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As in Kigali, where troops and militia launched the genocide while army officers and politicians were talking of “restoring order,” so in Butare soldiers launched the period of most extensive slaughter while the April 20 security meeting was taking place. At 11 a.m., just as the session was beginning at the auditorium in town, a detachment of soldiers commanded by Lt. (jg) Pierre Bizimana, acting under the orders of Capt. Nizeyimana, invaded the modest home of Rosalie Gicanda, a short distance up the main street in the northern part of town. Gicanda was the widow of Mutara Rudahigwa, the ruler of Rwanda who had died in 1959 just before the revolution that overthrew aristocratic Tutsi rule. About eighty years old, she lived a quiet life as a devout Catholic, sharing her home with her bed-ridden mother and several women and girls who cared for them both. Because she eschewed any involvement in politics and behaved with discreet dignity, even the most anti-Tutsi politicians had left her largely undisturbed throughout the thirty years of Hutu rule. When the killing began, she trusted that Prefect Habyalimana would look out for her. As his power waned, she began to receive threatening telephone calls. According to testimony, she called on Burgomaster Kanyabashi for protection, but he replied that he could do nothing for her. The soldiers passed through the wooded enclosure that protected the house from the main street and entered the little house with its air of faded respectability. They seized the former queen and six others, leaving her bed-ridden mother and one girl to care for her. The soldiers passed by the ESO and then took Gicanda and the others to a place behind the national museum where they shot them. One teenaged girl, left for dead, survived to recount the murders. The soldiers returned to pillage Gicanda’s home in the afternoon and, two days later, they killed her mother. At the request of a priest, Kanyabashi sent prisoners to recover Gicanda’s body and bury it in the yard next to her house.1

The news that this gracious lady and others from her household had been taken away by soldiers in the back of a pickup truck spread rapidly and alarmed Tutsi andall others who opposed the genocide. They concluded that if soldiers dared to seize even this revered person, then no one was safe. On the afternoon of April 20, physics professor Pierre-Claver Karenzi called colleagues to suggest trying to find a safe place for women and children, but knowing of the massacres elsewhere, others hesitated to bring Tutsi together into too large a group.2

Shortly after Gicanda was taken, soldiers at a barrier just south of the auditorium killed four young men whom they hauled out of a vehicle bearing license plates from Burundi.3 After killing them, one of the soldiers checked the identity card of a priest who was stopped at the roadblock. He demanded, “Give me a cigarette, I’ve just killed four Tutsi.” Then he allowed the priest to continue on his way. At about that time, witnesses who lived in the Kabutare area just adjacent to this barrier saw five men brought by pickup truck to an area next to the psychiatric center. They were shot and left there. Soon after a truck returned with eight more who were killed in the same way. Later that afternoon, a witness saw sixteen young men tied up in a pickup at the barrier. One was being beaten by a soldier. Suddenly a number of soldiers set upon the others in the back of the truck, yelling that they were “Inyenzi,” insulting and beating them. The truck then took them up the road into the ESO.4

Barriers in Butare, as elsewhere in Rwanda, often became the sites of murders. On April 22, witnesses passing the barrier in front of the Hotel Faucon saw soldiers from the ESO beating fifteen children who had fled from Gikongoro. When they returned shortly after, eight or nine of the children lay dead.5 The Presidential Guard kept a barrier across one of the main roads entering Cyarwa and allowed virtually no one to pass there. They diverted pedestrians and vehicles to another road to the east where there was also a barrier in front of the bar known as Chez Ngoga. Alphonse Ngoga, former burgomaster of Kigembe, worked as an employee of the prefecture and was a stalwart supporter of the MRND. His son, Micomyiza, known as Mico, was a university student who organized a crowd of young toughs, many of them from Burundi, to guard this barrier. They were reportedlyresponsible for killing many people, including the university student Gilbert Ntazane6

Systematic Slaughter in Town

Killing the Targeted Individuals

As in Kigali, soldiers—particularly Presidential Guards, members of Nizeyimana’s bodyguard, and troops from Ngoma camp—along with National Police began the slaughter by targeting people from the intellectual and political elite of Butare. They went directly to the homes of those selected ahead of time for slaughter, sometimes relying on local guides or asking directions from neighbors. Militia backed up the members of the regular armed forces. In addition to the dozens of Interahamwe who had apparently been discreetly brought in during the previous ten days, one hundred or so Presidential Guards and militia arrived in Butare on April 20. A C-130 transport plane landed at Butare airport between 4 and 5 p.m., perhaps the first time such a large craft had used the small landing strip. Struck by the arrival of such an unusual plane and by the appearance of unknown soldiers and militia in town that evening, many people assumed that the strangers had been flown into Butare. In fact, they had arrived by bus while the plane, flown by Belgian pilots, had come from Nairobi to evacuate a group of European nuns and U.N. military observers. In addition to militia from outside Butare, local killers reportedly led by Shalom Ntahobari, also began the most damaging of their attacks on April 20.

Although soldiers and militia killed some people in their homes, they took many to be executed at one or another of the main killing grounds, like that behind the museum or in the arboretum of the university or near the psychiatric center and the Groupe Scolaire. Beginning late in the day of April 20 and continuing for the next three days, residents of Butare town reported hearing frequent bursts of gunfire, particularly from these execution grounds.7

The soldiers began the slaughter in the pleasant neighborhood of Buye, striking leading Tutsi like Professor Karenzi. Presidential Guards from the group that protected Habyarimana’s brother, Dr. Bararengana, came for Karenzi at about 2 p.m. on April 21 and took him to the barrier manned by soldiers of the ESO in front of the Hotel Faucon. There he was lined up with a number of other people,including another professor who was accused of having falsified his identity card. According to a witness, a militia member from out of town then killed two men, two women, and five children under the eyes of Prefect Nsabimana and Vice-Rector Nshimyumuremyi who stood a short distance down the street, in front of the Hotel Ibis. One of the other men bolted and ran for his life and Professor Karenzi was shot and killed immediately afterwards. Soldiers returned shortly after to the Karenzi home and murdered the professor’s wife. The children and young people of the household were hidden in the ceiling and escaped, although all except one would later be killed too (see below).8

When killing began in Cyarwa, witnesses immediately recognized that it was being done systematically. One man first heard shots behind his house at about 1 p.m., then others from a house next door. He stated:

The soldiers who came had very clear objectives: Ndakaza was a supporter of the PL, a Tutsi, who lived in the house behind mine; Sinzi Tharcissse, who was at the national university; Simpunga who worked at the Butare Economat and who was a member of the PSD; and Gregoire Hategekimana, an administrator from the university, who was a member of the MDR. The soldiers went down the street behind me and then up my street and stopped at these particular houses.9

Another witness to the same events not only heard the perpetrators, but saw them clearly from his enclosure. He declared:

The trouble began in Cyarwa on the afternoon of the 21st. We heard gunfire first from the direction of Rango. People coming from the market said that soldiers had shot a man named Venuste and then had gone to his home and had killed everyone there. The soldiers then proceeded down the line, killing as they went. I could hear the sound of gunfire, moving in a line around my house, since the street behind follows a wide arc that circles back towards my house.

A few of those killed were officially Hutu on their identity cards, but someone had done research and had learned that they had previously been Tutsi.Someone had gone to the home communes of those who were suspected to check on whether they were really Hutu or Tutsi.

I saw the deputy [Laurent] Baravuga leading three or four soldiers who were carrying South African rifles [probably R-4 rifles]. He had a list. He knew the area well and could direct them. The soldiers were Presidential Guards and they were followed by a large crowd of people. After the soldiers had finished and moved on, the crowd would move in and loot the house. I saw people streaming by carrying refrigerators, radios, anything. Nearly everyone from Cyarwa joined the crowd and they were happy to steal.10

During the first days of attacks, a crowd of militia and others in Cyarwa found that not all Tutsi were to be considered targets. They forced their way into a large building where several women friends of interim President Sindikubwabo had taken refuge with their families. The assailants were rounding up the Tutsi and preparing to kill them when Presidential Guards from Sindikubwabo’s house hurried to the scene and ordered them to leave. The assailants did not want to give up their intended victims, but the Presidential Guards threatened them with grenades and made them withdraw.11

In addition to political and intellectual leaders, the military targeted the rich. In the heart of Butare, soldiers invaded the home of a prosperous businessman on April 20 and extorted some 300,000 Rwandan francs (about U.S.$1,700) as the price of his own life and that of his family. Two days later, a young soldier named Claude12 came back with three Interahamwe, reportedly from the group headed by Shalom. They took five young adults and a twelve-year-old boy with them and walked the short distance to the killing field at the Groupe Scolaire where theymurdered them.13 In Tumba six National Policemen led a crowd in attacking the home of a Swiss entrepreneur who had a Tutsi wife. The ordinary people were armed with machetes, spears, and even a bow and arrow—wielded by a young man wearing a baseball cap with the visor behind, in the fashion of foreign young people. The National Policemen fired a couple of warning shots and forced their way in. After having robbed the family of several hundred thousand Rwandan francs, they called in the civilians, who looted the house. Some of the crowd stole valuable items, but others seemed almost embarassed at what they were doing and took items of little or no value, like a cooking pot full of potatoes or a child’s toy. To one observer, they seemed to be participating because they had no choice. They left without injuring anyone.14

Soldiers killed important Hutu who were thought to oppose the genocide, just as other troops had killed Hutu officials of the national government in Kigali. According to witnesses, Nizeyimana and soldiers of his guard murdered his neighbor, Deputy Prosecutor Matabaro. Soldiers also slew the professor Jean-Marie Vianney Maniraho, who had criticized the heavy military presence in town at a public security meeting, and his family. In Cyarwa, soldiers burned down the home of a Hutu woman related to a national leader of the MDR who opposed Hutu Power. Several days later, she was killed at a barrier, reportedly on the order of Deputy Baravuga. Soldiers and militia killed the sub-prefect Zéphanie Nyilinkwaya and fourteen others of his family during the night of April 21. A Hutu member of the PSD, Nyilinkwaya was seen as a potential leader of resistance to the slaughter of Tutsi. A MSF doctor came by Nyilinkwaya’s house early on the morning of April 22 and found the corpses of the family scattered over the drive in front of the house. Among them was a child three months old, shot in the back of the head, lying at his mother’s breast, which had also been blown open by a bullet. The doctor found two survivors, a girl about seventeen years old, who had been shot by a bullet that had passed through both breasts, and a fourteen-year-old boy. When he prepared to take them to the hospital, two soldiers came at the run to stop him. It was only by insistent negotiating that the doctor won the right to take the wounded for treatment.15

Killing by Neighborhood

While most soldiers concentrated on the elite targets, others, together with National Police supervised the militia that swept through neighborhoods eliminating Tutsi. A frail resident of the working-class neighborhood of Ngoma, in her mid-eighties, observed the genocide with horror. She had seen the killing of Tutsi since the 1950s but, she said, this slaughter was different because “it killed babies on the back, children who were beginning to walk, pregnant women, old people.” She declared:

The militia always came escorted by soldiers, two or three of them. The soldiers did not kill, they just accompanied the militia and watched them kill. They came many times over many days: attack, leave, attack, leave. They came during the night, attacking one family, then leaving. Then they came the next night and attacked another family. Maybe three families in this place in one night. Then, tomorrow, five families over there.

During the day, there were rumors about who would be attacked that night. They had meetings in town to plan. Sometimes, they said, “Tonight we will attack a family with this number of people in the household, this number of children.” Those listening tried to guess which family was being talked about. Children especially would move about, listening, and come to give warnings. Children and household workers moved between houses, between houses and the meetings, between houses and the bush. Sometimes they would get paid for going to listen. But there were other children, too, who spied on those who were giving warning.

While some were in meetings others were out on the streets, moving around, poking around, trying to find the people who were hiding inside houses. Those who did the spying included women, prostitutes, and girls who did not have husbands.

The old lady lived in a well-built house at the corner of two streets. One street runs along the ridge on which most of Ngoma sits; the other cuts across the first and descends steeply into the valley which separates Ngoma from the rest of the town of Butare. Starting on the night of April 21, she saw the crowds surging down the street, some of them dressed in banana leaves, and always with their military escort:

I hid and saw it from the window, from behind the curtain, cowering there in the corner. I saw them driving the groups of people ahead of them, shouting and shoving them with sticks and wooden clubs. Behind them came the soldiers with their guns, but they did not shoot. I saw a pregnant woman get hit in the stomach and fall back. I heard her cries. They took them down to the valley and killed them with nail-studded clubs, with hoes and machetes. I heard no shots, only the cries of horror and pain from the valley.

The elderly woman, herself a Hutu, became a target when informers told the militia that she was hiding her Tutsi grandchildren. Knowing that sheltering Tutsi put her own life at risk, the elderly woman also took in one teenaged girl who was not part of her family but who had fled to her home in the middle of the night. While the witness was peeking out from behind her curtain, she saw the girl run, bent over, into the enclosure that surrounded the house. She opened the door and the girl threw herself inside and collapsed unconscious on the floor. When the girl revived, she recounted how the rest of her family had been slain or fled to an unknown destination. The old woman allowed her to stay with the young people of her family. They hid in the bush during the night and came in furtively during the day to get something to eat.

The militia who came three times to search this home included people from the neighborhood and those from the adjacent sector of Matyazo. The two groups, which joined together outside her front door, were supervised by two soldiers. Most came on foot, but they also had a couple of vehicles to transport whatever they were able to pillage from this house or others they intended to attack that night.

At the time of the second search, Shalom Ntahobari led the group. He particularly wanted to find the girl whose midnight arrival had been noticed by local informers. He knew her older sisters well and had often dined and spent the evening at the girl’s home.16 Shalom and his followers forced their way into the house and demanded to know where the girl and the others were hiding. He had a machete stuck in his belt. When the old woman said there was no one there, he grabbed her by her two ears and twisted them to try to make her talk. She said nothing. They searched the house thoroughly, but found no one. Two days later, they returned, again ready to kill. Once more they had to leave empty-handed and angry. Soon after, someone came to rescue the old woman and her charges. As they drove away, she saw the crowd arriving for another search.

The witness remarked that many who invaded her house were strangers, but, she added, “Even the ones I knew, I couldn’t recognize them. They hadtransformed themselves into animals. They were like lions.”17 Another witness in Ngoma remembered what he saw outside his window:

I saw people out on the street, carrying clubs, axes, and machetes. They were all wearing MRND or CDR hats. Those without hats wore banana leaves around their necks or over their shoulders. They wore portrait pins of President Habyarimana on their chests. Even the youngest also tried to carry a weapon or a stick and were wearing the portrait pin. Even the young members of the PSD were wearing the hats of the CDR and the MRND and the portrait pin. We could not understand how that was possible because the PSD was opposed to the MRND and the CDR.18

After the first attacks on April 20, assailants moved on to other neighborhoods in the following days. In Cyarwa, soldiers and militia herded the crowd of Tutsi down the street in the middle of the day and beat them to death at a bridge, at a place known as Gateme. In one part of Tumba, the physician Munyemana reportedly organized the patrols and supervised the arrest and detention of Tutsi who were locked in the sector office, to which he had a key. In another part of the sector, the cell leader and employees of the university laboratory guided National Police to the homes of Tutsi. In both Cyarwa and Tumba, Hutu and Tutsi had collaborated until April 20 in protecting their sectors from outsiders, so some Tutsi joined the patrols organized on April 21, believing they were still part of the defense, not the enemy. They were killed by their fellow patrol members.19 In the sector of Sahera, assailants attacked the home of Aristarque Rwigimba, who was able to hold them off with the help of a stout door and a bow and arrow. But the assailants returned the next day with a communal policeman, who shot two of the resisters, making it possible for the assailants to kill nine others in the house.20

At Kabutare, teachers and staff members from the Groupe Scolaire secondary school lived in a tight-knit community just down the road from the school buildings. Of the sixty-five or seventy families in one neighborhood, five wereTutsi or mixed Tutsi-Hutu households. Soldiers, reportedly guided by the cell leader, Faustin Twagirayezu, arrived one morning and went directly to the houses where Tutsi lived. They were followed by a gang of street kids who tagged along after the soldiers to watch the violence. According to one of the community who was present that morning,

We stood in front of our houses, unable to do anything at all. We waited, knowing what had happened elsewhere, waiting our turn to have it happen here, waiting with our arms folded.21

The soldiers took several Tutsi men, one Tutsi woman, and a Hutu and headed down towards the psychiatric center. According to one witness, they chose people at random from the onlookers and tried to get them to beat the Tutsi to death, but those selected refused to do the job.22 The soldiers locked the captives in the local canteen, saying they were too hungry to kill at the moment. They went away, telling local people to guard them. In the opinion of one onlooker, that measure was not necessary because they would not have tried to flee anyway. Later that day, the soldiers returned with civilians from outside the community. They beat the captives to death. A witness who heard the soldiers coming a second time called his children to come in the house, not wanting them to see what would happen. He went outside himself, pretending to read a notice that was posted on a tree. He saw the soldiers go into the house of a neighbor named Joseph and then went back inside his own home and closed the door. All those taken away were killed and their families were killed three or four days later. The witness added, “That finished our neighborhood and they never came back.”23

Once the killing campaign was launched, soldiers and militia acted as though they had license to kill anyone who looked Tutsi. On April 23, a Zairean couple, Mr. Kisasa Lukasa and his wife, were traveling through Butare and stopped at the market. While Mr. Lukasa went to make some purchases, his wife stayed in the car. Militia or soldiers passing by the vehicle noticed her and asked for her identitypapers. When she could not produce them immediately, they killed her on the spot.24

Slaughter at the University and the Hospital

While some soldiers and militia were targeting neighborhoods in town, others began killing at the university. Classes were in recess for the Easter vacation, but some students had stayed in residence to prepare for examinations and others fled to the university once killing began elsewhere because they hoped to be safe there. Beginning on April 8, soldiers had restricted movement to or from the campus and authorities had prepared a list of students in residence, supposedly to facilitate their passing the soldiers’ barrier. Students, already polarized by previous events such as the February killings, formed into two groups, that of Hutu Power and that of Tutsi and those willing to support them. The Hutu Power students, known as the LIDER group from the name of their student association, began playing the music of anti-Tutsi singer Bikindi and staying up at night to see what the others were doing. The Tutsi students and others of their group also organized into four teams of guards who took turns keeping watch at night. They moved to rooms other than those where they usually slept and the LIDER students tried to keep track of where they were.

At mid-day April 21, soldiers killed a student at the campus barrier and another either at the barrier or in town. That evening, they came to round up Tutsi students as they entered the cafeteria, checking them off on a list as they were taken. A few Tutsi students saw the roundup beginning and managed to flee along with Hutu friends. The soldiers took those captured either to the arboretum adjacent to the campus or across the road to a woods on the grounds of the national research institute. LIDER students then took up the search for those students not yet found by the soldiers. As they discovered Tutsi who had hidden in the rooms, under the beds, or elsewhere, they took them out to deliver to the soldiers. One student was found at about 3 a.m. by a group of fellow students who kicked and beat her before taking her and another student across the road to the soldiers in the woods. As the student recalled,

The soldiers there said that these were the last students they would take. They said not to bring any more to them, because they were finished for the day. The two soldiers took us and pushed us into the woods. They cocked their guns and I thought it was all over. But then they spoke to us. They asked us ifwe would have anywhere to hide if they let us go. I said I had an aunt in Cyarwa and Aimable had a cousin in town. And so the soldiers told us to run. They fired their guns into the air so that the students would think that we had been killed and they left.

Aimable and I went further into the woods. It was full of cadavers. There were bodies everywhere, many, many of them. There was nowhere else we could go, so we had to stay there until it got light, there among the bodies.25

The next morning, the two students sought refuge at the nearby university hospital, which was still quiet. One of the two was eventually killed, but the second survived.

According to the vice-rector, some 650 students were at the university on April 20 with more arriving all the time. On May 31, there were 212 students on campus, 190 of them Rwandan, the rest from Burundi. Some students had fled, but the great majority had been killed. In a later exhumation of a mass grave near the university, some 600 bodies were found. Most of these victims were students—a significant part of the national intellectual elite in training at the university.26

During the night of April 22, after students had come to seek shelter at the hospital, soldiers of the ESO and the Presidential Guard came and killed some forty Tutsi patients. One remarked to MSF staff who worked there, “The hospital stinks with Tutsi and we must clean it up.” The next morning, the soldiers continued removing patients from the wards and even from the operating rooms. They also took away hospital personnel because their names were on the list of those to be killed. One of the nurses taken and beaten to death behind the hospital was a Hutu who had been caring for wounded FAR soldiers. She was seven months pregnant with a baby fathered by a Tutsi. Over a two day period, the soldiers killed between 140 and 170 people at the hospital. After meeting authorities at the prefectural offices on April 23 to protest the killings, the head of the MSF mission, Dr. Zachariah, returned to the hospital. He later recalled:

I looked around me with my team and people were just being taken out in groups of threes, fives, going behind the hospital. We could hear the screams. I told my team, “We are getting out of here! There is nothing more to do.”27

Like the university students, others had sought refuge at the hospital in late April, some of them occupying tents in the courtyard that had once housed refugees from Burundi, others hidden in the wards, closets or kitchen of the conglomerate of rambling buildings. In the days following the first killings at the hospital, soldiers returned repeatedly to search out those in hiding. One evening they took a law student named Épiphanie who was pretending to be one of the hospital staff. By this time, authorities had proclaimed an end to the killings (see below) and had said that anyone who was threatened should call for help, so Épiphanie screamed repeatedly. But no one came to her rescue and the soldiers took her away to the woods below the hospital. There they raped and beat her. A military doctor named Rwanyonga heard of the attack and went to find her in the woods. He brought her back and put her in the intensive care ward for treatment. At about 11:30 p.m., four soldiers returned and took her away and killed her.28

Some of the Tutsi who had taken refuge at the hospital were from the commune of Huye. Soon after the soldiers killed the patients and medical staff, militia from that commune came, with an escort of soldiers, to collect the men and boys from Huye. The militia forced them to set out for Huye and reportedly killed them, either en route home or shortly after arriving there. According to testimony, the burgomaster of Ngoma helped pressure the Huye people to leave and allegedly also returned several times in the next two weeks, twice in the company of soldiers, to see that other Tutsi be put out of the hospital. Some of those expelled were reportedly killed at a barrier just a short distance down the road from the hospital.29

Dr. Alphonse Karemera, dean of the medical school, produced an attempted justification for “cleaning up” the hospital in an official plan dated April 24—whilethe slaughter was still going on. Entitled “Socio-hygenic and Humanitarian Action for Victims and Persons Displaced by the War: A Proposal of the Faculty of Medicine concerning the functioning of the UH [University Hospital] in this period of provoked catastrophe,” it was forwarded by Vice-Rector Nshimyumuremyi with his approval to the prefect. The plan called for removing refugees, displaced persons, and those not critically ill from the hospital and the tents on the hospital grounds. Those persons who, in the words of the vice-rector, “clutter up the UH without good reason” were to be handed over to humanitarian organizations and the administration. In the proposal, Dr. Karemera complained of the “suffocating lack of support personnel.” Without remarking on the reason for this sudden loss of staff, he merely asked for authorization to begin recruitment for provisional replacements. He also insisted on immediate action to remedy the critical hygenic and sanitary situation in the region, that is, to remove the bodies which could become a hazard to health. Noting that the post of medical supervisor was empty for the moment, he offered the help of the faculty of medicine in supervising this work. It was apparently Dr. Eugène Rwamucyo, a member of the medical staff known for his virulent anti-Tutsi attitude (see below) who undertook this task.30

On May 2, Prefect Nsabimana informed the vice-rector that the prefectural security council agreed with the proposed plan. He noted that the administration was looking for ways to take care of the remaining refugees and displaced persons still at the hospital.31 That same day, the director of the hospital told those who had sought shelter at the hospital to go to the prefecture; he even provided transportation to take some there. One witness who was present remembers being told that they were to go to the prefecture to get the documents necessary to go home. According to another witness:

Then they said that everyone who was at the hospital had to go to the prefecture. The burgomasters wanted them to go back to their homes and theburgomasters were going to come fetch their people and take them back to their hills.32

One of the two university students who had been captured and then allowed to escape was among those sent to the prefecture. She reported:

At the prefecture, the Interahamwe were waiting. They had been told that we were coming and there were Interahamwe from each of the communes waiting to take their own people to kill. Our students were there too. When we arrived, we were surrounded by Interahamwe, they encircled us. A soldier tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I was a student from the university. I said that I was. He asked if I was alone, and I said that no, I was with another student. He asked us to follow him. He took us to the brigade. There was a crowd of people there, and they beat us. After they were done, they told us to leave. We went outside, and when we went out, another soldier tapped me on the shoulder. He asked if I knew him and I said no. And he asked if I knew what this was, and he handed me my identity card. He said that he was the soldier who was supposed to have killed me but let me go....He said that he would help me and so he escorted me to Cyarwa. I really do not know why.33

Not all those from the hospital were taken back to their communes at this time. Some joined the group of Tutsi already at the prefecture and remained there for another two weeks.

Collective Slaughter

Butare Town

In Butare prefecture, as elsewhere, the largest numbers of Tutsi were killed in the shortest time in massacres at churches, public buildings, and other gathering places. In the town of Butare, however, the worst massacres took hundreds rather than thousands of lives because officials had not permitted massive assemblages of Tutsi within town limits.

In the first two weeks of April, several hundred Tutsi had assembled in the broad space before the prefectural offices. On April 19, as described above, soldiers removed the men from that group and apparently took them to be executed. Those left behind, mostly women and children, formed the nucleus of agroup whose presence would trouble authorities until the end of June. They were shifted from place to place and dozens of them were seized at night, but they were never openly attacked in town.

Authorities had transferred six to seven hundred children from an orphanage in Kigali to the Groupe Scholaire and also had allowed several hundred other displaced persons from Kigali to take shelter in the school buildings and courtyard. On April 21, soldiers and Interahamwe, some of whom were wearing the distinctive green and yellow patterned tunic of the militia, came to the Groupe Scolaire as the orphans and displaced persons were eating their noon meal. They called them out to the courtyard, separated them into two groups on the basis of their identity cards, and began killing the Tutsi, mostly with machetes and clubs. Local residents, reportedly under the direction of the cell head Faustin Twagirayezu and including especially Burundians, also joined in the slaughter. According to one witness, several women, both Rwandan and Burundian, killed other women and children.34

Some people from Kigali and elsewhere, at least several hundred of them, had dispersed quietly throughout the town with family or friends. Small numbers of them, like locally resident Tutsi, sought protection clandestinely in convents and other church facilities. Larger groups took refuge openly at the Ngoma church and the Rwandan Episcopal Church (Eglise Episcopale Rwandaise).

Ngoma Commune: Matyazo and Kabakobwa Massacres

Not permitted to congregate in massive numbers inside town, the displaced did assemble in the thousands at Matyazo and Kabakobwa, two sites just outside of town but within Ngoma commune. Authorities had first tried to send displaced persons gathered at Matyazo to churches at Karama and Simbi, as mentioned above, but when this failed, Burgomaster Kanyabashi had installed them at the Matyazo health center and had arranged for police to be posted there as guards. As with such groups elsewhere, the displaced at first had freedom of movement, to go out and buy food, for example. After April 19, those inside were no longer permitted to leave. On April 21, soldiers touched off the attack on the health center by firing grenades into the enclosure and then shooting some of the people inside. Militia and local people followed up with machetes and clubs, killing most of the two to three thousand persons who had sought refuge there. A witness on a hill facing Matyazo could hear clearly the sounds of the massacre. He remembered:

I heard all the noise from Matyazo, the explosions of grenades, preceded by the shouts of the young who yelled “Power,” the blasts on the whistles and the beating of the drums. It went on until 5 a.m.35

Children and infants who survived the Matyazo massacre were left alone among the bodies for three days. Then some women came to take the little girls home, probably to raise them as servants. On April 25, the councilor of the sector, Athanase Nshimiyimana, and the communal policeman, Marc Polepole, drove a truckload of injured children to the hospital at the Groupe Scolaire. When they attempted to transport a second group of sixty-two injured children, the soldiers at Ngoma camp said it was forbidden to transport Inyenzi and refused to allow them past their barrier. They left the children, who ranged in age from a few months to four years old at Ngoma parish, not far from the barrier, where some four hundred other people had already taken refuge. The priests at Ngoma tried to get the Red Cross to come to take the children to the hospital, but they also replied that it was no use because the children would just be killed en route. A nurse, Domitilla Mukabaziga, who was among those who had taken shelter at the church, cared for the wounded children despite the lack of supplies and equipment. Mukabaziga was the sister-in-law of Burgomaster Kanyabashi and called him repeatedly during these days to ask him to rescue her, her children and her nephew. He reportedly answered that there was nothing that he could do for them.36

The second major massacre of Ngoma commune was launched the same day as that at Matyazo, but at the opposite end of the commune. Matyazo lies at the northern most point of Ngoma while Kabakobwa, a gently sloping site where three valleys merge, lies between the two southernmost sectors, Nkubi and Sahera. Many Tutsi from Gikongoro and such Butare communes as Huye, Gishamvu, and Ngoma, some with their few heads of cattle, camped in the open space there while deciding whether or not to continue their flight some ten miles further to the Burundi border. From Kabakobwa, they could have gone directly south, following the Migina River, or they could have taken one of the two roads paralleling the river that led to the frontier. As the slaughter intensified, more Tutsi came to Kabakobwa, some of them told by authorities or advised by Hutu neighbors to go there. A mile or so north of Kabakobwa was the Rango market, one of the two markets functioning to serve Butare town and the immediate region. Thursday,April 21, was a market day. Some men in civilian dress arrived at the market in late morning by bicycle and began checking identity cards among the crowds trading there. The story quickly circulated that the men were soldiers, even that they were Presidential Guards. Either these men or others in uniform shot a Tutsi named Venuste at the market. Many people then fled from the market to Kabakobwa, swelling the number of persons there. According to some estimates, there may have been as many as 10,000 Tutsi at the site.37

That afternoon local people attacked the Tutsi, apparently with some support from the communal police, including at least one former soldier. At first the Tutsi repelled the attack. Some Tutsi, numbering perhaps 500, decided to flee Rwanda and headed southeast for the frontier in Kibayi commune. Most were killed before they could cross the river that forms the boundary between Rwanda and Burundi. The next morning, April 22, the communal police arrived in a Ngoma commune pickup truck and took away several Tutsi selected from the crowd. They returned later that day with soldiers and National Police who used rocket-propelled grenade launchers and machine guns to slaughter the Tutsi. That night, on the hills of Nyaruhengeri, on the other side of the valley, some local people celebrated the massacre with feasting, singing, and dancing.38

Elsewhere in the Prefecture: The Devastating Third Week of April

In the week between April 18 and April 25 authorities accelerated and intensified the large-scale slaughter that was begun at Cyahinda on April 15. They had been slower than authorities elsewhere to launch the most devastating phase of the genocide. Now it was as if they had to hurry to catch up in order to meet the goals set by the extermination campaign. At any number of sites, particularly in the southern half of the prefecture, they massacred thousands of people, and at each of several places, they killed ten thousand or more at one time. They executed these massacres at churches such as Simbi, Kansi, Karama, Nyumba, Mugombwa, and Rugango; at health centers such as that at Sovu; on Mont Bisi and, continuing these killings, at the Senior Seminary at Nyakibanda; at the communal offices of Huye, Kigembe, Kibayi, Maraba, Muyaga, and Muyira; at the Mbazi commune stadium and at the Mugusa commune playing field; at the agricultural research stations at Rubona and Songa; at the market of Nkomero and the artisanal school at Nyaruteja;and at gathering places at Bitare in Gishamvu, Kabuye in Ndora, Nyamure in Ntyazo, and in the communes of Muganza and Kibayi. At the end, the churches were marked by the traces of grenade explosions, the benches overturned, the bodies strewn inside and outside the sanctuaries; the health centers were burned, with the remains of people and their possessions scattered about; and the communal offices looked like slaughter-houses.

Apparently more displaced persons were gathered at the church of Karama than at any other site in Butare. According to one count made the day before the massacre, some 75,405 people were present.39 In a 1996 study of massacre sites, a commission set up by the Rwandan government established a lower but still remarkable number of 50,000 present at the center of Runyinya commune, the location also of the church. This study suggests that 40,000 persons died and that some 8,000 survivors fled to Burundi.40 Others have estimated that as many as 43,000 died at Karama, while sources in the Catholic church, including a priest from a parish in the region, have proposed between 20,000 and 30,000 as the death toll. Investigators from the U.N. Human Rights Field Operation’s Special Investigations Unit estimated that about 17,000 people were slaughtered there, basing that figure on the distribution of food rations shortly before the massacre.41 Whatever the toll for Karama or any other single site, it is likely that more than 100,000 persons were slain in the large-scale massacres in Butare prefecture.

The Betrayal of “Pacification”

The slaughter in Butare prefecture, launched most intensively two weeks after the genocide began in Kigali and elsewhere, was still at its worst when national authorities were already proclaiming “pacification” on the weekend of April 23 to 24. Even as the massacres continued without relief at places like Kabuye and were yet to begin at others like the agricultural research stations at Songa and Rubona, authorities in Butare were repeating the new national line about “pacification.”Here, as elsewhere, the promised end to killings served only to deceive both Rwandans and the international community.

Authorities drove through Butare town and its environs beginning on April 23, making announcements over a sound system or through a hand-held megaphone. They declared that the killing was finished, that people should put away their weapons and bury the dead, and that those in hiding should come out. In addition to this message, cited by witnesses from several different parts of town, some others remember hearing a specific call to women and girls, inviting them to return to their homes in safety. Others remember being told that the markets were open and that the hospitals were ready to receive the wounded. In addition, several witnesses remember a message reporting protests from the international community about the killings. In order to avoid such criticism, the announcement said, signs of the killing must be hidden from journalists flying over in helicopters and from surveillance satellites passing overhead. Most witnesses state that the message was delivered by communal authorities, if not by the burgomaster himself.42 Prefect Nsabimana asserts that he also drove around, either delivering a similar message or calling people to meetings where he delivered such a message. He declares that this was his own initiative, not ordered by anyone. Yet the coincidence in timing and the similarity of the message with that delivered elsewhere in the country show that the announcement of “pacification” was part of the campaign ordered at the national level.43

At a meeting at the Butare stadium on April 26, the prefect and other authorities declared an end to the killings and announced at the same time that all residents would be obliged to participate in a system of patrols and barriers.44 Dr. Emmanuel Kazima attended the meeting and then returned home to find that the seven Tutsi whom he had been hiding had been taken away by soldiers. During the “pacification” meeting, the group, including a child two-and-a-half years old, were killed in a woods 200 yards from the house.45 Many others in Butare, as elsewherein the country, were slain in the days when the message of pacification was being disseminated: they had come out of hiding believing in the official guarantees of safety. One man who was a councilor at the time and who lost family members in the genocide remarked of the “pacification,” “It was a strategy to get the Tutsi to come out from where they were hiding to be able to continue with the killings.”46 Prefect Nsabimana admits that Tutsi who emerged after hearing the message were slain, particularly at the barriers. As a result, he says, he decided not to promise safety again.47

Nsabimana carried out other pacification meetings on April 27, including one held jointly with Kanyabashi on the football field next to the Ngoma church. At the church were nearly 500 people who had escaped from the massacre at the Matyazo health center a few days before or who had been forced to flee when their homes had been attacked. The great majority were children whose parents had been killed or who had fled, leaving them behind. From inside the church, the priests and the displaced listened with growing hope to the prefect and the burgomaster as they delivered the pacification message. The church had been raided on April 22 by the councilor Said Hussein and others bent on looting. At the time, Said had remarked on how many displaced had taken shelter there. Initially afraid that the pillage would be followed by slaughter, the people in the church began to breathe more freely after hearing the official announcement of the end to violence.48

The Massacres of April 30

The people at Ngoma church had only two days to enjoy the promise of safety. At 10 p.m. on April 29, militia and local crowds attacked the church buildings. One of the people inside reached the bell tower and sounded the bell for thirty-five minutes, alerting the entire region to the attack that was violating the promised peace. One of the priests called the Ngoma military camp, less than a mile distant. The soldier who answered inquired what kind of weapons the assailants carried and then told the priest, “Don’t worry. They won’t hurt you.” Hardly reassured, the priest called the public prosecutor, Mathias Bushishi, a man from Ruhengeri who was thought to have influence with the local leaders of the genocide. Bushishiagreed to call the camp commander. Two hours later eight soldiers appeared, led by a lieutenant (jg) named Niyonteze. The officer directed his ire at the priests for sheltering such a large number of people in the vicinity of a military camp and showed no interest in arresting their attackers. He counted the number of displaced persons at the church and then he left. The assailants, kept at bay by a hail of stones from the roof, also left for the night.49

The next morning, at about 10 a.m., twenty-two soldiers returned under the command of Lt. Ildephonse Hategekimana, head of the Ngoma camp. After telling the displaced people that they would be not be killed but would be taken to prison, he called in the civilians to do the killing. A witness who was hidden heard the children crying and the women begging. He heard the “dull blows, followed by small cries,” which he supposed were the sounds of children being clubbed to death. Then, after an hour, silence. There had been 476 people in the church, 302 of them children. Some victims were taken off to be killed in the nearby woods, a number of the women raped first. According to witnesses, the communal policeman Marc Polepole particularly sought out the sister-in-law of the burgomaster and her children and delivered them to killers outside the church.50

It rained in the late morning, but when the rain ended in the early afternoon, killers came to finish off the wounded children who were still alive, lying on the grass. As they were clubbing them to death, a vehicle belonging to the Ministry of Health appeared and several officials got out. The killers chatted with them while continuing to club the children on the ground. After the officials left, the killers pillaged the remaining rice stocks of the church as payment for their “work.”51

Some soldiers had searched especially for the parish priest, Abbé Jerome Masinzo, and reportedly intended to torture him before killing him, but two others helped him to hide just before the attack. One returned later and demanded 500,000 Rwandan francs (U.S.$2,800) to keep the secret of the priest’s location. Without any such sum available, Abbé Masinzo appealed to other church contacts who managed to obtain 50,000 Rwandan francs from Burgomaster Kanyabashi. This was the first of a number of payments delivered to soldiers as the price of thepriest’s life. The burgomaster agreed to help Abbé Masinzo although he was said to have refused to save members of his own family who were killed in the Ngoma massacre. On several subsequent occasions, he reportedly refused aide to other relatives, including to two little girls, one aged seven, the other aged eight. He supposedly believed that help to relatives would be more quickly discovered than aid to others and would expose him to immediate reprisals.52

Apparently just after having launched the operation at Ngoma church, Lieutenant Hategekimana led another large group of soldiers, professional people from Buye, and others in searching the convent of a Rwandan religious order, the Benebikira. They brought a warrant signed by Lieutenant Colonel Muvunyi. Hategekimana ordered his soldiers and the professional people to round up everyone inside the extensive complex. Meanwhile a larger crowd of civilians stayed outside, moving around the wall of the compound, shouting and yelling.

Among the Tutsi particularly sought by the soldiers were the children and young people from the household of Professor Karenzi, who ranged in age from a seven-year-old girl to a young woman of twenty-two. After Karenzi and his wife had been killed on April 21, the young people had hidden at first in a deserted house and then had been stopped by soldiers as they tried to move to another hiding place. After looking at their identity cards, the soldiers remarked “You are Inyenzi, Tutsi” and threatened to kill them. Several soldiers were unwilling to kill, complaining that they had already killed so many people that day. One claimed to have killed eight women, another to have killed thirteen girls. A Presidential Guard appeared and insisted that the young people be taken to the police brigade. At a barrier, soldiers instructed them to sit down and pray because they were about to die. In the end, the soldiers decided to be satisfied with money and, perhaps, with raping one or more of the girls. The soldiers accused one of the girls of having rebuffed the advances of soldiers before the genocide had begun. Finally the soldiers delivered them to the convent, where they had asked to go and where they remained until April 30.

When the search party located “the Inkotanyi from Karenzi’s house” at the convent on April 30, they loaded them and others into the back of a pickup truck. The soldiers climbed in to stand on top of the children. In all, they took away twenty-five people, five of them men, the others women and children. The youngest was a little girl named Aimée, who was five years old. Just as soldiers had said that the people at Ngoma church would be taken to prison and not to be killed,so the assailants said that this group was being taken to the prefectural offices for protection. When the soldiers returned later in the afternoon to loot some beer that they had noticed during the search, the sisters asked what had happened to the young people. One answered, “That’s not our job. We left that to the Interahamwe.”53

An hour or so after the convent of the Benebekira was invaded, ten soldiers and thirty militia and other civilians demanded entry to the Junior Seminary at Karubanda, a short distance away. When asked why they had come, one of the group answered, “Even the clergy and the nuns have been found hiding arms for the RPF, so they can’t be out if you hate our country....”54 The search party checked the identity papers of those present and found two Tutsi employees, who were handed over to the militia. The Interahamwe took them to a nearby woods and beat them to death, then climbed on their bus to go home. At about 5 p.m., the soldiers returned to loot the seminary. They took a couple of the young women who were there caring for orphans as umusanzu, a “contribution” to the army. They raped them. Shortly after other soldiers came for the same purpose.55

Beginning on April 20, increasing numbers of soldiers wounded in war were transported to Butare to be treated in the hospital and to convalesce in the buildings of the Groupe Scolaire. On May 1, some of these soldiers slaughtered twenty-one children and thirteen Red Cross workers whom they believed to be Tutsi. They selected them from among the survivors of the April 21 massacre and those who had taken shelter at the Groupe Scolaire since that date. The brutal killing, reported in the foreign press, drew sharp international criticism and, probably as a consequence, a reprimand from the general staff.56


Seeking Help

Hutu sometimes helped Tutsi spontaneously in an act decided and carried out in a minute or two of time. Donatilla Mukamusoni warned Tutsi in Mbazi of animpending attack and told them that wearing banana leaves would protect them, a warning for which she paid with her life. Students intervened to negotiate the release of fellow students who were being taken away by soldiers. A young Hutu woman lent her identity card to a Tutsi so that she could pass barriers on her attempted flight from death.57

But sometimes both those who needed protection and those who extended it were faced with dilemmas resolved only after agonizing discussion. A woman who had given birth while hidden in the home of a Hutu knew that the cries of her newborn would attract searchers who could kill her protectors as well as herself and her baby. She and her host debated many possibilities, including strangling the baby. In the end, they took the risk of trying to bribe soldiers and succeeded in finding a couple willing to smuggle the mother and child out of the community, the baby hidden among the grenades and ammunition in the military vehicle.58

In the southern part of Ngoma commune, a man of some standing in the community at first took in many relatives from his wife’s Tutsi family as well as his Tutsi godson and his family. The godson related the events of that night:

When I arrived at his place, I found many people hiding there. Many. By 6 p.m., it was clear that we couldn’t all stay. Other people had seen too many of us going into his house. Without actually saying it, he let the others know that they had to leave his place. Without weeping or any other show of emotion, they did it. Only one boy showed his fear. He was trembling when he left. Among these people was his own son-in-law, the husband of one of his daughters. She spent the night weeping. As people left, he whispered in my ear: stay here. So I, my wife and our children stayed at his place that night. Nobody slept. Myself, I just sat on a chair, just sitting there, just sitting. My godfather’s daughter was weeping because her father had sent her husband away. Then in the middle of the night, we heard shouting. Terrifying cries. I have never been afraid like I was at that moment. I was trembling in my chair, all through the night.59

In the morning, the witness left too, hoping thus to increase the chance that his wife and children would be left unmolested. In the end, he survived and they did not.


In virtually all the sites where numbers of Tutsi gathered together, they did their best to protect themselves and their families. Those places where the agglomerations were largest, such as some of the churches, the agricultural research stations at Songa and Rubona, and Kabuye, the resisters held out the longest. Many Tutsi from Gikongoro and others who had survived the massacres at Kibeho and Cyahinda fled to the hill Bitare in Gishamvu, a place where Tutsi had successfully resisted Hutu attackers in the early 1960s. The first arrived on Friday April 15, but hundreds of others headed towards the hill on each of the next four days. Many traveled through the fields, trying to avoid groups of assailants who were lying in wait along the roads and paths. Even so, many of the weak stragglers were picked off by killers. The Tutsi who reached Bitare were not yet safe. Groups of Hutu came to attack them so, as one witness reports, “The people at Bitare organized to defend themselves. They gathered on the hill top and threw stones....during this time, the men didn’t sleep. They went to the river to protect the others from the assailants.”60 Unable to overcome Tutsi resistance on their own, the attackers went to get reinforcements from the military. They also obtained grenades and rifles for themselves. On Tuesday, April 19, new Tutsi arrivals at Bitare talked of the increased pace of attacks, saying “This isn’t just a war. This is an extermination.”61 The people decided then to try to escape over the Burundi border. They set out together at dawn on the morning of April 20. When they reached the frontier, soldiers met them with gunfire. Many died on the road or trying to flee into adjacent fields, but several hundred made it across the border to safety.62

Of all the communes, the three most northern, Nyabisindu, Muyira, and Ntyazo seem to have offered the most concerted resistance to the genocide. Perhaps this reflected the history of the area, the heart of the old kingdom, where bonds between Tutsi and Hutu were multiple, long-standing, and strong, disposing the Hutu to defend Tutsi more vigorously. Remote from the major military posts, resisters in the region also had more time to organize their efforts before substantialmilitary force was brought against them. Ntyazo and Muyira included low-lying relatively sparsely populated regions fronting the border with Burundi, where a river and swamps offered good terrain for hiding. Of the twenty burgomasters of Butare prefecture, two refused to join in the genocide, both of them from this cluster of northern communes. In taking this stand, they perhaps drew strength from the depth of local revulsion against the genocide while at the same time contributing to strengthening that sentiment.

Gisagara, the burgomaster of Nyabisindu, was a Hutu member of the PSD, but unlike many others of his party who were being drawn into the Hutu Power alliance, he rejected any such collaboration. From the start, he had vigorously fought attackers of Tutsi and had jailed the former soldier Basabose and others who participated in these attacks. He had sought to enlist the support of his superior and fellow party member, Prefect Nsabimana, and others at the April 20 security meeting. But he found no help in Butare and when he returned to Nyabisindu, he saw the military release Basabose, as described above. Gisagara and his supporters in the communal police then fled the town of Nyabisindu just as National Police and soldiers brought from Butare were moving into all sectors of the commune. They retreated to the home of one of the communal policemen in Gahanda sector where they may have hoped to rally people against the genocidal assailants. The sub-prefect, Kayitana, reported angrily to his superior that they had raided the communal safe before leaving and asserted that they intended to go underground to fight against the authorities. The military failed to find Gisagara on its first sweep of the area, but eventually they did locate and kill him.63 With the elimination of the burgomaster and the beginning of military attacks, people from Nyabisindu fled southeast to an agricultural station at Songa in Rusatira commune. On April 29, the burgomaster of Rusatira expressed satisfaction that Tutsi had been “chased away” from Songa but asked for more help in getting rid of those from Nyabisindu who remained in the sector of Nyagisenyi.64

On April 23, the burgomaster of Ntyazo commune, Narcisse Nyagasaza, decided to flee rather than execute the genocide. He attempted to lead a group ofpeople from his commune across the border to Burundi. They too were caught and killed. With no replacement named for either burgomaster until late June, Sub-Prefect Kayitana took over carrying out the genocide in their communes. He reportedly directed the slaughter of thousands at and near the Nyabisindu stadium.65

Despite the flight and death of the burgomaster, the people of Ntyazo continued to resist. The councilor of Ruyenzi protected Tutsi who had arrived from the north, expressing to them his despair that “Habyarimana’s blood was wiping out Rwanda.”66 When he thought they faced too much of a risk in his area, he escorted them to the agricultural research station at Songa, presumably believing they would be safer there. After attacks at Songa drove some Tutsi back to Ntyazo, local Tutsi from Kimvuzo, Gatonde, and Munyinya joined them in Karama sector to try to ward off the attackers. Among the Tutsi, who numbered about 1,500, three had firearms, either because they were (or had been) soldiers or because they had a brother who was a soldier and who had provided a gun. In addition, a National Police first sergeant named Elisée Twagirayezu, who was “hidden among the population”—meaning perhaps that he was Hutu—was helping them and had even tried to shoot one of the communal policemen. At one point, the Tutsi reportedly killed two military men and burned a vehicle of the National Police. In some areas, Tutsi solidified Hutu support by paying them. In Gisasa sector, one hundred Tutsi paid fifty Hutu a cow—which they presumably slaughtered and ate—and 24,000 Rwandan francs (about U.S.$140) to help defend them.67

Mathieu Ndahimana, a medical assistant from Nyamure sector, led attacks against the Tutsi but found their resistance unexpectedly strong. On April 27, he asked Deputy Adalbert Muhutu, a former burgomaster and MRND member of parliament from Muyira, to send several National Policemen and four other police to help, a request that he had had to make before. (See above.) National Policeunder the command of Sergeant Major Philippe Hategekimana targeted the hill Nyamure in Nyamure sector and a site in Karama sector at the same time, slaughtering thousands of people.68 Along with the military attack, authorities worked successfully to convince Hutu that they had a greater interest in assisting the authorities than in continuing their loyalty to Tutsi friends and relations. When most Hutu deserted the Tutsi, the assailants completed their genocidal “work.”69

In the commune of Muyira, authorities had been obliged to bring in militia from neighboring areas to get the genocide started and the aggressors encountered stiff resistance. A corporal, Alexis Musoni, led Tutsi and Hutu in fighting off the National Policemen in sector Mututu, costing the attackers eighteen men. But, here, as in Ntyazo, a combination of military and political action weakened the resistance and made it possible to slaughter most of the Tutsi.70

Genocidal Operations

The “Muscular Assistance” of the Military

Throughout the period of the slaughter, government officials claimed that the number of soldiers and National Police available for duty away from combat areas was so limited that they could not halt the genocide. It is true that the number of troops in Butare prefecture was small. There were 150 or so soldiers posted in the town of Butare and about one hundred or so National Police available in the prefecture, most of them also headquartered in the town, although a sizable group was posted in the town of Nyabisindu in the northwest and smaller numbers were sent to other locations as needed. The Presidential Guard unit, probably numbering some fifty soldiers, was also based in Butare, making a total of approximately 300 soldiers and National Police in the prefecture. But to conclude, as did the authorities, that the forces in Butare were too few to stop the genocide was not onlywrong but deliberately misleading: had the soldiers and National Police been used to save Tutsi, they would have sufficed to keep order. Instead they were used to provide what the burgomaster of Rusatira called approvingly the “muscular assistance”71 necessary for the genocide.

The commanding officer for the Butare-Gikongoro operational zone during the worst of the killing was Lieutenant Colonel Muvunyi, acting as a temporary replacement for General Gatsinzi.72 He had charge of the soldiers at Ngoma camp and the ESO but he did not command the local unit of the Presidential Guard, which remained under the orders of an officer of the general staff. There is no doubt that Muvunyi officially exercised senior military authority in Butare during this period: he appeared publicly in that role and he signed documents in that capacity, like the search warrant mentioned above. But military and civilian witnesses present in Butare at the time agree that it was not Muvunyi but rather his subordinates Captain Nizeyimana and Lieutenant Hategekimana who agressively pushed the genocide, while accusing Muvunyi of being Tutsi himself and threatening him with death for his efforts to help Tutsi. At the end of May, he was put on leave for two weeks, reportedly on the initiative of two ministers from Butare who charged him with hindering the execution of the genocide (see below).73 When questioned by other officers and civilian administrators about why soldiers were slaughtering Tutsi, Muvunyi claimed that he could not control the soldiers at the Ngoma camp who had been sent south after having fought the RPF and who were determined to kill Tutsi. At one point, he tried to excuse his troops—and hence himself—by asserting that the soldiers who killed actually came from some other unit, not from his troops. But according to a junior officer at Ngoma camp, it was not soldiers from elsewhere who were responsible. He declared that “the soldiers of Butare needed no reinforcement for the ‘cleansing’of the town, except for the Interahamwe who were staying at the Ibis [hotel] who gave the ordinary people a hand from time to time.”74

At the start of the massacres, the Ngoma camp, the ESO, and the National Police divided responsibility for the area around the town of Butare, with leadership in the hands of Nizeyimana and Hategekimana. According to one witness, Nizeyimana played more of a role in the first days, then ceded to Hategekimana. Another suggests that the officers and men of the Ngoma camp led the campaign from the start. Whatever the exact relations between the two, the division of territory was clear. Hategekimana and his troops were to kill Tutsi in Ngoma and Matyazo and other sectors abutting these parts of Ngoma commune, an order that the lieutenant passed on to Corporal Nkurunziza.75 A soldier of the camp showed the limits of his “work” to a National Policeman by pointing to the hills of the sector Matyazo and explaining, “They’re all Inyenzi over there and we’ve been ordered to burn it down.”76 Hategekimana also provided the soldiers for most of the major massacre sites in the southern part of the prefecture, including Karama. According to witnesses, he led the assault on Ngoma church and on the convent of the Benebikira. His subordinate, Lieutenant (jg) Niyonteze, helped the burgomaster of Nyakizu get the soldiers he needed to finish the massacre at Cyahinda, an operation that Hategekimana himself may have commanded at the site. Another soldier under Hategekimana’s command, Sergeant-Major Vénuste Gatwaza, reportedly launched the massacre at Mutunda stadium in Mbazi commune and three sergeants directed the attack at the agricultural station at Rubona.77

Nizeyimana and the soldiers of ESO killed in the central part of Butare town, including in the residential section of Buye where Nizeyimana himself supervised the murder of the Deputy Prosecutor Matabaro. The captain reportedly also ordered the murder of Rosalie Gicanda and his men carried out the raids on the hospital and the university. Soldiers had orders to take identity cards from those whom theykilled. According to one witness, Nizeyimana regularly received these cards from his men as they reported on the progress of the killings. They often appeared at his house shortly after a volley of gunfire was heard and handed the cards to the captain with the report, “Mission accomplished.” In the captain’s absence, his wife received the cards. Corporal Ndayizeye, one of Nizeyimana’s bodyguards, reportedly frequently implemented his orders for murder.78

The National Police, under Major Rusigariye, were responsible for the genocide in sectors south of the town center: Tumba, the Cyarwas, Nkubi, and Sahera. National Police from both Butare and from the Nyabisindu outpost also directed major attacks in the northern part of the prefecture, in Nyabisindu and Rusatira communes, at the Songa and Rubona agricultural research stations, and in the commune of Ntyazo.79

It is harder to assess responsibility for the Presidential Guards. Some crimes are well documented, such as the attack on Prof. Karenzi and his family or the murders carried out at their barrier, including that of the respected elderly businessman Camille Mbonyubwabo and his son. Residents of Tumba and Cyarwa, near the interim president’s home, also talk with certainty about attacks by Presidential Guards whom they recognized from having seen them in the neighborhood. But, in other cases, particularly those that happened some distance from town, witnesses who accuse the Presidential Guards often cannot provide details to support their charges. Given the relatively small number of Guards in Butare and the obligation for some of them to be on duty at Sindikubwabo’s house, it seems unlikely that they could have committed all of the attacks attributed to them. Witnesses who suffered at the hands of soldiers of the ESO or of the Ngoma camp may have assumed that their attackers were Presidential Guards because this unit was best known for its genocidal activities.

In town during the first week, the military did much of the killing themselves. Where they needed the support of larger numbers, they sometimes summoned civilians directly and told them what to do. On April 20, for example, soldiers told the head of Kabutare cell that local residents must immediately begin doing patrols, using as a pretext the falsehood that the RPF had attacked a mile or two away. In Cyarwa on April 22, five or six National Policemen gathered the men of the sector at the bar Chez Ngoga. They divided the civilians into groups and ordered them to“search the entire area for arms and for people who were hiding.”80 In Sahera, the soldiers passed through in several vehicles to insist that the people begin “working.”81 In Tumba, one soldier was assisted by two civilians when he came to abduct a Tutsi woman on Friday, April 22. Though they repeatedly threatened to kill her, they seemed to need authorisation from a superior, perhaps because she was married to a European. The three men drove her from place to place in Butare, stopping at the ESO, in the commercial section known as the Arab quarter, and at the police brigade behind the prefecture building. At each stop, the soldier went searching and then returned saying, “He is not there.” Because the group could not locate the officer who could authorize the killing, they returned the woman to her home. One of the civilians apologized to the woman for his part in the abduction, saying he had been “requisitioned” for the work.82

The military men were too few to direct daily operations out on the hills. There they moved through communities in pickup trucks or other vehicles, stopping briefly to spread lies and to whip up fear and hatred before moving on to the next location. It was National Police who incited to genocide in the outlying communes of Mugusa and Muyaga. On April 20, the area was still quiet but a visitor from Butare found the people concerned about the passage of a couple of National Policemen. He reported:

They said that the National Police had come to the markets and caused problems. They tried to fill people with fear. The National Police told them that if they didn’t kill Tutsi, the Tutsi would kill them. I tried to explain to them that they shouldn’t believe the arguments of the police. They were ready to listen to me, but they asked, “If we are forced to kill, what should we do?” And I didn’t know how to answer them.83

In the commune of Shyanda on April 22, as the burgomaster and councilors were holding a meeting in one place to persuade people to remain calm, soldiers were passing over the next hill ordering others to burn, pillage, and kill. Themilitary also monitored how rapidly and thoroughly the violence was being carried out. Several returned to Shyanda a few days later to threaten men at a barrier for not having killed enough Tutsi. The civilians responded to the intimidation by seizing several Tutsi for execution.84 In Kibayi, soldiers and militia went to the MSF center at the Saga camp for Burundian refugees. They separated the Tutsi staff from the Hutu and then handed machetes and guns to the Hutu, directing them to kill their Tutsi colleagues. Those who refused were killed themselves. Thirty to forty persons were slain.85

Once the daily campaign of small assaults, burning, and pillage had driven the Tutsi into churches and other public places, the military launched the large-scale massacres. As in Gikongoro where it looks as though violence was planned to radiate out from three initial centers of violence, so in Butare the attacks spread in an apparently deliberate fashion from the west to east with a secondary thrust coming down from the northeast. The first major massacres (Cyahinda, Kansi, Simbi, Karama, Kabuye, frontier areas) were launched in the south, to be followed several days later by those further north (Mbazi, the two agricultural research stations, Nyamure at Ntyazo, Muyaga communal office). Given the limitations on the numbers of troops at their command, authorities made it a priority to massacre Tutsi who might have a chance of reaching and crossing the frontier. The radio often broadcast warnings about the risk of a southern front being opened, with either RPF or Burundian troops crossing the border to link up with Tutsi gathered in the southern communes. Although there appears to have been no evidence of any such activity, the propagandists used such fears to motivate soldiers and civilians alike. In any one area, attacks were often clustered, following each other in quick succession: Nyumba, Gisagara, and Muganza; the Sovu health center and the Huye communal office; Rugango church, the encampment at Gihindamuyaga, and Mbazi stadium; the Songa and Rubona agricultural research stations, and Nyamure in Ntyazo; the neighborhoods in town, the university, the hospital; Ngoma church, the Benebikira convent, and the Karubanda seminary. This pattern suggests careful planning to make the optimum use of the limited number of troops available.

Former soldiers and communal policemen, although not part of the regular forces, followed the orders of any regular soldiers or National Police who were present at massacre sites. In addition to contributing their own firepower, they served as a link between the regular forces and the civilians, transmitting ordersand organizing the untrained masses in conformity with military practice. If regular soldiers or National Police were unavailable, former soldiers led the attacks as did Emmanuel Rekeraho in Maraba and Huye, Kamanayo in Huye, Christophe Kabanza, and a former corporal named Kimonyo, the bodyguard and chauffeur for Pauline Nyiramasuhuko.86 At Kabuye hill, Ndora, it was a former National Police officer, Félicitée Semakuba, who helped direct the assault. Although pregnant, she “threw grenades as if she were sowing beans.”87

Soldiers occasionally used their power to save instead of to kill, most often protecting individuals with whom they were linked before the genocide began. Lieutenant Colonel Muvunyi reportedly facilitated the escape or assured the safety of Tutsi and Hutu opposed to the genocide on several occasions. Even Captain Nizeyimana kept some Tutsi in his own house.88 Sergeant-major Gatwaza, accused of leading the attack at Mbazi stadium, supposedly protected a Tutsi woman from that commune.89 According to a list registering persons under the protection of soldiers at one of the Butare camps in mid-May, two of the fourteen were Tutsi.90

Several wives of military officers arranged transportation and hiding places for Tutsi and in one case provided a FAR military uniform to a young Tutsi woman who was able to flee across the border with this disguise.91

Assistance, sometimes freely given on the basis of ties of family or friendship or from simple humanity, was sold by soldiers and police on other occasions. While many Tutsi paid for their lives once or twice, others, like the family of a wealthy entrepreneur in Butare town or the priest of the Ngoma church, paid regularprotection money to soldiers throughout the genocide.92 An elderly Tutsi man at Sovu gave a cow, probably more valuable to him than money, to a communal policeman who, he thought, would protect him. In the end, the payment did not save him from attack.93

The Militia and the Match Factory

Many of the militia active in the first days of slaughter had come from outside of Butare. According to local people, some had come in the weeks and months before the genocide and either just resided at SORWAL, the match factory, or were hired to work there. Others who arrived as the killing began made the factory their local headquarters, at least until late May when Interahamwe President Robert Kajuga arrived to set up his base at the Hotel Ibis.94

Northern supporters of Hutu Power perhaps felt safer and more at home at the match factory than elsewhere in Butare. A little removed from the heart of town, protected by its own guards, the factory offered privacy as well as security. The enterprise was a joint venture between the Rwandan government and foreign investors. Like many parastatal corporations, it was run by hand-picked associates of President Habyarimana. Mathieu Ngirumpatse, secretary-general of the MRND, sat on its board as representative of the Rwandan government. Among other board members was at least one French citizen. Its director, Alphonse Higaniro, was a former government minister and part of the inner circle of President Habyarimana both on his own account and through his marriage to the daughter of the president’s physician, who was killed with Habyarimana in the April 6 plane crash. In Butare, Higaniro developed a close relationship with Captain Nizeyimana, who was ready to bend the rules to oblige him. Some time before April 6, Nizeyimana assigned soldiers to guard Higaniro at his request, an irregular arrangement that was not approved by Nizeyimana’s superiors.95

Operating as an adjunct to the regular military forces, the militia must have had at least one liaison with the military officers who directed their operations. It appears that Martin Dusabe, a northerner and technical director of SORWAL, was such a link. According to a witness who lived in the neighborhood, Dusabe received visits from Captain Nizeyimana once or twice every day during the genocide. In this time of crisis, such regular visits could hardly have been for social purposes, nor did the two men have any ordinary business to transact. The match factory was not operating during this period.96

Other SORWAL employees or former employees, like Jacques Habimana and Edward Niyitegeka (also known as Nyagashi), may have passed on orders from Dusabe. Habimana directed attacks in the neighborhood of Ngoma and both helped lead the massacre at the Ngoma church. Nyitegeka’s brother, Gatera, also participated in that attack.97

In addition, Dusabe and the chief financial and administrative officer of SORWAL, Jean-Baptiste Sebalinda, played important roles in the “civilian self-defense” program, as detailed below.

Higaniro himself left Butare on April 7 to participate in the funeral of his father-in-law in Kigali. He then withdrew to Gisenyi with other important backers of the interim government. He returned once to Butare, at the end of April or beginning of May, supposedly to get the match factory running again and then left once more for the northwest.98 But from a letter that he wrote to his subordinate in Butare, it appears that he was directing his employees’ involvement in the genocide even at a distance. He wrote: “For security in Butare, you must continue and finish the ‘clean-up.’” Higaniro later admitted writing this letter, but explained that it was an order to clean up an oil spill in the parking lot of the factory and had nothing to do with eliminating Tutsi from Butare.99

Captain Nizeyimana seems to have been the link between Higaniro and Professor Vincent Ntezimana, a northerner who was a professor of physics at the university. Professor Ntezimana has acknowledged a close relationship with Captain Nizeyimana, whose house he visited virtually daily, he said, during the genocide. Professor Ntezimana and Higaniro were also acquainted and had jointlyfounded an association to promote the “cultural, apolitical” interests of their common home region. The professor denied any close link with Higaniro, yet when Higaniro was under pressure to leave quickly for Kigali on April 7, he took the time to let the professor know of his departure. Professor Ntezimana was sometimes transported around Butare in military vehicles and when he wished to travel to the northwest, Captain Nizeyimana arranged for him to do so in a vehicle of SORWAL.100

The links among the three are shown also in their relationships to a young man named Innocent Nkuyubwatsi, a northerner from Ruhengeri. Once a soldier studying at ESO, he had left the army, supposedly because of some injury. Captain Nizeyimana then obtained a job for him at SORWAL and had lodged him and his sister in his own house. When the captain found his household getting too crowded, he asked Professor Ntezimana to take in Nkuyubwatsi. Professor Ntezimana agreed to do so and Nkuyubwatsi stayed with him during the genocide. Nkuyubwatsi, who often wore a military uniform, could come and go freely even when others had to observe a curfew. The professor watched Nkuyubwatsi murder a young Tutsi woman who also had been living in his house and then removed the body from his back yard and dumped it on the road by his house. Nkuyubwatsi apparently also joined in beating a young man to death at a barrier, an incident at which Professor Ntezimana was also present. Knowing Nkuyubwatsi to be a murderer, the professor continued to provide him with lodging.101

In addition to the militia linked to SORWAL, a second group operated under the orders of Shalom (Chalôme) Ntahobari, son of the minister, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko and the university rector, Maurice Ntahobari. A failed student turned killer, Shalom became a big man in Butare once the slaughter began. He swaggered around town with grenades hanging from his belt, often armed with a gun which he once aimed in insolent jest at a local burgomaster. One witness asserted that even military officers saluted Shalom. He controlled his own barrier in front of the family house near the university campus where he bullied his militia subordinates as well as passersby. One witness who had known Shalom as a fellow student witnessed him killing a man in order to rob him of his cattle. This was onlyone of numerous murders Shalom was said to have committed.102 In addition to his activities in town, Shalom recruited and organized militia in Mbazi, a commune just outside of town that was home to his father’s family. There he frequently told people, “If we don’t kill them, they will kill us.”103

Although Shalom and his group sometimes operated together with the military, he appears to have enjoyed considerable autonomy and status, probably because of his mother's influence. He collaborated with Nyiramasuhuko both in the general goals of the genocide and in the more specific effort to increase the power of the MRND at the expense of the MDR and the PSD. She in turn supported his murders, to the extent of accompanying him when he went to abduct those to be executed. (See below.)104

In addition to the militia associated with SORWAL and the local group recruited by Shalom, a third and even more prestigious cluster of killers arrived in early May with Robert Kajuga, the national president of the Interahamwe. They installed themselves at the Hotel Ibis, where they spent a great deal of time drinking with soldiers. Like local militia members, these militia members from Kigali wore portrait pins of Habyarimana, pieces of clothing imprinted with the image of the late president, or the green and yellow print tunics long associated with the Interahamwe. But they displayed also the assurance that came from being associated with the most important national leaders of the militia as they looted widely in town among Hutu as well as Tutsi.105 Several young Tutsi women who were part of Kajuga’s entourage moved freely about town and the market, their safety guaranteed by their protector. Kajuga also provided protection to some Tutsi of Butare, alerting their Hutu hosts whenever Shalom’s militia was planning anattack on them.106 The national president was sufficiently sure of his own power to ignore a request to come to the prefect’s office to discuss the behavior of his followers. The prefect complained later that in contrast to professional soldiers with whom issues could be discussed, the Interahamwe were impossible to reason with: they wanted only to kill.107

The number of militia members grew enormously once the genocide began in Butare, both because previously organized groups recruited numbers of people into their ranks and because other groups formed around local leaders and called themselves Interahamwe. Kajuga’s militia members particularly encouraged the street kids who spent their nights huddled in an improvised shelter across from the Ibis to follow their lead. They rewarded them with a share of the loot acquired in raids on Tutsi.108

Civilian Action

Administrators and political leaders ensured that the Tutsi would be available for easy attack by encouraging or ordering them to go to various sites, some of which were already occupied by Tutsi who had gathered on their own initiative. Prefectural authorities ordered Tutsi from Sahera to move to Nyumba and sent others from Nyakibanda to Nyumba. The sub-prefect of Gisagara, Dominique Ntawukuriryayo, insisted that displaced persons leave the market at Gisagara to join others at Kabuye and summoned Tutsi who lived in the area to come there as well. The sub-prefect of Busoro, Assiel Simbalikure, apparently supervised moving the displaced from the Burundi frontier back to the market at Nkomero. The burgomaster of Nyaruhengeri sent people to the church at Kansi. The communal authorities in Runyinya called on Tutsi to go to Karama. The burgomaster of Butare sought to move people from Matyazo to Karama and Simbi. According to witnesses, the burgomaster of Mbazi sent people to the commune stadium and also turned back crowds of people who wanted to leave the Rubona agricultural research station to go into Butare. Councilors and other local officials reportedly escorted the displaced to the agricultural research station at Songa and told peoplein Sahera to go to Kabakobwa.109 Beginning on April 16, soldiers, with civilian helpers, began forcing Tutsi to gather on the grounds of an artisanal school (Center of Integrated Rural Artisanal Education, CERAI) in Kigembe commune, often looting them of their belongings in the process. One woman who had fled to Kigembe recalled:

The authorities made promises about our security. We believed their assurances because we thought we were in the hands of the state and not of the popular crowds who had attacked us in Nyakizu.110

After permitting the displaced to come and go freely for two or three days, burgomasters at communes like Nyaruhengeri, Mbazi, and Ngoma reportedly restricted them to the sites where they had gathered. If Hutu had assembled with Tutsi at these places, officials or militia leaders told the Hutu to go home shortly before the place was to be attacked. In the first day or two, some authorities provided food, as did the burgomaster at Kigembe to the Tutsi at the Nyaruteja CERAI, and others allowed church workers to deliver food, as they did at Sovu and Matyazo. But soon after authorities refused to deliver more provisions and discouraged or prohibited others from supplying food and water to the Tutsi. Such deprivation weakened the displaced persons both psychologically and physically.111

Administrative officials from the prefect down to the cell leader, assisted by local political figures, fed the hatred and panic already generated by propaganda. They permitted people to believe and, in many cases, actively encouraged them to believe that Tutsi posed a threat to the safety of Hutu and thus should be attacked. Whether in public meetings, such as that where the sub-prefect of Gisagara accused Tutsi of stocking firearms in churches, or in more spontaneous road-side exhortations, like those attributed to Minister Nyiramasuhuko, Prefect Nsabimana,and Burgomaster Kanyabashi officials gave license to attack Tutsi.112 Burgomasters, including Habineza of Maraba, Ntaganzwa of Nyakizu, and Déogratias Hategekimana of Runyinya were reportedly present immediately before or during massacres and thus lent their authority to the killings.113 If most burgomasters absented themselves during the actual attack, virtually all seem to have permitted or directed their subordinates, including communal police, councilors, and cell heads to join in the slaughter.114

In Ngoma, for example, many witnesses accuse the communal police of participating in massacres such as those at Kabakobwa, Matyazo health center, and the Ngoma church as well as in smaller attacks on local residences. The log book for the communal vehicle with registration number A 8979 appears to confirm that testimony, recording an extraordinary amount of activity by the police during the last ten days of April. The truck was driven only thirty-five and thirty-one kilometers per day for the two days of use registered in the week before April 7. Once the slaughter was launched in town, however, the vehicle was used to transport the communal police 266 kilometers on the bloody weekend of April 22 to 24 and another 510 kilometers in the six days after.115

Burgomasters and the prefectural staff provided logistical and financial support for the killing campaign. In addition to supplying communal vehicles, they requisitioned private vehicles to transport assailants and they provided the fuel both to run the vehicles and to burn Tutsi houses. They delivered the trucks and the bulldozer that made mass burials easier. Administrators and politicians paid for the “work” of assailants and, later, for the efforts of those who buried the bodies. According to one witness, authorities paid militia, the elite of the civilian assailants,2,000 Rwandan francs (about U.S.$10) a day, while the burgomaster of Maraba gave rice and the minister Nyiramasuhuko offered beer to the ordinary people.116

Local leaders, some relying on their political networks, others drawing power from militia and other less formal armed bands, helped organize the genocide in most communes. Some supplemented the efforts of administrators who were already working zealously at eliminating Tutsi; others displaced authorities who were less ready to kill or, by challenging their authority, pushed them to more extreme positions. Such pressures from local leaders who were committed to the killing campaign complemented the pressures that came from above, from national political and administrative leaders.

In Mbazi, Maraba, and Huye Emmanuel Rekeraho built upon his skills as a former soldier, his status as a local head of the MDR, and his position as aide to Colonel Simba in the “civilian self-defense” program to become a significant force who impressed administrators and frightened resident foreigners. Arbiter of life and death, he decided at one point that Tutsi sheltered at the Sovu convent could stay alive, a decision that he apparently changed some time later. In Mbazi, Jean-Baptiste Kagabo made use of his status as former burgomaster and as prefectural vice-president of the CDR to organize support for the genocide. Along with his sons and other local strongmen, he represented a serious challenge to the authority of Burgomaster Sibomana.117 Bonaventure Nkundabakura, communal head of MDR-Power and his ally Bernard Mutabaruka, local head of the CDR, appear to have spearheaded the killing of Tutsi in Kigembe, displacing the burgomaster Symphorien Karekezi from leadership of the killing campaign. Jacques Habimana, a one-time SORWAL employee and self-described journalist, exploited his connections with militia to attack Tutsi as well as to build a personal base of power that got him installed as councilor of Ngoma sector, an unexpected success for someone from outside the community. In Tumba sector, Sosthene Munyemana allegedly used his considerable prestige as a physician to incite killing and acquired new power through his control over the neighborhood lock-up where Tutsi were confined before being sent off for execution. In the adjacent sector of Cyarwa, the CDR leader Simeon Remera rallied old and new adherents to his party to attack Tutsi. Innocent Bakundukize, a casual laborer previously without status in Cyarwa, acquired a firearm from a brother who was a soldier. He used the weapon to exertauthority over others and to insist that the community get rid of its Tutsi residents.118

In ten catastrophic days from April 20 to April 30, the military, administrative, and political leaders of Butare brought the prefecture into full compliance with the national program of genocide.

1 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, October 20, 1995; Police Judiciaire près le Parquet du Procureur du Roi de l’arrondissement de Bruxelles, P.V. no. 37221, Dossier 37/95 (confidential source); Musoni, “Holocauste Noir,” pp. 83-4. A Rwandan military court found Bizimana and Private lst Class Aloys Mazimpaka guilty of genocide and killing Gicanda and her family. Chambre Specialisée du Conseil de Guerre de Butare, case no. LMD 187, LP 0001-PS 97, Judgment pronounced July 27, 1998. Bizimana was sentenced to death, Mazimpaka to life in prison.

2 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, July 6, 1995.

3 MSF staff had witnessed a man clubbed to death at this barrier three days before. ICTR-96-4-T, Testimony of Dr. Rony Zachariah.

4 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, October 24, 26, and 29, 1995; République Rwandaise, Parquet de la République, P.V. no. 0117.

5 ICTR-96-4-T, Testimony of Dr. Rony Zachariah.

6 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Neuchatel, December 16, 1995; Butare, December 29, 1995 and January 13 and February 5, 1996.

7 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Butare, December 18, 1995; Jef Vleugels and Guy Theunis, Société des Missionnaires d’Afrique, fax no. 10, April 25, 1994. 8 République du Rwanda, Parquet de la République, P.V. 0054 and no. 0117. 9 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Kigali, November 30, 1995. 10 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Butare, December 19, 1995. 11 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, December 19 and 29, 1995, January 2, 1996. 12 A young man named Claude, usually identified as a soldier, was involved also in violence against the children of Prof. Karenzi and in temporarily abducting Alphonsine Kabengera in Tumba. A militia member named Claude Murekezi is also accused of participating in killing in Butare, but it is unclear if this is the same person. See Pie-Joseph Ngilimana, “Vision Synoptique des Massacres à Butare à partir du 7 avril 1994,” August 19,1994. 13 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, October 26, 28, and 29, 1995. 14 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Neuchatel, December 16, 1995. 15 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, October 25, 1995 and January 13, 1996; Brussels, December 12, 1995; ICTR-96-4-T, Testimony of Dr. Rony Zachariah. 16 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, October 20, 1995. 17 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, May 29 and July 5, 1995. 18 République Rwandaise, Parquet de la République, P.V. no. 117. 19 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, October 27 and December 29, 1995. 20 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Brussels, November 6, 1995. 21 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, October 26, 1995. 22 This detail was not mentioned by other witnesses and may have been an effort to portray local people in a favorable light. 23 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, October 26, 1995. 24 Préfet Cyangugu to Préfet Butare, telegram no. 94/040, 8:15, May 2, 1994 (Butare prefecture). 25 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Kigali, January 19, 1996. 26 Anonymous, Notebook 1, entry for April 20, 1994; Le Vice-Recteur, “Effectif des Déplacés de Guerre Logés au Campus Universitaire de Butare,” May 31, 1994 (Butare prefecture). 27 ICTR-96-4-T, Testimony of Dr. Rony Zachariah. 28 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, November 9, 1995; Kigali, January 19, 1996. According to one witness, the soldiers also took Hutu women students to rape when they had finished killing Tutsi. Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, January 3, 1996. 29 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, November 9, 1995; Kigali, January 19, 1996; interview, May 21, 1996; ICTR-96-I, The Prosecution of the Tribunal against Joseph Kanyabashi, Indictment. 30 Dr. Alphonse Karemera, “Action Socio-Sanitaire et Humantaire (sic) en Faveur des Victimes et Deplacés de Guerre: Une Proposition de la Faculté de Médecine Concernant le Fonctionnement de l’HU en Cette Période de Catastrophe Provoquée,” enclosed in Dr. Jean Berchmans Nshimyumuremyi, Vice-Recteur de l’UNR, to Monsieur le Préfet de la Préfecture de Butare, P2-18/211/94, April 25, 1994 (Butare prefecture). 31 Sylvain Nsabimana, Préfet, to Monsieur le Vice-Recteur, no. 274/04.09.01, May 2, 1994 (Butare prefecture). 32 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Butare, November 9, 1995. 33 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Kigali, January 19, 1996. 34 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, October 29, 1995. 35 République Rwandaise, Parquet de la République, P.V. no. 117. 36 République Rwandaise, Parquet de la République, P.V. no. 0117; Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, March 26, 1996. 37 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Neuchatel, December 16, 1995; Butare, August 20 and October 25, 1995. 38 Ibid.; Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, December 19 and 29, 1995; Brussels, November 6, 1995; African Rights, Rwanda, Death, Despair, pp. 351-52. 39 African Rights, Rwanda, Death, Despair, p. 345. 40 Commission pour le Mémorial du Génocide et des Massacres au Rwanda, “Rapport Préliminaire,” p. 14. 41 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Brussels, May 17, 1997; by telephone, January 19, 1998; U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Human Rights Field Operation in Rwanda, Special Investigations Unit, SIU Final Report on the Genocide Investigation, Kigali, April 12, 1995, p. 19; African Rights, Rwanda, Death, Despair, p. 345. 42 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, October 20, 24, 25, and 26, 1995; Neuchatel, December 16, 1995. 43 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Nairobi, by telephone, March 25, 1996; “Interview of Sylvain Nsabimana, October 1, 1994.” 44 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, December 18, 1995. 45 Jane Perlez, “Rwandan Doctor’s Journey Through Horror and Death,” New York Times, August 8, 1994. 46 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Butare, November 9, 1995. 47 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, October 20, 24, 25, and 26, 1995; Neuchatel, December 16, 1995; Nairobi, by telephone, March 25, 1996. 48 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, March 26, 1996; République Rwandaise, Parquet de la République, P.V. no. 0117. 49 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, March 26, 1996; République Rwandaise, Parquet de la République, P.V. no. 0117. 50 République Rwandaise, Parquet de la République, P.V. no. 0115 and no. 0117; Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, March 26, 1996. 51 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, March 26, 1996; République Rwandaise, Parquet de la République, P.V. no. 0117. 52 Ibid; Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, by telephone, Brussels, January 19 and 29, 1998; and by telephone, Rome, February 4, 1998; République Rwandaise, Parquet de la République, P.V. no. 0115. 53 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, March 15 and 21, 1995. 54 Musoni, “Holocauste Noir,” p. 85. 55 Ibid. See above for a similar case at Kabgayi. 56 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, October 24 and 29, 1995; Contribution des FAR, pp. 97-98. 57 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, November 9, 1995 and Brussels, December 18, 1995. 58 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Brussels, December 18, 1995. 59 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Butare, May 25, 1995. 60 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Nyakizu, May 24, 1995. 61 Ibid. 62 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Nyakizu, May 24, June 20 and August 16, 1995. 63 S/Prefet Nyabisindu to Mininter, telegram 94/015, April 25, 15:35 (Butare prefecture). Gisagara’s family was also slaughtered by the military, in Kaguri according to our sources, in Cyahinda according to African Rights. Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Buffalo, by telephone, October 29, 1997; African Rights, Rwanda, Death, Despair, p. 1044. 64 Vincent Rukelibuga, Burugumesitiri wa Rusatira, to Bwana Perefe wa Perefegitura, April 29, 1994 (Butare prefecture). 65 S/Prefet Nyabisindu to Mininter, telegram 94/015, April 25, 15:35 (Butare prefecture); Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Buffalo, by telephone, October 29, 1995; Commission pour le Mémorial du Génocide et des Massacres au Rwanda, “Rapport Préliminaire,” p. 18; African Rights, Rwanda, Death, Despair, p. 358. Gaetan Kayitana was posted to the Nyabisindu sub-prefecture in 1993 after having reportedly been involved in massacres of Tutsi and Bagogwe in northwestern Rwanda. 66 African Rights, Rwanda, Death, Despair, p. 1042. 67 Anonymous, Notebook 2, entry entitled “Ntyazo;” Commission pour le Mémorial du Génocide et des Massacres au Rwanda, “Rapport Préliminaire,” pp. 21-22; African Rights, Rwanda, Death, Despair, pp.355, 1042. 68 Hategekimana’s attack has been dated to April 24. If this is correct, it may have been executed in response to Nahimana’s first request or it may have been initiated independent of Nahimana’s request of April 27, which is firmly dated by the document itself. Mathieu [Ndahimana] to Monsieur Muhutu A, Député, April 27, 1994 (see chapter six); Commission pour le Mémorial du Génocide et des Massacres au Rwanda, “Rapport Préliminaire,” pp. 21-22. 69 Commission pour le Mémorial du Génocide et des Massacres au Rwanda, “Rapport Préliminaire,” pp. 21-22; African Rights, Rwanda, Death, Despair, pp.355. 70 Commission pour le Mémorial du Génocide et des Massacres au Rwanda, “Rapport Préliminaire,” pp. 20-21. 71 Vincent Rukelibuga, Burugumesitiri wa Rusatira, to Bwana Perefe wa Perefegitura, April 29, 1994 (Butare prefecture). 72 Once Gatsinzi was finished with his brief period as chief of staff, he was assigned to negotiating with the RPF and other duties that did not involve direct command of troops. 73 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Brussels, by telephone, January 29, 1998; République Rwandaise, Parquet de la République, P.V. no. 253. 74 République Rwandaise, Parquet de la République, P.V. no. 0117. 75 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, July 6, 1995 and March 26, 1996. 76 République Rwandaise, Parquet de la République, P.V. no. 0117. 77 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, October 27, 1995; Brussels, December 12, 1995; Human Rights Watch/FIDH, written communication from Nairobi, August 7, 1996. Witnesses identified Gatwaza as from the commune of Huye. 78 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Brussels, December 12, 1995; République Rwandaise, Parquet de la République, P.V. no. 189 and no. 260. 79 Major Habyarabatuma returned from the battlefront in June but was then on medical leave. 80 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, December 19 and 29, 1995, January 2, 1996. 81 République Rwandaise, Parquet de la République, P.V. no.0113 82 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Neuchatel, December 16, 1995. 83 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, December 19, 1995. 84 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Butare, October 29 and November 9, 1995. 85 ICTR-96-4-T, Testimony of Dr. Rony Zachariah. 86 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Brussels, December 18, 1995, February 2, 1996; Anonymous, Notebook 1, entry for April 20, 1994; African Rights, Rwanda, Not So Innocent (London: August, 1995), p. 159. 87 African Rights, Rwanda, Not So Innocent, p. 36. 88 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, July 6, 1995; Brussels, December 18, 1995; Nsabimana, “The Truth About the Massacres in Butare;” République Rwandaise, Parquet de la République, P.V. no. 260. 89 African Rights, Witness to Genocide, issue no. 7, September, 1997, p. 74. 90 Untitled list giving names, identity card numbers, places of origin, ethnic group, name and rank of protector (lieutenant to corporal), and date of arrival in camp (Butare prefecture). 91 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Brussels, March 4, 1996. 92 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Kizi, Maraba, May 13, 1995; Butare, October 29, 1995. 93 African Rights, Rwanda, Not so Innocent, p. 180. 94 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Brussels, December 12, 1995; January 26 and March 4, 1996; by telephone, Nairobi, April 3, 1996. 95 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Brussels, December 15, 1995; République Rwandaise, Parquet de la République, P.V. no. 0142. 96 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Brussels, March 4, 1996. 97 République Rwandaise, Parquet de la République, P.V. no. 0117. 98 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Brussels, December 15, 1995. 99 [Alphonse Higaniro] to SORWAL employee, date illegible (confidential source). 100 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Brussels, March 4, 1996; Police Judiciaire près le Parquet du Procureur du Roi de Bruxelles, Section: Criminelle, Dossier: 37/95, P.V. nos. 182, 31.884, 32.765, and 33.088. 101 Police Judiciaire près le Parquet du Procureur du Roi de Bruxelles, Section: Criminelle, Dossier: 37/95, P.V. nos. 55, 149, 31.876, 31.883, 32.996, and 34.250. 102 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, August 18, August 20, and October 20, 1995. 103 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Brussels, December 18, 1995 and February 2, 1996. 104 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, October 28 and 29, 1995; Brussels, December 12, 1995. 105 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, July 6, 1995; August 18, 20, and December 13, 1995. 106 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, October 20, 1995 and Nairobi, by telephone, April 3, 1996. 107 “Interview of Sylvain Nsabimana, October 1, 1994;” Interview of Mr. Nsabimana Sylvain, September 18, 1994. (Transcripts provided by Sylvain Nsabimana.) 108 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, July 8 and December 13, 1995. 109 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, October 25, 1995, March 26, 1996; Brussels, November 6, 1995 and May 17, 1997; Anonymous, Notebook 1, entry for April 17, 1994); African Rights, Rwanda, Death, Despair, pp. 348, 355 African Rights, Witness to Genocide, issue no. 7, pp. 7, 17 and 20, but see apparently contradictory testimony on p. 8; pp. 44-45. 110 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interview, Butare, June 12, 1995. 111 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Butare, June 12, 1995; Brussels, May 17, 1997; by telephone, January 19 and 29, 1998; African Rights, Witness to Genocide, issue 7, September 1997, pp. 18-20. 112 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Brussels, December 18, 1995, May 17, 1997; République Rwandaise, Parquet de la République, P.V. no. 0290. 113 République Rwandaise, Parquet de la République, P.V. no. 0117; African Rights, Rwanda, Death, Despair, pp. 346-48. 114 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Nyangazi, Maraba, June 28, 1995; Brussels, May 17, 1997; République Rwandaise, Parquet de la République, P.V. no. 0115; African Rights, Witness to Genocide, issue 7, pp. 29-30. For Nyakizu, see chapters nine and ten. 115 Carnet de Route et de Controle de Circulation, plaque d’immatriculation no. A8979 (final digits nearly illegible) (Butare prefecture). 116 Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Simbi, Maraba, May 3, May 5 and May 16, 1995; Nairobi, by telephone, April 3, 1996; May 21, 1997; Musoni, “Holocauste Noir,” p. 84. 117 Alexandre Rucyahana, undated typescript. 118 Ibid; Human Rights Watch/FIDH interviews, Nyangazi, Maraba, June 28, 1995, Butare, October 25, 1995; African Rights, Rwanda, Not so Innocent, pp. 158-84; African Rights, Witness to Genocide, issue 2, February 1996. For more on Mbazi and Kigembe, see below.

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