April 23, 1994: Tutsi massacre at Nyamagana pond, Nyanza

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April 23, 1994: Tutsi massacre at Nyamagana pond, Nyanza

Yanditswe Apr, 23 2020 13:19 PM
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On April 23, 1994 the criminal government continued their plan to exterminate Tutsi in all regions of the country. This document points out some of the locations where Tutsi massacre took place on this date in 1994. 

Till April 23rd, roadblocks were set up across the country, it was obvious that Tutsi were being killed in churches, health centers, commune offices, football grounds, markets and schools.  In a short period, many Tutsi had been killed in the southern prefectures of the country i.e BUTARE, GIKONGORO, CYANGUGU. As for the northern prefectures: BYUMBA, RUHENGERI, GISENYI, they had completed the extermination of the Tutsi in the first week following April 7, 1994.

1. TUTSI MASSACRE AT BITSIBO PRIMARY SCHOOL, KAMONYI

The former Bitsibo Primary School is located in Nkomane village, Rukambura cell, Musambira sector, Kamonyi district. The massacre on the hill of Bitsibo started on 20th April,1994. It was then that the Tutsi started to flee to various places: bushes, at neighbours’ homes, others were taken to Musambira commune by commune leaders to be killed there.  

On April 23, 1994, the authorities declared that peace had been restored, that information made survivors who were hiding in the bushes, and in other places to return to their previously abandoned homes. On the evening of April 23rd, 1994, killers gathered all Tutsi who were promised to return home for the reason that peace had been restored   and took them to Bitsibo school. They were killed the whole evening and thrown in a pit which was excavated when the school was being built. Tutsi killed in Bitsibo are many because survivors of the Kayenzi commune massacre of the 21st and 22nd April had also come to Bitsibo, as well as some Tutsi from Gacurabwenge Sector who had come to Bitsibo. Tutsi killed at the school were killed by traditional weapons, including machetes, clubs and more.

Some of the perpetrators included: MINANI, MBUGUJE, BADEGE Augustin (shop owner), Aloys who led the cell, RUTAGENGWA Bertin and others.

2. TUTSI MASSACRE IN RWANIRO SECTOR (MWENDO), HUYE

Rwaniro was attacked on 20th April, 1994 by the attack that came from Gikongoro in Kinyamakara Commune; the entire population started to fight back regardless of ethnicity, but, day after day the attack became stronger.  On April 22, 1994, a major attack with many guns led by of the Gikongoro Gendarmery commanding officer Sebuhura, accompanied by the Bourgmestre Munyaneza, who was leading Kinyamakara Commune arrived. In addition, Mucumankiko Silas who was the manager of Tabarwanda (a cigarette manufacturing factory), and Masabo Juvenal Nyangezi who owned a car that brought killers at Mwogo bridge and started firing.

Others fled and passed Rwaniro, crossed Rusuri river and spent the night on Rubaba hill. Many of those who did not go to Rubaba went to Ruhashya Commune and to ISAR Rubona. People from Gikongoro crossed and joined killers from Maraba commune to set fire on Tutsi houses, they continued to Rubaba and called upon Hutu to separate from the Tutsi and to come and help them kill.

Tutsi from the former Rwaniro Sector were killed progressively. Those who survived at Rubaba fled to Rusatira commune and encountered the attack of the former Rusatira Bourgmestre Nyawenda Hesironi who collaborated with Munyakayanza (who led Ruhashya health center). The survivors fled to ISAR Songa. When killers started killing in Songa, some Tutsi took the way to Mayaga. 

The prominent killers in Rwaniro were Mugemana Tharcisse alias Mabiye, a teacher in Rwaniro, Ngenzi Godefroid (MONAGRI), Nsengiyumva Venuste a businessman, Interahamwe: Munyakayanza Joseph, Ntamukunzi Aloys, Munyankindi Michel, and Ntahobavukira Emmanuel.

3. TUTSI MASSACRE AT THE FORMER MUSANGE COMMUNE, NYAMAGABE, GIKONGORO

It is located in the former Musange Commune, Kaduha sous prefecture in Gikongoro Prefecture. Tutsi started to flee to Musange commune office on April 9,1994. The family who fled there on the same day was sent back by Bourgmestre Bernard Bizimana through a police officer called Sahabu saying that there was no reason to flee.  

The police officer took them back home and when he returned, he said that people had taken them and killed them. On the same day, Bourgmestre took a car and toured all the sectors with a loudspeaker urging all Tutsi to flee to the commune's office so that they can be protected. Many of them started seeking refuge at the commune, others at the court premises where they lived in difficult conditions. Mbayire Longine, the Interahamwe, cut all water pipes and they started fetching water from Muhura River but Bourgmestre Bizimana immediately fenced it and told the police to shoot whoever crosses it.

On April 23, 1994 around 10 am, many Interahamwe and soldiers gunshot refugees for 30 minutes and then civilians with machetes, wooden clubs with nails, small hoes and other weapons killed the surviving ones. They massacred Tutsi up to 5pm because it was raining. During the night, survivors took their way to Nyanza, Butare but many were killed at Nyamagana pond.

The leaders involved were Bourgmestre Bizimana Bernard, former Kaduha sous prefet Yowakimu, Munyangoga Dominiko (Director of BNR) and he was also born from Musange, the Director of Musange health center called Mugwaneza, the agronomist called Akimana, the former Inspector of Education called Rwamuhungu and others.

4. TUTSI MASSACRE IN KABUYE SECTOR, GISAGARA

Kabuye is located in the former Ndora Commune, Butare Prefecture. It started with the arrival of many refugees from the Nyaruguru where the killing had already started, some took refuge among their relatives, others were gathered at the site on which the market was built. At that time, there were dangerous patrols that were said to be guarding against the infiltration of “Inyenzi”.  During those patrols, plans to kill Tutsi were polished.  

On April 21, 1994 President Sindikubwabo Théodore visited Gisagara sous prefecture and initiated the Genocide. After the meeting which incited Hutu to kill Tutsi, the next day on 22nd April,1994 Uwizeye Fidel (a mechanic) brought the Commune car with police and arrested all the youths who had taken refuge there and they were put in the police station and they were eventually killed in the evening in Rwasave forest.  The killers told interahamwe to start killing because those who were suspected of illegally keeping guns supplied by Inkotanyi had already died. 

Uwizeye Fidel inspected all roadblocks and reported to the highest military and civilian levels.  He collaborated with Manariyo François, Ndayisaba Antoine, Kamanzi Yozefu (former leaders of Ndora commune). Fidel was later appointed Bourgmestre for his passion in committing the Genocide, replacing Rwankubito Celestin. 

On April 23, 1994, Ntawukuriryayo Dominique (Gisagara sous prefet), Callixte Kalimanzira and Rwankubito Petero (Bourgmestre of Ndora Commune), ordered Tutsi to go to Kabuye hill. They then brought soldiers and police to shoot them, the killings continued and the next day people came to kill the survivors. 

Murderers from all over met at Kabuye: an attack came from Muganza Commune led by Bourgmestre Ndayambaje Elie, Burundians from Kibayi camp also came and members of a militia group called "Jaguar".

At the forefront of the killings were President Sindikubwabo, Ntawukuriryayo Dominique (Gisagara sous prefet), Callixte Kalimanzira, Rwankubito Petero (Bourgmestre of Ndora Commune), Uwihoreye Kayitani - a businessman, Albert (the secretary for Gisagara sous prefecture) along with his wife Agatha and their two sons (Claude and Francois). Manigabe Vincent had a gun and he shot many Tutsi in Kabuye, Singirankabo Laurent - the head of the MRND, Rutagengwa Anathole (a police officer), Karemanzira who was in charge of ELECTROGAZ, Kubwimana Jean alias Bikomagu, Sindikubwabo Vianney - the president of MDR, Hategekimana Isaac (Dahwe cell leader) and others. Former MP Mukarurangwa Bernadette would come to monitor the progress of the Genocide implementation in Ndora Commune.

Dominique Ntawukuriryayo was convicted of genocide crime by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

5. TUTSI MASSACRE AT NYAMAGANA POND, NYANZA 

The Nyamagana pond was set up during the reign of King RUDAHIGWA for watering the crops but during the Genocide many Tutsi were thrown in and there was a very serious roadblock. The pond was located in Kigoma Commune, Remera Sector currently in Nyanza District, Busasamana Sector. During the Genocide, many Tutsi from Gikongoro prefecture, especially Rukondo and Kinyamakara communes, fled to Nyanza hoping for the protection like back in 1959. Some of the survivors of Kaduha Parish attack also fled to Nyanza. 

At Nyamagana pond, there was a serious roadblock. Tutsi were told that they should not be frightened because they had arrived into the hands of the authorities but it was a trick to pull them together because they were later killed with guns, machetes, clubs and other weapons.

Apart from those at the roadblock, there were many other Tutsi who lived on the coasts of the pond, those brought by killers from their hiding places in the sorghum and elsewhere, those hiding at their neighbours because many Tutsi houses had been burnt down. Killers would find them, run after them and others would shout at them and eventually thrown in the pond. 

For example, MUDACUMURA Eraste was thrown into water after being chased here and there around the pond and later they mocked him for committing suicide although he was a Christian. Some Tutsi who were able to swim, were stoned along the way until they get tired and drowned. 

They were killed by gendarmes who included HAGUMA and BIRIKUNZIRA Francois Xavier in collaboration with an Interahamwe group called "Imberebere." 

The genocide against the Tutsi continued throughout the country, led by the criminal government, leaders of political parties and members of HUTU-POWER, high ranking military, killer groups of the Interahamwe and Impuzamugambi. Authorities at the Commune, Sector and Cell levels have been very influential in mobilizing people to participate in the Genocide, and hence those who did not kill watched the killings except some few who saved Tutsi. 

Dr BIZIMANA Jean Damascène

Executive Secretary

National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide (CNLG) 



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