In addition to the cases described above, Samuel Sargbah, a Liberian employee of the World Food Program, was murdered in Kigali on March 5. Sargbah was found dead in his car with four bullet wounds to his head. Although reasons for the killing remain unclear, the way it was executed suggest that the killers, thus far unidentified, were soldiers or former soldiers. Sargbah had recently instituted new measures to end pilfering of food stocks, a practice from which several RPA soldiers were benefitting.36
In December 1999, soldiers took Nzabonimpa, a forty-year-old man from Kasonga cell, Muhira sector, Rubavu commune, Gisenyi, and transported him to an illegal place of detention known as MILPOC described below. He had been accused at different times of involvement in the genocide and of having collaborated with the insurgents. He was supposedly confined with four other persons in a kind of ditch until mid-February. Then after having been warned that they were to be killed the following day, Nzabonimpa and the four others escaped during the middle of the night of February 13 to 14. He was caught again by soldiers and shot near the Nyundo bishopric. The soldiers left him where he fell, expecting him to die soon. When they found him still alive later in the afternoon, they put him in their pickup truck, telling people that they were going to transport him to the hospital. Instead they beat him to death en route. In a similar case that took place in early January in the commune of Ruhondo, several soldiers apprehended Jean Damascene Gatabazi, originally of the commune Nyamutera, who was accused of being a bandit. He was supposedly part of a group that robbed local people using two firearms, one of which worked, the other of which was used only to scare people. The soldiers took Gatabazi to the Mukungwa hydroelectric power station and beat him severely. He was transferred to the communal lockup where he died almost immediately as a result of the beating.37
On the evening of February 11, soldiers reportedly from the military post of Gasura shot and killed thirty-five-year-old Shirubute in Gihira sector, Giciye commune. They shot the man, who was coming back from his work of making charcoal, because they supposedly took him for a rebel infiltrator from the Congo. In a similar case a week later, soldiers reportedly from the Rambura post shot and killed an unidentified man in the woods below the Rambura School for Social Workers.38
Soldiers who have been demobilized but retained their weapons have committed abuses, including murder, in northwestern Rwanda. According to local people, it was two former soldiers who killed a young man just a short distance from the center of Ruhengeri town on the night of December 12, 1999. Seventeen-year-old Jean-Pierre Niyonzima and Anicet Dukuzumuremyi were patrolling to protect their neighborhood and encountered armed men whom they did not recognize. When they asked the men to identify themselves, the others fired, killing seventeen-year-old Jean-Pierre and seriously wounding Anicet. Jean-Pierre, son of a local official, had been doing patrols for only about two weeks.
The conviction of local people that soldiers or former soldiers were the killers grew in the days after the crime, fueled by the failure of military authorities to get in touch with Jean-Pierre's family and to undertake any investigation. In response to the comments that soldiers or former soldiers were guilty, a military officer identified as Lieutenant Gasana called together people of the area and ordered them to sit tightly squeezed one against the other in a local sorghum field. He told them to remove all their clothing above the waist and told women to also remove the scarfs which they wore on their heads. He then berated them for saying that soldiers or former soldiers had killed Jean-Pierre. He stated instead that insurgents were responsible and told the crowd that such violence was how the insurgents repaid people for feeding and sheltering them. Local people were shocked and angered at being thus humiliated, particularly by a soldier who had previously been known for good relations with the community. The practice of forcing people to sit or stand tightly packed together has frequently been used by the RPA as a way of demonstrating control over people. This tactic of deliberate humiliation is known by the Swahili term of songamane.39
On January 10, 2000, the prefect of Ruhengeri met with government employees to exhort them to contribute financial support to the army (see below). A respected older man, a former burgomaster, took the occasion to complain both about the obligation for citizens to do nightly patrols, which left them too exhausted to work well during the day, and about the humiliation of the population by Lieutenant Gasana.
On February 6, Lieutenant Gasana once more assembled the people of several sectors of Ruhengeri town and its immediate area. He took to task the former burgomaster for his statement at the January 10 meeting with the prefect and elicited a public apology from him.4036 Human Rights Watch interviews, Kigali, March 7 and 19, 2000. 37 Human Rights Watch interviews, Kigali, January 17 and March 20, 2000. 38 Human Rights Watch interview, Kigali, March 20, 2000. 39 Human Rights Watch interviews, Ruhengeri, February 8 and 24 and March 3, 2000. 40 Ibid.