12 May 1994: Massacre of Tutsi at ADEPR Nyabisindu - Muhanga

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12 May 1994: Massacre of Tutsi at ADEPR Nyabisindu - Muhanga

Yanditswe May, 12 2020 09:59 AM
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Since the massacre in Nyamabuye commune intensified from April 23, 1994, Tutsi started to flee to the ADEPR Nyabisindu church located in Nyamabuye sector, Muhanga district.

Some Tutsi had taken refuge at the church but there were also the so-called Kivuye and Nyacyonga refugees who were camping there.  The latter had fled from some of the war zone communes of Byumba Prefecture, comprising Kivuye Commune, where their name came from.

Hence, refugees at Nyabisindu became so many and some of them were living in the primary schools of the Church.  ADEPR officials categorized the refugees based on their ethnicity. Pastor SAGAHUTU and another lady were sitting in front of the church, one was in charge of counting Hutu and the other in charge of Tutsi. 

Hutu refugees from Kivuye and Nyacyonga as well as other refugees from Kigali were taken to a better place and they mistreated Tutsi refugees. 

Among the Tutsi refugees, some were from various parts of Gitarama like Kibilira. Hutu refugees were involved in fetching the attackers that would kill Tutsi gradually till the last day when they massacred them all. Raping of women and girls was committed, and even young children were called to watch the transgression and some of the children were also forced to rape them. 

Before the D-date was reached, the prefect of Gitarama prefecture, Major UKURIKIYEYEZU and the sous prefect MISAGO RUTEGESHA Antoine, together with the ADEPR head Pastor, called NYANDWI Enock, ordered that the Tutsi refugees should be taken to a place called “Misizi” because they intended to kill them far away from the city. They escorted the refugees, the killers accompanied them with traditional weapons including axes, one vehicle was in front of them and the other behind them, all the way to Gitarama town. Along the journey, killers would kill some and dump them in rain drainages.

When the refugees arrived in Gitarama town, at the market, they revolted as they refused to go to Misizi, they rather tried to flee towards Kabgayi by force and that is where some of them were killed but others managed to reach Kabgayi. They were the first refugees to be housed at the “CND” in Kabgayi. Because of awful life at CND and constant attacks that killed Tutsi gradually, some refugees decided to return to ADEPR in Nyabisindu secretly. 

Consequently, on May 12, 1994, the Interahamwe attack with painted faces, wearing dried banana leaves armed with weapons like knives, axes, machetes and clubs with nails arrived and killed all the Tutsi. On that day, at around 2 pm, prisoners came to throw the corpses into the pits.  They dragged them down and some of them were still breathing, some were asking for forgiveness, others were praying and others just crying out… 

While killing the Tutsi who had taken refuge at ADEPR, they first left women and girls so that they could rape them first. Various tools were used to torture them including bottles, sharpened sticks and banana buds. 

Around 121 ADEPR victims are buried at Nyabisindu Genocide Memorial. 

Among the perpetrators of the massacre at ADEPR Nyabisindu were: 

  • The Prefect, Major Jean Damascene UKURIKIYEYEZU;

  • the sous prefect MISAGO-RUTEGESHA Antoine;

  • Pastor NSANZURWIMO Joseph, national spokesperson of ADEPR (live in Belgium);

  • Pastor NYANDWI Enock;

  • Pastor GATERE Simon Pierre;

  • UPFUYISONI Marie Goretti who was a Member of Parliament and Secretary General of the UNSODC party created by ADEPR authorities (she live in Belgium);

  •  Pastor SAGAHUTU Jean who led Nyabisindu parish and lives in Zambia; 

  • Pastor MUNYEBOYI Amon also living in Zambia;

  • Pastor KAGURANO Gerald;

  • Pastor GAKWERERE Cyprien (they both live in Uganda);

  • Pastor UTAZIRUBANDA Leon, who lives in Tanzania;

  • Pastor NKUBITO Noel;

  • NZIGIRA who was a staff of Gitarama prefecture;

  • Andre also called Ruhurwinda;

  • NIYIREMA Theodomire who was the Councillor;

  • RWAJEKARE, Tito and others.

The genocide against the Tutsi involved various categories of Rwandans including religious people. Some of them were prosecuted, others are still on trial including Pastor Jean UWINKINDI of ADEPR who was transferred by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda to face Rwandan courts. 

In 2016, the leadership of the ADEPR Church apologized for the role of some of its members in the Genocide against the Tutsi, including their former spokesperson, Pastor Joseph NSANZURWIMO who fled to Belgium and continues his contempt and denial of the Genocide against the Tutsi.


Dr BIZIMANA Jean Damascène

Executive Secretary

National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide (CNLG)



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