June 10, 1994: Kambanda Government set a standard for traders to purchase guns

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June 10, 1994: Kambanda Government set a standard for traders to purchase guns

Yanditswe Jun, 10 2020 11:46 AM
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On June 10, 1994, a fierce battle broke out near the town of Gitarama between the genocidal government forces and the RPF-INKOTANYI. The KAMBANDA government continued to look for ways to provide the population with guns and other tools to accelerate the Genocide and decided to instruct business people to buy their own guns to use in the killings and those for their neighbours. It was part of genocidal plot led by the government. 

1.  TRADERS WERE ORDERED TO PURCHASE THEIR OWN GUNS AND THOSE OF THE POPULATION 

According to the NYIRAMASUHUKO diary, on June 10, 1994, a Government meeting was held to review a number of issues, but the recurring issue was related to the way in which the Genocide was carried out. NYIRAMASUHUKO wrote on a review of how “auto-defense civile” should be expedited across the country. It was agreed that in order to obtain sufficient firearms, each trader was required to purchase at least two firearms, one belonging to him and the other to the neighbours in the area where he lived.

It was also decided that these guns are distributed in schools so that each school has ten guns. The meeting also pointed out that there is a need to put more effort into "auto-defense civile" in Gisenyi because it was not carried out to the desired level.  However, they were happy with how it was being carried out in Butare Prefecture and hence two million (2,000,000 frw) Rwandan francs more was given to Butare to continue the program. This means that the government provided the money to commit the killing and monitored it.

2.  KAMBANDA GOVERNMENT DISTRIBUTED GUNS AMONG CITIZENS AND WAS PLEASED WITH THE LEVEL OF TUTSI KILLING 

Among the considerations of the June 10, 1994 Cabinet meeting, was how guns should continue to be distributed to the public, especially among the Interahamwe. 

According to NYIRAMASUHUKO notes in her diary, they were pleased with the successful operation in the Rulindo fighting region and the Chief of army in that region was applauded. In addition, the collaboration between the Rushashi sous prefect in Kigali Ngari and the one for Kiyumba in Gitarama in the "auto- defense civile" program was applauded and requested that such examples would be followed by others.

In Ruhengeri, Lieutenant Colonel Marcel BIVUGABAGABO, who was in charge of the "auto-defense civile" operation was praised as he had managed to distribute 120 guns in Kinigi commune in Ruhengeri. However, there were concerns that the military leadership in Butare were disordered. 

The decision to tighten arms distribution was also reflected in the diary of NGIRABATWARE Augustin, the former Minister of Planning, who wrote that "Auto defense civile" in Gitarama, Gisenyi and Ruhengeri was being carried out in a pleasant manner. NGIRABWATWARE added that fifty million francs (50,000,000 frw) for the entire program throughout the country should be immediately disbursed. Let us recall that this was an additional budget for the "auto-defense civile" which had been approved by the cabinet meeting of June 09, 1994.

NYIRAMASUHUKO also wrote that the Government was pleased that all citizens have already understood what they were required in the "auto-defense civile” program, stating that they had all made it their own and were participating properly. This meant that the KAMBANDA Government was proud that the Genocide was achieving its goal of exterminating Tutsi throughout the country. It was agreed that the village leaders and the bourgmestres would be given a reward for their good work.

However, the government was disappointed that the Bourgmestre of Butamwa commune, Laurent TWAGIRAYEZU had fled and that they had found eighty (80) guns in his office not yet distributed. The guns were immediately handed over to the Interahamwe for use in massacres. Bourgmestre TWAGIRAYEZU Laurent was a member of the MDR Party.

3.  SPECIALITY GIVEN TO KIBUYE PREFECTURE

Although at the meeting the KAMBANDA Government members were pleased that the Genocide was being carried out properly, there were some areas of improvement. NYIRAMASUHUKO wrote in her diary that there was a problem of many Hutu in Kibuye who supported the RPF-INKOTANYI manifesto because Seth SENDASHONGA was born from kibuye. An example of Rwamatamu Commune headed by Bourgmestre Abel FURERE, a brother to Seth SENDASHONGA was given. 

NGIRABATWARE's diary also reflected that the issue had been debated even though he had written a little compared to NYIRAMASUHUKO. NGIRABATWARE wrote that the RPF had infiltrated in Kibuye and got Hutu members.

However, FURERE Abel committed the Genocide despite the Government claiming that being a brother of Seth SENDASHONGA will not permit him to do so. Rwamatamu commune was at the forefront of the genocide even since 1992. It was one of the areas in which Tutsi killing in Kibuye was started as well as in the nearby Gishyita commune.

The government also invented a false statement that was discussed at the June 10, 1994 meeting that the Inyenzi had arrived in Bisesero. That’s what NYIRAMASUHUKO wrote in her diary.

As it turned out in the days following June 1994, the lie that there were Inkotanyi in Bisesero was an excuse to find a way to send troops to exterminate the remaining Tutsi in the Bisesero hills. Worse still, the government concluded that Tutsi in Bisesero should be killed, but at the June 10, 1994 meeting, it was decided that the radio antenna on Mount Karongi should be protected. This meant that the antenna was more valuable than the life of the Tutsi.

4.  MINISTER OF DEFENSE Augustin BIZIMANA REQUESTED THE KILLING OF TUTSI BISHOPS

A witness called XX for security reasons, testified at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR / ICTR). The witness was a former member of the KAMBANDA Government. He said that at a government meeting on June 10, 1994, he was surprised to hear that the Minister of Defense, Augustin BIZIMANA, had demanded the killing of Tutsi bishops.

The witness testified that in his speech, Minister BIZIMANA explained that his request was in line with the wishes of the military leaders who had demanded that two Tutsi Catholic bishops, Bishop GAHAMANYI Jean Baptiste and Bishop KALIBUSHI Wenceslas be killed, in retaliation of three other bishops: Bishop Tadeyo NSEGIYUMVA, Bishop Visenti NSENGIYUMVA and Bishop Joseph RUZINDANA who had been shot dead by RPF soldiers on 05 June 1994 in Kabgayi.

Witness XX said he was shocked that the idea of ​​such a murder was being considered at a Cabinet meeting and be given enough time, and he said that he had opposed it.  He also explained that the meeting ended with no decision on the matter, as KAMBANDA had quickly concluded the meeting telling them that he was going to the funeral of Protais ZIGIRANYIRAZO's mother, that they should postpone the matter for next meeting. 

According to the witness XX, the Ministers who were present at the meeting were: MUGENZI Justin, Prosper MUGIRANEZA, Pauline NYIRAMASUHUKO, Edouard KAREMERA and Augustin NGIRABATWARE. He further explained that there were times when some ministers did not attend cabinet meetings because they were involved in the campaign in their assigned prefectures. However, let us remind that Bishop KALIBUSHI was not a Tutsi but a Hutu from Byimana, who was not an extremist, but a truthful person who fought hard for the Tutsi both during and before the Genocide. During the Genocide the Interahamwe tried to kill him many times.

CONCLUSION

The cabinet meetings of the KAMBANDA Government held in June 1994 clearly highlight the role of the Government in the plan to exterminate the Tutsi. Much effort was put into continuing the process of buying and distributing weapons and mobilizing the public to continue searching for Tutsi who had not been killed and kill them and those who had done so were more likely to be rewarded by the government. If the RPF-INKOTANYI did not win the struggle and stop the Genocide, no part of Rwanda would still have a single Tutsi. Those who deny the Genocide plot should keep these evidences in mind.

Done at Kigali on June 10, 2020

Dr BIZIMANA Jean Damascène

Executive Secretary

National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide (CNLG)



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