a meeting where Kanyabashi urged the people of Cyarwa to avoid violence and to fight together against attacks from Huye and Gikongoro, while others recall a similar session that he led in Rango to encourage resistance against attacks from Gishamvu.71 In a foreshadowing of events to come, Hutu Power advocates took over several of the meetings and used the occasions to frighten Hutu. At the meeting at Kabutare in Butare town, for example, Hutu pressed Tutsi to explain why they had sent their children away if they were not intending to cause trouble in the community. In a sector meeting in Tumba, also in Butare, a well-known local doctor, Sosthène Munyemana, reported wrongly that the RPF had attacked people in Kigembe and had caused fifteen people to flee to his home in Butare. Witnesses in the community declared that his speech and the angry reaction to it sparked dissension among Hutu and Tutsi who had previously worked well together to avoid violence.72
To hold together the dwindling island of peace in the swell of genocidal violence would have required great political skill and force of character. The man named by the interim government as prefect, Sylvain Nsabimana, was not known for these characteristics but rather for his cordial good nature and readiness to havea good time. The decision-makers had wanted to appoint someone from the PSD since the party was dominant in Butare and its young adherents were showing greater openness to Hutu Power. They hoped that a prefect from the PSD would be able to bring local people into line with government policy.
PSD leaders François Ndungutse and Etienne Bashamiki welcomed the idea and set about recruiting Nsabimana, an agronomist who headed the PSD in the commune of Mbazi, but had little experience with politics at the national level. At first Nsabimana refused the post, citing his lack of experience, but then he was swayed by the argument that it might go to the MRND if he did not take it. He and others in the PSD feared that a prefect from the MRND might harass the party (and perhaps Nsabimana himself) over PSD involvement in the February murder of CDR head Bucyana, a case that was still being investigated. Nsabimana maintains that he still had not actually accepted the offer when the interim government announced the appointment on the radio. Three days later he heard on the radio that the interim president was coming to install him in the post. Forced to decide whether to accept or not, he went that morning to buy a suit and then to be installed as prefect. He thus assumed a position of major responsibility in a government which had already made clear its genocidal program.73
Months later, Nsabimana learned that his appointment had been examined and approved by the executive committee of the Interahamwe, an indication of the power exerted at that time by the militia within the circles of government.74
The formalities of installation took place on the morning of April 19 in the Salle Polyvalente, a large auditorium on the main street of Butare, built to house meetings of the MRND in the closing days of the single-party era. The assemblage included a host of dignitaries of the interim government: Prime Minister Kambanda, Minister of Trade and Industry Justin Mugenzi, Minister of Family and Womens Affairs Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, Minister of Information Eliezer Niyitegeka, and Minister of Justice Agnes Ntamabyaliro. The interim president attended but, according to witnesses, came in late. Minister of Agriculture Straton Nsabumukunzi may have been there as well. Their presence underscored theimportance of the occasion and placed it firmly within the context of the program to extend the genocide which they had already begun executing the day before at the meeting with local officials in Gitarama. A number of high-ranking military officers were in the audience, as were most local burgomasters and councilors. The heads of various prefectural administrative departments, many of them Tutsi, were there as well.75
Callixte Kalimanzira, still temporarily in charge of the Ministry of the Interior, served as master of ceremonies for a program which included speeches by the president, the prime minister, the ministers Mugenzi and Niyitegeka, the newly appointed prefect, and the burgomaster of Ngoma. Contrary to usual practice and to emphasize the humiliation of the outgoing prefect, Habyalimana was not given the opportunity to speak. Once he was officially dismissed, Habyalimana was in effect told to leave and he did so. This further humiliation shocked some of those who had been his subordinates and roused their fears of a similar fate.76
The interim prime minister apparently spoke first. Declaring that the current conflict was the final war that had to be carried to its ultimate conclusion, he insisted that the government would no longer tolerate those who sympathised with the enemy and helped him by sapping the morale of the Rwandan army. He mentioned burgomasters who had supposedly gone for training with the RPF and asked that their colleagues warn them that the government was determined to win the war.77
Kanyabashi, the most senior burgomaster, both by length of service and because of the importance of his commune, responded to Kambandas speech.78 The Ngoma burgomaster presumably understood the threat implicit in the primeministers accusation about RPF training. Some months before, a group of PSD party members had gone to the RPF zone, supposedly for a friendly football match, but the rumor was that they had gone for military training with the RPF. Burgomasters who supported the PSD, as did Kanyabashi, would most likely have realized that their loyalty was in question simply because of their party affiliation, a reason to declare support for the government even if they did not feel obligated by party solidarity to endorse the new appointee. In Kanyabashis case, the pressure may well have been greater because he was known to have a Tutsi wife and because he had already been criticized so frequently for his friendships with Tutsi.79 The man described by some colleagues as supple and by others as an opportunist took the safe course of supporting a government that was carrying out a genocide. According to the transcript of the speech recorded and subsequently played over Radio Rwanda, he declared:
We promise you once more, as we have not stopped showing, that we support your government and that we will continue to do everything that is in our power to permit it to realise its objectives.
After professing support also for the army, he continued:
We will do everything in our power to keep our country from falling into the hands of the inyangarwanda (those who hate Rwanda), we will do everything in our power to make every citizen understand that national sovereignty is his concern. In addition, we will maintain security wherever this can be done while also trying to restore it wherever it is absent.
Perhaps revealing his discomfiture at having pronounced this endorsement, he remarked that it was difficult to find the right words, and then concluded that the people of Butare would put into action whatever was possible to protect the security of the prefecture.80
Interim President Sindikubwabo presented a seemingly casual series of remarks, directed primarily at the new prefect, whom he addressed with the affectionate term sha. He reviewed briefly the visits he had made the day before to Maraba, Nyakizu, and Nyumba church in Gishamvu, using the chance toreinforce the myth that the refugees gathered in these locations were armed with very sophisticated weapons, including rifles and grenades. Because of this, he said, they had badly frightened the local populations. Quoting the minister Mugenzi, he stressed that the refugees, the Tutsi, were being well fed and cared for in the churches while the great majority, the Hutu, received no such care as they wandered about in the pouring rain.
He chastised authorities in Gikongoro and Butare for requesting help from National Police who were needed for other obligations. Sindikubwabo recounted that he had asked in one commune if there were no more men there, meaning men who could deal with security problems themselves, only to be told that there were few left because most others were preoccupied with enriching themselves. This passage echoed the directives, like those heard at Nyundo, Nyakizu, and Maraba, that killing Tutsi was more important than pillaging them.
Stressing that each burgomaster was responsible for protecting his commune, Sindikubwabo told them, Act like adults and protect our prefecture. He insisted that officials could not hide behind excuses, such as not being in the office when there was work to be done. They could not just watch while others did the work.
In the harshest passages of the speech, he remarked that people of Butare were well known for their know-it-all attitude, for their approach of its not my business. He declared,
What this means is that the actors who only watch, the those who feel its not their business, should be exposed. Let them step aside for us and let us work and let them look from outside our circle. He who says thats not my business and Im even afraid, let him step aside for us. Those who are responsible of getting rid of such a person, let them do it fast. Other good workers who want to work for their country are there.
Referring back to the prime ministers mention of officials who had gone to the RPF for training, Sindikubwabo asked anyone acquainted with such people to get rid of them. He predicted that the interim government would win the war once it had eliminated those who felt the war was not their business.
Sindikubwabo excused himself for speaking in an almost authoritarian voice, but said he had to do so to make his audience understand the gravity of his message. Because the country was at war, these are not ordinary words. The interim president said that he had delivered only a part of his message because the way is still long. Before continuing the message, Sindikubwabo said, he would first observe the conduct of each person. I am speaking especially of the authorities. The implication was that the rest of his messagewith dismissals ofother officialswould follow if local authorities failed to join the killing campaign. He concluded by insisting,
...I want you to learn to understand us and to interpret our remarks as they are intended. You should understand the reason that pushes us to talk this way, analyze every word so that you understand why it was delivered in such a way and not in another. It is because we are living through extraordinary times. Jokes, laughing, taking things lightly, indifference, all must for the time being give way to work.81
Two of the ministers most known for their virulently anti-Tutsi views, Mugenzi and Niyitegeka, also spoke. Their remarks clearly were less important than those of Sindikubwabo, not only because they were lower in status than he, but also because they were not native to the region. Even so, their incitements to action multiplied the pressures on the listeners.82 When the formal addresses were finished, Jonathas Ruremesha, burgomaster of Huye, asked what he should say to the people of his commune who wanted to begin conflicts. As in the meeting in Gitarama the day before, the highest authorities stood back and allowed Mugenzi to respond for the government. He stated unequivocally, If the population gets angry, it should be allowed to do what it wants. Ruremesha reportedly decided at that point that he would make no further attempts to halt violence.83
After being sent from the auditorium that morning, Jean-Baptiste Habyalimana crossed the road to the prefectural offices. The main building, a long, decrepit one-story structure, faced a large expanse of beaten earth. The prefects office was at the far end, to the left. To the right stood the small and dark jail that housed prisoners arrested by the National Police. A witness at the prefecture on the morning of April 19 observed some 500 displaced persons gathered in front of the prefecture. As he watched, soldiers loaded men from the crowd into three trucks which departed full and returned empty about twenty minutes later. In an hourstime, the trucks made three roundtrips to an unknown destination. The women and children stayed at the prefecture. The witness, a foreigner who needed some assistance from the administration, sought out the prefect who was seated at the desk in his office. When he stated his business, Habyalimana said that he could not help because he was no longer prefect. As he was leaving, the visitor thanked Habyalimana for being one of the three men who had tried to keep the peace in Butare. Habyalimana asked, Which three? When the visitor mentioned Habyalimana, Major Habyarabatuma, and Kanyabashi, the former prefect exclaimed with anger and disgust, Kanyabashi! The visitor asked what Habyalimana would do next. He answered, I used to be a professor. I will probably go back to teaching. As he said this, he turned his face away so that his tears would not be seen.84
Disappointed though Habyalimana might have been in Kanyabashis performance, the burgomaster of Ngoma was, according to one witness, still trying to prevent the killing in the late afternoon of April 19. He told a crowded meeting at the Ngoma sector office that the slaughter must not happen, but he apparently could offer no concrete advice on how to avoid it.85
The day after his installation in office, the new prefect met with his predecessor to go over financial records and other paperwork related to the change in administration. Nsabimana agreed to allow Habyalimana to keep the two National Policemen who were supposed to protect him and to permit him and his family to remain in the official residence of the prefect, a modest house near the airport. After this meeting, Habyalimana went into hiding, stalked by Pauline Nyiramasuhuko and her collaborators.86
Nsabimana spent some time after Habyalimanas departure searching through documents in the prefects office and in a storeroom adjacent to the auditorium, looking for proof that his predecessor had actually supported the RPF as he had been told was the case. He found nothing. Similarly, he had been assured that the security service had files on burgomasters and others who had gone to RPF headquarters in Mulindi for military training, but none was ever produced to confirm the assertion.87
On the day Habyalimana left his post, Major Habyarabatuma came home in the late morning after having directed security patrols in various sectors. He found a telegram from the army general staff that had been delivered at about 9 a.m. ordering him to report to the battlefield in Kigali at 2 p.m. that same day. Deprived of about half the police under his command a few days before, he had experienced growing difficulty in getting compliance with his orders and had had to discipline some subordinates, even imprisoning a lieutenant, junior grade, who had participated in the Cyahinda massacre. Still he had remained an important presence in discouraging violence. His departure, like the replacement of Habyalimana, marked the defeat of forces opposed to the genocide. He left the National Police in Butare under the command of Major Rusigariye, who was known to support the slaughter.88South of Butare
By April 19, some 12,000 Rwandans had sought safety in Burundi. Many others wanted to leave, but just as the need for escape was becoming more pressing, so flight across the border was becoming more difficult. One man in Butare was able to convince a soldier to escort his wife to safety in return for 10,000 Rwandan francs (about U.S.$55), but few had that kind of resources or connections.89
Foreign aid workers witnessed the violence directed against residents of the area south of town and people trying to flee across the frontier. On the morning of April 19, several staff members of MSF drove the thirty-five miles south from Butare through the communes of Gishamvu and Kigembe to the Burundi frontier to pick up some medical supplies. They had to pass through twenty to twenty-five road blocks, most of them made out of rocks and limbs of trees. The most important, such as the one just outside Butare and another near the frontier, were manned by soldiers, some of them armed with machine guns and grenades. Others were guarded by civilians with machetes and one or two men with firearms. At several places, the MSF staff noticed men wearing bright yellow wool scarves, as had Interahamwe both at the Kibeho church massacre and in the town of Butare. Guards were interested in checking the identity papers only of Africans in thegroup. At one barrier, they examined the cargo in the pickup truck asking Are you carrying Tutsi?90
When the cars reached one of the road blocks in Gishamvu, the staff began seeing dead bodies alongside the barriers and scattered among the houses. Dr. Rony Zachariah saw people being pulled violently out of their houses and handed over to groups of two, three, or four people who were armed with machetes. Often the victims were made to sit down before being struck. He recalled the entire landscape being spotted with corpses virtually all the way to the border. In some of the piles, there were between sixty and eighty corpses.
As the MSF convoy approached the border, Zachariah saw a group of ten militia armed with machetes chasing sixty to eighty people who were running on the road like cattle in a stampede. Zachariah recalled:
In front of us there was a man who looked very elderly to me because he had white hair. He could not run so fast and he stumbled. The militia [member] took his machete and he hit him with the machete on the side of the neck, right there before our eyes, directly in front of our car. We could see the blood that was gushing out....It was done in such a professional manner that he was cut, there was blood gushing out and the old man just fell down in the middle of the tarmac. The militia [member] started chasing the group of people along with the others. It was very close to the car, so I had to swerve the car in such a way that I would not drive over him. I tried to get past this group of peopleand the people were trying to get into the car. They were crying for help, Take us in! But we had raised the window glass and the doors were locked. We could not take anybody in. We crossed [passed] them and we reached the border. But at the border there was another group of militia that was waiting. All these civilians, sixty to eighty of them were pursued and hacked to death. There were six, perhaps ten, that managed to cross the bridge between Rwanda and Burundi with their wounds.91
A representative of Action Internationale Contre la Faim (AICF) who had come from Bujumbura to meet a convoy from Butare wrote a description of a similar scene that he witnessed at the same crossing point several days later. At one moment, everything was quiet at the border, where the two barriers marking each side were separated by two hundred yards of paved road. Suddenly a crowd surgedover the top of a nearby hill, some twenty Tutsi being chased by many others, and rushed towards the frontier.
The witness described the total unreality of the scene; he had trouble believing that he was really seeing the blows fall and hearing the cries and moans:
My position made the situation even more hallucinatory; alone, I stood deliberately in the middle of the carnage. I was so naive as to believe that my presence might restrain the violence of the assailants, so I stayed in the middle of the slaughter. But they paid no attention at all to me, completely cut off by their own rage. When one scene of violence began several yards of away, I went there, just to be there, to make my presence troubling, but at the same time, another was happening on the right and I wanted to go there too, then another and still another, always the same thing, a man trying to flee and the others catching him and hitting him, a man on the ground not even trying to protect himself, immobilized by the blows, resigned, and other men crushing his flesh with blows of clubs and machetes, spears, bows, and arrows.
The assailants did not finish off a victim, but injured each just enough to immobilize him before going after another. The witness continued:
Not everyone was armed with weapons, but everyone was armed with hate, ready to trip up a Tutsi who was passing, to slap in passing the miserable person who was running, out of breath, out of strength, who, exhausted fell flat on the macadam. Scarcely was he down when the blows fell with twice the force. Children...made a game of it all, following their older brothers in running after the Tutsi, throwing stones at them, and laughing at each Tutsi who was caught.
A Zairian who was also trying to cross the border stood next to his car, watching the scenes of horror. As broad as he was tall, massive and solid, the forty-year-old man was built to inspire respect. This man watched what was happening before his eyes and sobbed silently.
When the awaited convoy arrived, the aid worker went to get in his own car to lead them across the border. As he did so, two women with babies on their backs, ignored by the crowd, murmured a plea to be taken in one of the cars. The aid worker feared that doing so would attract the attention of the crowd to the cars and the Tutsi inside whom they were hoping to get across the border. He recalled thatI would have preferred dying on the spot to saying no to these women and condemning them to death, but that is what I had to do.92The Meeting of April 20
After having delivered his message to the administrators and politicians on April 19, Interim President Sindikubwabo carried the word to the population by visits to the Cyamukaza and Muzenga sectors of his home commune of Ndora, where he reportedly demanded violence against Tutsi even more bluntly than at the Butare meeting. He also delivered instructions to the people of other communes, such as Shyanda, and to the sub-prefectural center at Gisagara, where he apparently helped prepare assailants for the massacre that began the next day at Kabuye.93
On some of these visits, he was joined by Callixte Kalimanzira, who would appear in the region with growing frequency to prod and supervise the prefect and his subordinates into efficiently implementing the genocide. As a long-standing member of the MRND, Kalimanzira had little hope of being named prefect in a prefecture so hostile to his party, but he expected and was expected by others to run the prefecture through Nsabimana, given the new prefects lack of experience with the territorial administration. Sindikubwabo and Kalimanzira together allegedly put great pressure on those burgomasters who still hesitated to kill, such as Théophile Shyirambere of Shyanda, stressing that if they failed to perform satisfactorily and were removed their lives might be in danger.94
While the national authorities were reinforcing the message, the new prefect began the work of implementing it. He subsequently claimed that he did not go to his office between April 20 and 26 and that there was no one in charge during those days. He described the first week after he took office as total disorder.95 But the day after his installation he chaired a well-attended meeting of the prefectural security committee. Notes taken by a participant reflect a carefully planned agenda and a well-structured discussion. The participants agreed that infiltratorsaccounted for the mounting violence. Proceeding from the government doctrine that local Tutsi residents were in fact armed RPF agents, the participants agreed that such persons must be arrested and brought to the authorities; that military operations would be executed to disarm those who are armed; that search operations should be carried out whenever solid information indicated the need; and that administrative meetings should be held the next day with subordinate officials and other local leaders who could contribute to restoring security. They singled out several places as needing special attention, including the Burundi border and Nyakizu, with its problems of armed people, no doubt meaning the last resisters on top of Nyakizu hill. The participants also considered what to do at Maraba and concluded The burgomaster should work there first; he should identify everyone from his commune who is at Gihindamuyaga, a monastery where Tutsi had taken refuge.
Reflecting the wish to deal only with those who were their own responsibility, the participants stressed that refugees should go back home to be helped in their places of origin. Gikongoro people, in particular, should be the responsibility of Gikongoro authorities. Recognizing that all those without identity papers were likely to be killed, the participants declared that care should be taken to ensure that the innocent not become victims as well, no doubt meaning those Hutu who had fled their homes without the necessary documents.
Apparently planning ahead for the hunt that would follow the first massacres, the participants talked of eliminating hiding places, such as empty houses, and of directing all residents to cut the brush around their houses.
The participants dealt with some administrative arrangements to facilitate the restoration of security, such as exchanging information with Gikongoro authorities, and allocating fuel, which was in short supply.
Jean-Marie Vianney Gisagara, the burgomaster of Nyabisindu, known for his vigorous resistance against attackers from Gikongoro, was apparently the only one to openly dissent from the program. He described the grief among the people in his commune over the removal of the previous prefect and over the deaths of their relatives. He reported that they were discussing creating a territorial base to resist the genocide.96 Other participants did not challenge the unspoken genocidal program and made no suggestions for dealing with the violence. One assessed thetenor of the meeting by saying, At that time, there was no way to stop the killing.97
On the last line of the entry for this meeting, the notetaker wrote Ndora -Rusatira -, and then instead of continuing the list of names of communes, he struck it out and wrote simply, All on Friday except Mbazi. There were attacks in most of the previously untouched communes on Friday, April 22, except for Mbazi, which was targeted the following Monday, April 25.
After the attacks from Gikongoro, after killers had mobilized in half the communes of Butare, after the prefect and the police commander who fought for order had been removed, and after the leading officials of the national government had come to deliver incendiary speeches, the security meeting of April 20 destroyed the last hope of most burgomasters opposed to the genocide. Bourgomasters like Ruremesha of Huye, Hategekimana of Runyinya, and Sibomana of Mbazi seem to have left the meeting ready to accept if not to encourage the genocide in their communes. Faced with pressure from above, burgomasters also had to confront grass-roots political leaders determined to carry forward the genocide. A witness on the spot recalls hearing the former soldier and militia leader Emmanuel Rekeraho remark that it could turn out badly for the burgomaster of Mbazi, who, according to him, was trying to hold back the revolution.98 Tutsi were attacked at the communal office in Huye even while the prefectural security meeting was going on and a messenger brought the news to the burgomaster there. The burgomaster, Ruremesha, who the day before had asked the assembled ministers what to do if conflict threatened, set off for his office but took along no soldiers or National Police. He had apparently decided that there was no point in asking for their help.99
Some burgomasters passed the new message of violence to their subordinates and the people of their commune by public meetings. Elie Ndambayaje of Muganza commune reportedly openly incited people to kill at such meetings. Others were more circumspect. On April 21, at the stadium in his commune of Mbazi, Sibomana delivered a speech described by one witness as very complex. Some say he cited proverbs to convey his meaning, the most important being Iyo inzoka yizilitse ku gisabo ugomba kikimena ukabona uko uyica. Literally the sentence means In killing a snake curled around a gourd, you break the gourd if you mustto kill him, in other words, you do what you must to eliminate a danger.100 Sibomana admits having used the proverb, but protests that it was on another occasion and that the speech has been misconstrued.101
Officials also made the new program clear by releasing from jail those who had been arrested for attacking Tutsi. Immediately following the meeting at Mbazi, Sibomana and the public prosecutor for Butare, Mathias Bushishi, released the persons whom Sibomana had arrested for having attacked Tutsi.102 In Nyabisindu, where Gisagara, the burgomaster opposing the genocide, had arrested the former soldier Abel Basabose and others for attacking Tutsi homes, National Policemen insisted on their release and restitution to them of the weapons taken at the time of arrest. As in similar cases in Gikongoro and Gitarama, the release of those who had openly killed Tutsi and destroyed their property demonstrated that Tutsi no longer enjoyed the protection of the law.103
In a number of sectors, councilors held smaller meetings on the night of April 20 from which they excluded Tutsi and during which they planned attacks for the following days. In Tumba, for example, the councilor told participants that lists had been found proving that Tutsi were planning to kill Hutu and that they must attack first to protect themselves. In Cyarwa a Tutsi who tried to attend a security meeting was insulted and spat at. In Kabutare, participants were told that the RPF was attacking in a neighboring sector and that the people needed to organize patrols immediately to combat the enemy. At the university, the vice-rector told students that if they heard shooting, it was soldiers fighting infiltrators here in Butare. Hetold them that they must take measures to protect themselves.104 He also summoned faculty to a similar meeting for the next morning, but by then the slaughter was too widespread for any more talk.105
2 In addition to there being both a prefecture and a town of Butare, there was both a commune of Ngoma and a sector Ngoma of that commune. Of the 26,650 residents of Ngoma commune, 6,947 were registered as Tutsi at the end of February 1994. Joseph Kanyabashi, Bourgmestre, to Monsieur le Préfet, no. 153/04.05/1, March 14, 1994 (Butare prefecture). 3 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Kigali, November 21, 1995; January 26, 1996; Butare, February 5, 1996. 4 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Kigali, November 21, 1995; Brussels, September 24, 1994, December 12, 1995; January 26, 1996; March 4, 1996; Butare, February 5, 1996; by telephone, February 4, 1998. 5 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Kigali, November 21, 1995; January 26, 1996; Butare, December 19, 1995; February 5, 1996; Brussels, October 19 and 20, 1997. 6 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Kigali, November 21, 1995; January 26, 1996; Butare, February 5, 1996; Butare, March 26, 1996; by telephone, Rome, February 4, 1998. 7 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Kigali, November 21, 1995; January 26, 1996; Butare, February 5, 1996. 8 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, January 26, 1996; Butare, January 13, 1996; Kigali, January 19, 1996; Inyandiko-Mvugo yInama ya Perefegitura Ishinzwe Umutekano yo kuwa 24 gicurasi 1993 (Butare prefecture). 9 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Nyangazi, Maraba, June 28, 1995. 10 Human Rights Watch/FIDH, Butare, December 18, 1995. 11 Alphonse Higaniro, director of SORWAL, was the son-in-law of President Habyarimanas personal physican, who supposedly helped Prefect Habyalimana get a scholarship to study abroad. The prefect was said to have counted Higaniro and his wife as friends. Habyalimana might have been misled about the presence of armed men at SORWAL or he might have known but decided not to admit they were there. Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Butare, July 6, 1995. 12 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, December 29, 1995; January 2, 3, and 13, 1996; Kigali, January 19, 1996. 13 Gemmo Lodesani, Directeur du PAM Burundi, to Monsieur Ignace, May 11, 1994 (Butare prefecture). 14 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Neuchatel, December 16, 1995; Butare, March 26, 1996; by telephone, Rome, February 4, 1998; République Rwandaise, Parquet de la République, PV no. 0117. 15 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, by telephone, Rome, February 4, 1998. 16 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, January 26, 1996; Maraba, May 16, 1995; Anonymous, Notebook 1, entries for April 9, April 10, and April 13, 1994. 17 République Rwandaise, Parquet de la République de Kigali, PV. no. 0117. 18 Anonymous, Notebook 1, entry for April 10, 1994. 19 Literally, militaires, but almost certainly National Police rather than regular soldiers. 20 Anonymous, Notebook 1, entry for April 10, 1994. 21 République Rwandaise, Parquet de la République de Kigali, PV. no. 0117. 22 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Butare, July 6, 1995. 23 Massart, A Butare, au jour le jour, p. 78. 24 Anonymous, Notebook 1, entry for April 13, 1994. 25 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, July 6 and October 26, 1995. 26 République Rwandaise, Parquet de la République de Kigali, PV no. 0117; P. Célestin Rwankubito, Bourgmestre wa Komini Ndora, to Bwana Perefe wa Perefegitura, no. 097/04.09.01/7, April 20, 1994 (Butare prefecture). 27 ICTR-96-4-T, Testimony of Dr. Rony Zachariah, January 16, 1997; Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Butare, March 26, 1996. 28 Anonymous, Notebook 1, entry for April 15, 1994. 29 Ibid. 30 Bwana Lawurenti Bucyibaruta, Perefe wa Perefegitura ya Gikongoro and BwanaYohani Batisita Habyalimana, Prefe wa Perefegitura ya Butare, Itangazo Lisoza Inama yUmutekanoYahuje Abategetsi Ba Perefegitura ya Butare Na Gikongoro, April 16, 1994 (Butare prefecture). 31 Anonymous, Notebook 1, entry for April 17, 1994. Anonymous, Notebook 2, entry for April 17, 1994 (Butare prefecture). This second notebook, with notes of prefectural security council meetings recorded in a handwriting different from that of the first, will be cited as Notebook 2. 32 Valerie Bemeriki, RTLM, April 8 and 13, 1994 recorded by Faustin Kagame (provided by Article 19). 33 African Rights, Witness to Genocide, issue 7, September 1997, pp. 17, 45. For Nyaruhengeri, see below. 34 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, March 26, 1996; Brussels, January 19 and 29, 1998; by telephone, Rome, February 4, 1998. 35 Anonymous, Notebook 1, entries for April 16 and April 17, 1994. 36 UNAMIR, Notes, Radio Rwanda, 20:00, April 16, 1994. 37 Anonymous, Notebook 1, entry for April 17, 1994. 38 Ibid. 39 République Rwandaise, Parquet de la République de Kigali, PV. no. 0117; Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, March 26, 1996; Brussels, by telephone, January 19, 1998. 40 Human Rights Watch/FIDH, Brussels, May 17, 1997; Anonymous, Notebook 1, entry for April 17, 1994. 41 African Rights, Rwanda, Death, Despair, p. 355. 42 République Rwandaise, Parquet de la République de Kigali, PV. no. 0117. 43 Ibid. 44 Ibid; UNAMIR, Notes, Radio Rwanda, 20:00, April 17, 1994. 45 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Neuchatel, December 16, 1995. 46 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Butare, August 20, 1995. 47 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, by telephone, Rome, February 4, 1998. 48 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Simbi, Maraba, May 3 and 16, 1995; Kizi, Maraba, May 13 and June 23, 1995. 49 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Nyangazi, Maraba, June 28, 1995. From the description of several witnesses, these cannisters sound like the devices used to spray insecticide on plants at tea plantations in Rwanda. If so, they had probably been delivered by staff from the Mata and Kitabi tea plantations in Gikongoro. (See above.) The use of such devices has also been recorded in Nshili commune in Gikongoro. See Africans Rights, Rwanda, Death, Despair, p. 1016. 50 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Simbi, Maraba, May 3 and 16, 1995; Anonymous, Notebook 1, entry for April 15, 1994. 51 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Simbi, Maraba, May 16, 1995. 52 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Simbi, Maraba, May 16, 1995. 53 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Nyangazi, Maraba, June 28, 1995. 54 Ibid. 55 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Kizi, Maraba, June 23, 1995. 56 République Rwandaise, Parquet de la République de Kigali, PV. no. 0117. 57 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Simbi, Maraba, May 3, May 5 and May 16, 1995. 58 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Simbi, Maraba, May 3, May 5 and May 16, 1995; Nyangazi, Maraba, June 28, 1995. 59 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Buffalo, N.Y., April 23, 1997; Brussels, May 17, 1997. 60 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Brussels, May 17, 1997. 61 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Buffalo, N.Y., April 23, 1997; Brussels, May 17, 1997. 62 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Brussels, May 17, 1997. 63 Ibid. 64 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Buffalo, N.Y., April 23, 1997; Brussels, May 17, 1997. 65 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Kigali, July 14, 1996. 66 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Butare, March 26, 1996. 67 African Rights, Rwanda, Death, Despair, p. 355. 68 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, October 29, 1994; August 19, 20, and December 13, 1995; Brussels, December 18, 1995, February 2, 1996; African Rights, Witness to Genocide, issue 7, September 1997, pp. 7-8. 69 Anonymous, Notebook 2, entry entitled Ntyazo. 70 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, August 19 and 24, 1995; January 26, 1996; P. Celestin Rwankubito, Bourgmestre de la commune Ndora, to Monsieur le Commandant de Place, no. 093/04.09.01/7, April 18, 1994 (Butare prefecture) African Rights, Witness to Genocide, issue 7, September 1997, pp. 7-9; African Rights, Rwanda, Death, Despair, pp. 345, 348. 71 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, October 29, 1995; January 2 and January 27, 1996. 72 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, October 24, 26 and 29, 1995; African Rights, Witness to Genocide, issue 2, February 1996, pp. 6-11. 73 Transcript of interview of Sylvain Nsabimana by unidentified interviewer, October 1, 1994 (provided by Sylvain Nsabimana; hereafter Interview of Sylvain Nsabimana, October 1, 1994). 74 Two of the committee, Dieudonné Niyitegeka and Ephrem Nkezabera, reportedly later stated that the committee had known little about Nsabimana when it approved his nomination and implied that they had been disappointed in his performance on the job. Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, by telephone, Nairobi, April 3, 1996. 75 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, August 19, 1995; January 26, 1996. 76 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, August 19,1995; Brussels, November 2, 1995. 77 Discours du Premier Ministre Jean Kambanda, transcript of a recording broadcast by Radio Rwanda, April 21, 1994 (provided by Jean-Pierre Chrétien). 78 It has been generally supposed that Kanyabashi took the floor after both the president and the prime minister had spoken, but this may not have been the case. In his salutation Kanyabashi addresses only the prime minister, which makes it seem unlikely that the president had already delivered his remarks. Given that the presidents speech was so much more incendiary than that of the prime minister, the question of whether Kanyabashi was responding to both or to only one has considerable importance. 79 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, by telephone, Antwerp, March 8, 1997. 80 Discours du Bourgmestre Joseph Kanyabashi, transcript of a recording broadcast by Radio Rwanda, April 21, 1994 (provided by Jean-Pierre Chrétien). 81 As in so many official pronouncements throughout the genocide, work here means to kill Tutsi as it did in the 1959 revolution. Discours du Président Théodore Sindikubwabo prononcé le 19 avril à la Préfecture de Butare. 82 Sylvain Nsabimana, The Truth About the Massacres in Butare, undated manuscript (provided by Sylvain Nsabimana). 83 Arrondissement de Bruxelles, Tribunal de Première Instance, Deposition de Témoin, November 30, 1995, Dossier 57/95. 84 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Neuchatel, December 16, 1995. 85 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Butare, March 26, 1996. 86 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Nairobi, by telephone, March 25, 1996. 87 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Nairobi, by telephone, April 3, 1996. 88 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Kigali, November 21, 1995; January 26, 1996; Butare, February 5, 1996. 89 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Butare, October 26, 1995. 90 ICTR-96-4-T, Testimony of Dr. Rony Zachariah. 91 Ibid. 92 Jean-Fabrice Pietri, Untitled manuscript. 93 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, October 27, 1995; Brussels, September 24, 1994 and March 4, 1996; UNAMIR, Notes, Radio Rwanda, 21:00, April 21, and 20:00, April 22, 1994; Human Rights Watch/FIDH, Shattered Lives, p. 51. 94 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Brussels, September 24, 1994 and March 4, 1996. 95 Interview of Sylvain Nsabimana, October 1, 1994. 96 Anonymous, Notebook 1, entry for April 20, 1994. Gisagara is apparently the person referred to as the bourgmestre of Gisagara by African Rights in Rwanda, Death, Despair, pp. 1043-44. 97 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, by telephone, Nairobi, April 3, 1996. 98 Dr. Alexandre Rucyahana, untitled typescript. 99 République Rwandaise, Parquet de la République de Kigali, PV. no. 0117. 100 Rwandans attach great importance to large gourds, used in the past to hold milk and to churn it into butter. Breaking such a vessel was a serious mistake that could bring unfortunate consequences. In the terms of this proverb, killing a snake is so important as to excuse even the fault of breaking a gourd. In Witness to Genocide, issue 7, African Rights quotes this proverb three times on pages 10 and 16. The first citation, correct in kinyarwanda, is wrongly translated. 101 African Rights, Witness to Genocide,issue 7, p, 86. Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Butare, August 19, 1995. 102 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Butare, August 19 and 20, December 13, 1995; Brussels, December 18, 1995. 103 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Buffalo, by telephone, October 29, 1997; African Rights presents what may be two different versions of the same incident. See Rwanda, Death, Despair, pp. 358, 1044. For Gikongoro, see above. 104 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Neuchatel, December 16, 1995; Butare, October 26, 1995; République Rwandaise, Ministère de la Justice, Parquet de la République, PV no. 0156. 105 Dr. Jean-Berchmans Nshimyumuremyi, Vice-Recteur, to Membres du personnel enseignant et scientifique, du personnel académique associé supérieur et du personnel administratif et technique des catégories de conception et de coordination, Butare, April 21, 1994, P2-18/210/94 (Butare prefecture).