14-18 May 1994: Massacre in Musambira, Kabgayi and Byimana


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14-18 May 1994: Massacre in Musambira, Kabgayi and Byimana

Yanditswe May, 18 2020 13:07 PM | 26,694 Views

On April 20, 1994, the criminal government continued its vicious plot to exterminate Tutsi across the country. This document points out some of the locations where the massacre of many Tutsi took place between May 14 and 18, 1994.

1.  Massacre of Tutsi at Musambira Health Center and Musambira parish, Kamonyi

The last time the extreme killing in Musambira commune took place was from April 18 to 20/1994. 

On 14/05/1994, the killings also intensified. Some of the survivors of the massacre that took place across Musambira commune, fled to the Musambira Health Center and at the nearby Musambira Commune office. In order to gather Tutsi again, the authorities told them to flee to the commune office and the health center, so that they can protect them there and build shelters for them as their houses had been destroyed. 

On 14/5/1994, the attack came and surrounded the Health Center and all men were killed that day.  The corpses were so many that they were scattered all around even in the goats and cows market area and Tutsi women were instructed to pick up the corpses and most of them were their husbands. Women refused to pick them, and the killers started to beat them up, triggering them to drag the bodies on the ground to the garbage dumps of the butchery and health center. 

On the morning of 15/5/1994, the killers brought a children's attack to kill the Tutsi children, because on 14/5/1994 only young boys and men were killed, children and women were left. The children came with machetes, clubs, but were led by adults. On that date all the children were killed by their fellow children, and again women and small children were left.

On 16/05/1994, the attack took women from health Center and handed them over to the other killers at the roadblock in Cyakabiri, who also took them to Kagarama and Nyarubaka. They met another attack there and killed many women, stoned them, buried them alive and committed all possible evils.

The killings continued in the area, and during the days that followed.

On 18/05/1995, Tutsi who had taken refuge at St. Kizito Musambira parish were killed. Those who had taken refuge there were Tutsi from all around, including those already living in Musambira commune and neighbouring communes, plus those from Runda and Kigali who were heading to Kabgayi. They were killed by a variety of weapons including guns and traditional weapons. After the genocide the tomb where they were buried was transferred to Kibuza Memorial.

The main perpetrators of the Musambira massacre are:

  • NYANDWI Charles Bourgmestre of Musambira;
  • KARANE Dominique, former Bourgmestre of Musambira;
  • IYAKAREMYE Abudrahamani;
  • RYUMUGABE Alphonse;
  • KARAMBIZI (former councilor);
  • MUHOZI Jafari;
  • HARERIMANA Joseph alias NTURO;
  • Frodouard who was a police officer;
  • LANDUWARIDI, VIANNEY, interahamwe and other Hutu citizens. communities.

2.  Tutsi massacre at Nyarubaka - Gitega, Kamonyi

On 16/05/1994, Killers escorted women along with small children who had been evacuated from the Musambira health after killing their husbands and older children, to Gitega in Nyarubaka Sector which was in Musambira Commune at the time. When they arrived, Tutsi women were told that no baby boy would leave the area alive. Because the boys were very hunted, some parents had tried to dress them up like girls.

During the attack in Gitega, a woman named MUKANGANGO Laurence was the one who checked whether a child was a boy or a girl. All the boys were put in a hole alive and they ordered their mothers to bury them and put the soil. Some of the women refused and started to be beaten and killed on spot, others agreed to cover the hole with soil. 

Those children were heartlessly killed as some of them were apologizing that they will no longer be Tutsi, others were claiming that they were throwing soil in their eyes.  As the soil fell in the whole some were fighting to climb up from the pit but in vain. The total number of children killed there was 78.

From there to Nyarubaka Sector, many women and girls were killed as they were killed gradually, tortured, mocked until they reached Musumba and severely beaten. At Musumba, they were beaten nearby the former Bourgmestre of Nyamabuye Commune RUZIGANA Emmanuel’s meeting place.  A few who survived went to Kabgayi, while others continued to wander in the forests and bushes until the end of the genocide.

3.  Tutsi killed at Ecole des Sciences de Byimana

During the Genocide against the Tutsi, 105 Tutsi were killed in the fields of Byimana Secondary School in the forest. The school is located in the former Gitarama Prefecture, Mukingi Commune, Muhororo Sector, Kigarama cell currently in Ruhango District, Byimana Sector, Bukomero Cell, Muhororo Village. It was run by Marist Brothers till now. 

Many Tutsi, especially those evacuated from Kabgayi including Tutsi Marist brothers living in the Byimana Monastery and fled to Kabgayi on 24/04/1994 after being expelled from the monastery by their colleagues and were taken by Uwamungu Jean Bosco who was the head of Monastery.

On April 29, 1994, they first killed a teacher called Nteziyaremye Migabo Lazare and took him outside the school to kill him at the Byimana center where he lived.

Subsequently, on 13/05/1994, only Tutsi teachers who were teaching at the Byimana school were killed, including Rubayiza Etienne, who was killed in the school where he was hiding, Gasana Balthazar and Nyirakazungu Gloriose, who lived outside the campus, they were shot dead by soldiers who were in the campus.  Gasana was killed together with his son Niragire Prudence. 

There were also Gako Camp soldiers’ wives and injured Ex FAR who had fled after Bugesera was liberated and they participated in the killing. 

On 24/5/1994 the soldiers evacuated Byimana Brothers from Kabgayi where they had taken refuge including Gatari Gaspard who was in charge of studies at Byimana School, Nyirinkindi Canisius and Bisengimana Fabien who were the Marist brothers and were killed in Byimana. 

There were others brothers who worked in Kabgayi comprising of brother Munyanshongore Martin who was the head of the Josephites brothers in Rwanda with a headquarter in Kabgayi. Also Father Niyonshuti Celestin, a former missionary to the Catholic Parish of Byimana and a nun called Mama Benigne of the Abenebikira congregation who was in charge of Kabgayi nutrition center were also killed in Byimana.

In general, brothers, priests, nuns and other Tutsi who had taken refuge there especially those who were already well-known, including KALINDA Viateur, a sports journalist for Radio Rwanda and others, were evacuated from Kabgayi to be killed. 

Before bringing them back to be killed in Byimana, their fellow Brothers of Byimana used to supply them with food at Kabgayi. This allowed them to identify the refugees and monitor their information until they claimed that they should be executed in Byimana. 

They were shot dead and killed by injured soldiers who had exiled in the monastery. Among them there was Lt Monique and a soldier called Nzayisenga who was born in Byimana. 

Some of the others involved in the killings included:

Ntamugabumwe Emmanuel, Nduwamungu Emmanuel and Kibihira and they have all been convicted of genocide by Gacaca Courts. Others at the forefront of the planning of the massacre include the High Priest of Byimana Catholic Parish NDAGIJIMANA Joseph who has been sentenced to life imprisonment by the ordinary courts and is currently being held at Nyanza Prison in Mpanga.  There was also Brother NKUSI François from Cyanika in Nyamagabe District and lived in monastery of Marists brothers in Byimana. He was sentenced by the Gacaca Court of Muhororo Sector to 25 years imprisonment and he is detained in Nyanza Prison.

Another one was Brother Uwamungu Bosco who lived in Byimana, who became a Priest after the Genocide; now living in the United States (USA) and was sentenced in absentia to 30 years in prison by the Gacaca Court of the Muhororo sector. 

Rugamba François, a driver of the Byimana school, was sentenced to 30 years in prison by the ordinary courts and is currently being held in Nyanza Prison. Ntiyamira Alexis, the former MDR President in Mukingi commune and a teacher at Groupe Scolaire Shyogwe, was not convicted and fled to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

4.  The United Nations had continuously been reluctant to help Tutsi affected by Genocide

On 17 May 1994, the United Nations Security Council pretended and voted in favour of increasing the number of UNAMIR troops to 5,500, confirming that Rwanda had been stripped of its right to buy weapons of mass destruction.  Despite the voted decision, the United Nations refused to renew UNAMIR's mandate to use force to stop the genocide. The decision was never implemented until the end of genocide. 

However, BBC Radio reported in its May 14, 1994 news that Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Senegal and Australia were ready to provide troops to increase the number of UNAMIR’s. In the news report, BBC Radio also reported that UN Secretary-General Boutros-Boutros Ghali had reported at the meeting that UNAMIR would need USD 115 million but the money was never paid.

The United Nations debate at the summit was marked by cooperation between France and the criminal government in refusing to vote on resolutions to protect the victims. Former Rwandan Ambassador to the United Nations BIZIMANA Jean Damascene, who fled to the United States, with the help of the French Ambassador to the United Nations, Jean Bernard MERIMEE, refused to vote to increase the number of foreign troops in Rwanda and refused to vote for the decision of banning the criminal government from importing weapons used to carry out genocide. 

5.  For the first time the word Genocide was articulated at the international level

After the whole month and a half of Tutsi being massacred every day in Rwanda and the international community doing nothing but observing and the United Nations refusing to give the proper name to the genocide of Tutsi, His Holiness Pope John Paul II condemned it.

In his speech of Sunday, May 15, 1994, in a message to the world, he called on the international community to do its utmost to stop the genocide in Rwanda. Pope John Paul II also called on the international community to do its utmost to bring justice to those involved in the Genocide.

Radio France International station (RFI), through its journalist who was in Rwanda Jean Helene, who worked in the criminals’ section, continued to broadcast information supporting the government and gave them many exclusive interviews on RFI. 

On May 15, 1994, the RFI hosted Interahamwe leader Robert Kajuga and he denied all the killings done by Kambanda government, its forces and the Interahamwe/Impuzamugambi and declared that only Inkotanyi and their accomplices were being killed but not civilians.

On May 18, 1994, the Genocide had already killed many Tutsi across the country, leaving only a few places where they were defending themselves or not yet killed for various reasons. The type of violence used, the role played by the government authorities by involving Hutu people in the genocide against the Tutsi is a clear indication that the massacre was planned and carried out by the government.  These dates were mostly marked by the killing of children who had not been killed as well as women.

Dr BIZIMANA Jean Damascène

Executive Secretary

National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide (CNLG)

Ba uwambere gutanga igitekerezo

Tanga igitekerezo:


Turquoise: Military operation to the rescue of the genocidal government and its

Itangizwa rya Opération Turquoise yaje gutabara Guverinoma y’abican

June 18, 1994: Lt Col Anatole Nsengiyumva was instructed to send troops to kill

June 17, 1994: The Cabinet meeting lied about the existence of Inyenzi in Bisese

17 kamena 1994 :Inama ya Guverinoma ya Kambanda yabeshye ko mu Bisesero hari iny

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