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14-17 June 199: Tusti Massacre at Ste Famille and St Paul continued

Yanditswe Jun, 16 2020 11:44 AM | 44,685 Views

The last days of June 1994 were marked by the defeat of the forces of the criminal government that lost parts of Kigali and Gitarama Cities. As a result, the few remaining Tutsi who were hiding in the Catholic parish of Sainte Famille and at the Centre National de Pastorale Saint Paul were massacred by Interahamwe led by army chiefs including Colonel Renzaho Tarisisi and Colonel Laurent Munyakazi.

On the night of June 16 to 17, 1994, the Inkotanyi rescued the Tutsi who were hiding in the Centre National de Pastorale Saint Paul.


The first massacre of Tutsi who had taken refuge in the Sainte Famille church took place on April 15, 1994 through which at least 135 men and boys were killed.

After the rescue of Tutsi who were at the Centre National de Pastorale Saint Paul by the RPF Inkotanyi, the killers expressed their anger towards the Tutsi who had taken refuge in the Sainte Famille church. On June 17, 1994, at around 10:00 am, a major attack went to Sainte Famille Church and killed nearly a 100 Tutsi men and two girls.

On June 15, 1994, UNAMIR evacuated some Tutsi to the area under the control of the RPF Inkotanyi. Especially women, girls and children were evacuated because Col Munyakazi Laurent had requested the Councilor Odeta Nyirabagenzi and Angelina Mukandutiye to bring the Interahamwe to surround the car where they were being loaded to make sure that no men or boys could be taken as it would make the RPF Inkotanyi stronger.

In the Sainte Famille Church, the killers came at any time, they chose and would take some Tutsi to kill especially since the church was surrounded by the gendarms and the Interahamwe on a daily basis, making it even difficult for Tutsi refugees to flee there.

On June 19, 1994, the killers, along with Col Munyakazi Laurent, Angeline Mukandutiye, Odeta Nyirabagenzi, Kamatamu Euphrasie, Col Renzaho Tharcisse and Father Munyeshyaka, again abducted about 17 other young men and killed them, including Rubashankwaya Bonaventure  who worked in the Ministry of Finance and Economy (MINIFINECO), Munyensanga JMV, Athanase, Aloys, Ignace, Kasongo, Alexandre, Jean Damascène, Safari, Jean Pierre and others whose identity were not known as it was revealed in the case of Gen. Maj. MUNYAKAZI Laurent.

On June 20, 1994, for the third time, UNAMIR evacuated some Tutsi to the areas occupied by the RPF Inkotanyi, but were unable to take them all and the killers, with complicity of Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, continued to take them one by one until the Inkotanyi captured the City of Kigali and rescued the Tutsi who were left at Sainte Famille.

On June 26, 1994, Col Munyakazi Laurent, along with Mukandutiye Angelina and other militias, including Mugubiri, went to the Sainte Familleand took away about 70 young men to kill them.


On April 22, 1994, the attack on the Tutsi refugees at the CELA (Center d'Etudes de Langues Africaines) also went to the Centre National de Pastorale Saint Paul and killed 4 people, including: RutsindukaAristarque and Rukundo Damien.

On June 14, 1994, at the Centre National de Pastorale Saint Paul, a large attack came and took away between 72 and 80 Tutsi to the Rugenge Sectorfrom where they were taken to be killed at the CND. The attack was composed of many Interahamwe including NKESHIMANA Jean Pierre nicknamed Kivide, Fidele Castal, Furaha nicknamed Shitani, Mugubiri, the councillor Nyirabagenzi Odeta, inspector Mukandutiye Angelina, Col Laurent Munyakazi, Father Munyeshyaka Wenceslas and others.

Before they came to take away those that they killed on June 14, 1994, on June 13, 1994, Col Munyakazi Laurent with Nyirabagenzi, Mukandutiye and Father Munyeshyaka held a meeting with Tutsi who had taken refuge in Saint Paul to ask them where they would wantto go, either in the area controlled by the RPF Inkotanyi or that controlled by the so called savours’ government. They completed lists which were thought to have been used while killing them.

On that day, the killers said that they would return on June 17, 1994 to eliminate all Tutsi who were present. The plot was not fulfilled because on the night of June 16-17, 1994, the RPF Inkotanyi forces liberated Tutsi who were in the Centre National de Pastorale Saint Paul and took them to a safe place under their control.

In order for the RPF Inkotanyi forces to liberate those who were in the Centre National de Pastorale Saint Paul, they startedfiring heavily on the saviours’ government forces on June 16, 1994 during the day until they arrived at the Centre National de Pastorale Saint Paul at night. Some Tutsi who were there did not believe that Inkotanyi have arrived and while some were being evacuated by Inkotanyi that night, others stayed and were killed the next day on June 17, 1994.

On June 15, 1994, after an attack that had taken away many Tutsi on the previous day, there was a Hutu young man named Gasore Gustave, who had taken Tutsi to the Centre National de Pastoral Saint Paul to hide them and remained there because he feared he would be killed because the killers had known that he had taken Tutsi to hide them.  On this date, a group of people, including his parents and relatives, took him away from where Father Celestin Hakizimana had hidden him in his house, and the priest begged them to let him go, but his parents said he was going to be questioned by the authorities; they took him and killed him at SOFERWA.


KAMEYA André was the editor-in-chief of the opposition Newspaper RWANDA RUSHYA and was one of the founders of the P.L party. RWANDA RUSHYA was published twice a month, competing with other MRND-backed newspapers such as Kangura. Kameya was also the first to publish the photos of the Inkotanyiinforming that they were Rwandan children who were returning in the story entitled: "U RWANDA MU RUNDI". He was one of the most wanted people whomthey claimed to be working closely with the RPF Inkotanyi.

KAMEYA and his wife NYIRAMURUTA Suzana and their daughter Oliva, were killed at the command of the former Prefect of Kigali City Renzaho Tharcisse, and Col Munyakazi Laurent.

Kameya André was killed on the night of June 15 to 16, 1994. On June 16, 1994, Odeta Nyirabagenzi and his accomplices went to theCentre National de Pastorale Saint Paul to announce his death. On June 14, 1994, he spent the day with his son KAMEYA Olivier at Abizeramariya sisters’ convent. On the same day, the Interahamwe paraded around the Sainte Famille Church, theCentre National de Pastorale Saint Paul and around the area where theKinyamateka newspaper was sold.

On the morning of June 15, 1994, Kameya André went to see Father Munyeshyaka Wenceslas for the latter to decide on helping him to flee because he was very much wanted, but Father Munyeshyaka immediately took him to Nyirabagenzi Odeta’s place who was the Councilor of Rugenge Sector where the Interahamwe met and Odeta wanted him very much.

One of the Interahamwe who was present, by the name of Ntambara, is the one who indicated where his body was buried in about 200 meters from NyirabagenziOdeta’s place.


In 1996, THEUNIS wrote an article in the French Priests’ newspaper Le Lien denying the role of Father Munyeshyaka in the Genocide against the Tutsi. THEUNIS, who left Rwanda on April 12, 1994, wrote that MUNYESHYAKA was never involved in any kind of killings in Rwanda during the Genocide and yet he was not around to see his daily behaviour. Father THEUNIS emphasised that there was no massacre at the Sainte Famille: "MUNYESHYAKA killed no one in Rwanda, there was no death at Sainte Famille church”,"accusing him of genocide is unacceptable".

The leader of the white French priests, Francois RICHARD, immediately after receiving the letter from THEUNIS wrote another accompanying letter to the leadership of the Catholic Church in France urging them to support Father MUNYESHYAKA saying he was the sacrifice of RPF’s criminal politic.

This is how Father MUNYESHYAKA was able to rule in France, and be accepted by the christians who were misled by THEUNIS, and are still clinging to him. Let us recall that Munyeshyaka was convicted of genocide crime by Gacaca Courts and sentenced to life imprisonment.

In October 1997, THEUNIS wrote in the French newspaper LA CROIX denying the Genocide against the Tutsi. Father THEUNIS blamed the RPF for the killings committed by ex-FAR and the Interahamwe, saying that in the RPF-controlled area of ​​KIGALI there were seven hundred and ninety-two (792)more casualties than those killed in the governmentand ex-FAR controlled area who were estimated at six hundred (600) people:"There was practically more of civilian killing in the government controlled area (about 600) as they are in the RPF controlled areawho were even reduced to (792)”!

THEUNIS continued to talk about the Sainte Famille massacre by emphasising that there was no massacre of Tutsi there, except only 3 people killed in the church by the RPF gunshots on the building.

He continued and said that at least 50 others were killed in front of the "Sainte Famille Primary School" on June 17, 1994, because the RPF had also killed 50 others in the early hours of that day: “there has never been killings in Sainte Famille Church. (…) only three people were killed in the church (…) due to gunfire of the church by the RPF (...) Fifty people were killed on June 17, 1994, by the interahamwe to revenge the RPF who had also killed more than 50 people near the Sainte Famille primary Schools at around 3 am”.

Briefly, THEUNIS makes it clear that nobody was killed by INTERAHAMWE at Sainte Famille except those killed to revenge those already killed by the RPF.

On June 15, 1997, an article was published in the monthly newspaper called Bulletin d'Anformation Africaine, n ° 326, by the White Fathers, about Father Theunis's interview with European journalists together with Colette BRAECKMANN and Filip REYNTJENS. Responding on what caused the war outbreak in Rwanda, THEUNIS said in a statement: "It is unchangeable. In general, the Hutu are peaceful. They were looking for a revolution without conflict. Violence always comes from one side, from the Tutsi side. "Tutsi are always the ones who start the war, in other words, they are the ones who make things worse."

In French he said: " C’est une constante. Les Hutus sont généralement pacifiques. Ils voulaient une évolution non violente. La violence vient toujours du même côté. D’un seul côté. (…) Du côté des Tutsi. Ce sont toujours les Tutsi qui provoquent, qui d’une manière ou d’une autre gâtent les choses. »

The hatred of the Tutsi accompanied by acts of demeaning the Genocide against the Tutsi by Father Theunis is not new. He is a close ally of the Habyarimana government in slandering the RPF. Together with his colleague Father Jef Vleugels, since the Inkotanyi started the struggle for national liberation in October 1990, the two have worked together to discredit the INKOTANYI and to speak for the government which was in place. The killings carried out by that government were blamed to RPF Inkotanyi by the two priests.

Even during the time of the arrest and detention of the so-called accomplices, THEUNIS and VLEUGELS wrote that the RPF did indeed have accomplices in Kigali, thus supporting a policy of imprisoning and killing Tutsi who were accused of being accomplices of the Inkotanyi.

Between 1990 and 1994, THEUNIS and VLEUGELS co-authored a number of articles insulting the RPF which they sent to Europe and elsewhere around the world at least once a week and to be used in the international media. The articles were sent by fax, appeared to be the voice of HABYARIMANA's government and his army.


The Sainte Famille Parish and the Centre National de Pastorale Saint Paul are some of the most important houses of the Catholic Church in Kigali City. Tutsi fled there because they were confident of security and hoped that they would find God's people who would warmly welcome them. They experienced both the good and worst there. Among the killers there were christians who prayed with themevery week, or who had just concluded the daily morning Mass with them. There were also religious people led by Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, who played a key role in the betrayal of the Tutsi, in killing them and raping girls.

There is also the white Priest, Father Guy Theunis, who worked with Munyeshyaka in many activities as he had often written, and has made every effort to help Father Munyeshyaka flee to France and seek all possible help to cover up his crimes. Father Guy Theunis is one of the most trivializers of the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

However, there was also the significant role of Father Hakizimana Celestin, nowadays a Bishop of Gikongoro Catholic Diocese. Bishop Hakizimana Celestin did his best to help the Tutsi refugees, safeguarding them from the killers until the Inkotanyi arrived and rescued them. Those that Inkotanyi were not able to evacuate were killed by the Interahamwe who arrived on June 17, 1994, and exterminated them.

Done at Kigali on June 16, 2020

Dr BIZIMANA Jean Damascène

Executive Secretary

National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide (CNLG)

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