Kangura No. 40

Ruhengeri and Byumba Attacks, Tutsis Drank Champagne

Hassan Ngeze

When Ruhengeri was attacked, all the Tutsis and particularly those who were in Kigali became famous for their arrogance and took “champagne” on grounds that their kinsmen had returned to the fold. They no longer conceal the fact that this war pits the Hutus against the Tutsis. They were quite confident: the Inyenzi were going to besiege the capital. They were mad with joy before Radio Rwanda had announced it during its first news broadcast on the morning of 8 February 1993. For their part, the Hutus urged them to show their joy in like manner. Big problems, big solutions.

As you heard on Radio Rwanda, Ruhengeri town was attacked in the night of the seventh to the eighth. Many accomplices living in this town advised the Tutsis who lived there to escape. A good number of the attackers came in through the Rwebeya Bridge, climbed, all of Yaoundé, went towards the neighborhood known as “mu kizungu,” [neighborhood of the rich]. They surrounded all of Kabaya. They shelled Nyamagumba heavily, and finally climbed it.

The Inyenzi who stayed at the foot of Kabaya attacked the population of that locality as well as that of the Muko Secteur, in the area bordering on Kabaya and seriously maltreated them.

These are not praises, but rather the cruelty of people who call themselves the Inyenzi. In fact, the M.R.N.D. and C.D.R. flags they saw in the area worsened the situation. They called the inhabitants or grabbed them while promising them that nothing will happen to them. Thus 20 or 30 Hutus were locked up in one house and shot. In Ruhengeri, very many Hutu civilians perished. Skulls, legs, trunks were strewn everywhere… Are the Inyenzi real “brothers.” Those who succeeded in fleeing have very little hope of finding their relatives again, for a high-ranking soldier told us that since he had been leading military operations, that was the first time he saw civilians perish in like manner during fighting.

Now, they are no longer operating in the hiding. They placed M.R.N.D. or C.D.R. caps on every Hutu they killed. The Tutsis who were with us during the 12 April visit to Ruhengeri were witnesses. Furthermore, Paul Kagame recently stated on a foreign radio that the R.P.F. belonged to the Tutsis and that is why he reportedly came to assert respect for that ethnic group in the region. Let’s wait and see the outcome of this undertaking.

The armed forces should continue to pursue them; the others will take care of the rest: if someone hurts you and you do not retaliate, he takes you for a weakling. For the Hutus, that was not the case. It was not vengeance but rather self-defense or else they (the Inyenzi) would continue to eliminate us subtly.

As we already stated, we visited Ruhengeri on 12 February. We were accompanied by many Tutsi journalists as well as members of human rights associations. But in reality, the well-informed knew the man in question well. They all saw how the Inyenzi themselves buried many people in a common grave. That was also the case in Kinigi in 1991.

Recently, you have noted how whites, who visited this region within the human rights context, went to Kinigi, exhumed human bones there and later asserted that they were the Bagogwe of Kinigi. Most of these Tutsi journalists asserted in their newspapers that the statements of the said whites were true. Le Flambeau No. 2 talked about 2000 Bagogwe who were dead but showed the picture of a skull culled from Jeune Afrique which related to the Liberian events, if you please!

The only Hutu who was in our company physically was Musangamfura, Editor of the Isibo newspaper. It is known that this newspaper was working for the M.D.R., the “transparent” party operating for the R.P.F. Without further ado, you understand the side Musangamfura was supporting. Those in our company that we considered as Hutus were members of the armed forces. Had it not been for the discipline of the Milles Collines [thousand hills] Armed Forces, these Tutsis…

These accomplices did not go back happy, for regarding the confrontation between the Inyenzi and the armed forces, the attacks on their kinsmen constituted genocide. Very many brothers perished whereas that was the beginning of a war de novo. The morale of the Rwandan Armed Forces was high. Minister Gasana only has to return. There is no other remedy or vaccine. The situation is deteriorating. Have they not shown us their true colors? Did Museveni, their trainer, not capture Kampala at the time Okello was embroiled in negotiations? This time, no naivety. No more naivety.

Up to 12 February, no P.L., P.S.D., M.D.R., P.D.C. politician, member of government, has expressed his opinion showing the side he supports. We feel that this is treachery. The Prime Minister is performing a function that he does not deserve. Is it normal that he has made so far no statement to Rwandans? Those who are closely watching the situation say that he thought straightaway of elections. On the other hand, Habyarimana has reportedly lost many of his voters, according to public opinion polls. This indicates that on the day that the holding of meetings will once again be allowed, the opponents will use this attack to establish their bad habits. Nsengiyaremye does not lose anything, for, it is the Abakiga who are dying and, usually, he does not tolerate them.

We learn the following lesson from this trip: Many Tutsis sought refuge in Kigali and some say that the capital could be attacked. Usually, we know that the Hutu takes a long time to be angry, but once he is angry, the situation becomes irreversible. This attack that they are using to intimidate us in the same way as a baby is frightened by darkness, could coincide with the moment when the Hutus are going to rise up like one man. Perhaps, that will be the time to kill in the hotels where they usually seek refuge. Moreover, the authorities assembled in Kigali will understand that this is war!

During the visit to the battlefield, we were with Tutsis working in Kigali including some who claimed to be representing Tutsi rights. When the Major showed them the extent of the wickedness of their kinsmen, particularly, when they were shown people burnt in houses razed to the ground, those ripped open, those castrated.… These Tutsis smiled and wished deep down inside for the extermination of the Hutus to enable their brothers to return without difficulties.

Figure that it is in this way that the Inyenzi want to come and cohabit with the Hutus to whom they have caused pain. It is in this way that they would like to eliminate them. Seeing the Hutus die and the Tutsis organize the feast, gives an image of Rwanda in the coming days! Regarding the wickedness of the Tutsis who accompanied us during the said visit, you will discover it in articles that will be published in their newspapers Le Flambeau, Kanguka, Le Soleil, Rwanda Rushya, Isibo and La Griffe, as well as others that you know well.