June 2,1994: RPF Inkotanyi troops rescued Tutsi in Kabgayi concentration camp


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June 2,1994: RPF Inkotanyi troops rescued Tutsi in Kabgayi concentration camp

Yanditswe Jun, 02 2020 09:56 AM | 53,967 Views

June 2,1994: RPF Inkotanyi troops rescued Tutsi in Kabgayi concentration camp

During the Genocide in early April 1994, Tutsi started to flee to Kabgayi from different parts of the country from April 12, 1994. By April 20, 1994, many Tutsi refugees had arrived in Kabgayi and were resettled in various places. Since the arrival of the Tutsi, Interahamwe and the soldiers would come and pick some to kill them inside or outside the camp as well as in the Kabgayi forest. On May 31, 1994, UNAMIR reported that about five hundred (500) people had been killed. The survivors of the massacre were rescued by the RPF-INKOTANYI Forces on June 02, 1994.


The Kabgayi refugees were accommodated in the following different houses of the Catholic Church: Kabgayi Primary School A, Kabgayi Primary School B, Saint Joseph Secondary School, Petit Seminaire Saint Leon, Grand Seminaire de Kabgayi (Philosophicum), at the Saint Kagwa Center formerly TRAFIPRO (known as CND), in the catechism schools, at a place called Mu Gishumba and the Kabgayi Hospital.

A part from Kagwa center (CND), the Tutsi refugees were mixed with Hutu refugees from Nyacyonga in all other places. There were also soldiers living in  

in the Bishop's Eveché. The Tutsi who had installed in Kabgayi Cathedral were expelled under orders of Bishop Tadeyo Nsengiyumva who led Kabgayi Diocese so that it would not be destroyed.

Bishop Tadeyo Nsengiyumva also commanded that the Tutsi should not be killed at the cathedral so that they would not cause pollution, which triggered killers to gradually take whoever they wanted to kill outside Kabgayi. In addition, there was a daily mass at the cathedral and the killers would attend the morning mass before going to find Tutsi to kill.

On the road from Gitarama to Kabgayi, there were so many roadblocks at which many Tutsi were retained before being able to enter the camps. 

The roadblocks were set up at the following places:  in Rugeramigozi on the road to Mbare, below the cemetery of the priests of Kabgayi, at the entrance of ESI-Kabgayi (Ecole des Sciences Infirmières), in front of the Imprimerie de Kabgayi, at the gate of the Kabgayi Hospital and on the road to Grand Seminaire de Kabgayi.


There are some well-known dates characterized by severe massacres in Kabgayi:

In early April 1994, an attack composed of soldiers attacked at Ecole des Sciences Infirmières while looking for UMURUNGI Chantal who was the Animatrice of the school. The former director of the school was a Hutu woman called MUKANDANGA Dorothée who tried to cover for Chantal and preventing killers from taking her away and from raping other girls who were around and they immediately shot her dead along with UMURUNGI Chantal and her brother MUGUNGA Narcisse who had come to visit her. Both were the children of MUBERUKA Jean Baptiste of Nyanza.

On April 15, 1994, another attack came at Saint Joseph school and spent about five (5) hours screening refugees. The attack took many people including Rudahunga Louis' wife, a teacher called Justin of ETEKA school and others.

On 08/5/1994, soldiers again went to Saint Joseph school with a list of Tutsi to be taken away. On the same day in the morning, they took 27 Tutsi to the military base in Gitarama and they were beaten the whole day. In the evening, the victims were divided into three teams, some of whom were taken to Murambi of Gitarama, some to Byimana and others to Nyabarongo to be killed. Out of twenty seven (27) Tutsi taken from Saint Joseph School, only one survived. 

Some of the Tutsi who were taken away that day were RWICANINYONI Emmanuel who worked in the Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) in the pedagogical office, Department of History, GATSINZI Gervais who was teaching at ACEJ Karama, NIYOYITA André, NTIBYIRAGWA Jean Marie Vianney alias Maso, HODARI, NYAKARASHI Ignace, all of them were teachers at Collège Saint-Joseph de Kabgayi and others who were not known.

On 24/5/1994, Tutsi were removed from Grand Seminaire de Kabgayi to be executed in Byimana. The leaders of the Catholic Church in Kabgayi had declared that the priests would flee to the Grand Seminaire, but there were other Tutsi who had taken refuge there as well as other Hutu refugees from Kigali and elsewhere.

In addition, some members of the saviours’ Government including KAMBANDA and SINDIKUBWABO had rooms at Grand Seminaire de Kabgayi and they often went there at night. Each ethnic group was given its own side except for the priests who lived together.

On the same day, Grand Seminaire de Kabgayi was surrounded by civilians and soldiers who arrived at 10 am, they took out the refugees and made them seat in the playground.  There was a Hutu Brother called Adalbert who brought a list of Tutsi names, they called them and took them away to be killed.

Among the priests killed, there were Jesuit Brothers MUREKEZI Fidèle, MUGABO Emmanuel, MUNYANSHONGORE Martin and RUSEZERANGABO Théophile. There were also Marist Brothers including GATARI Gaspard, NYIRINKINDI Canisius and BISENGIMANA Fabien. They also took a Benebikira nun called Bénigne NAKANA, Priests NIWENSHUTI Célestin, MUSONERA Callixte and NYIRIBAKWE Vedaste who was teaching at the Grand Seminaire. They also took Karinda Viateur who was a journalist for Radio Rwanda. All of them were summoned in the presence of Bishop Thadeyo NSENGIYUMVA, who had come to hold a meeting with refugees and when he saw that the killers had surrounded the camp, he boarded a car and returned to his residence.

On 29/5/1994, another attack took place at Saint Joseph School. The killers had brought a bus to carry Tutsi to Nyabarongo to be killed. Among the captives were RURANGWA Alexis who was a judge, RWAGAKIGA Prudence who was a businessman in Ngororero, a woman called MUKOBWAJANA Eugenie, GASASIRA Vital, MUKANGAMIJE Beline who was a staff member at Saint Joseph School, UTAZIRUBANDA Leonard, MUCYURABUHORO son of GATABAZI, MUNYESHURI Jean Marie Vianney who was an agronomist and others.

In May 1994, on unidentified date, soldiers took Tutsi including ISIDORE son of RUYENZI, KAJANGWE Célestin, NIZEYIMANA Jean Bosco and others at the former TRAFIPRO (CND) to kill them. Also in the same month, an attack was carried out at Kabgayi Primary School A by Mushubati killers who had called themselves "Zulus". They came several times to attack in Kabgayi camps.

Among various attacks on Kabgayi, there was one that killed at least six people in the jungle below the Children's Center for the Disabled.

Two major attacks took place between May and June 1994 at the Petit Seminaire Saint Léon de Kabgayi. The one, which took place at the end of May 1994, took the lives of many Tutsi who were selected during the search operation at the center. They were killed in the forest of Byimana and elsewhere. The second attack was that of the so-called Mushubati Zulus Interahamwe, which also took the Tutsi from Mushubati who had taken refuge in Kabgayi to be executed.

The attack of May 30, 1994 crossed all Tutsi hideouts in Kabgayi, selected those who were going to be killed and put them on buses to be killed in Ngororero. The attack was led by the killers from Ngororero who claimed to have counted the bodies of the Tutsi victims and found out that some were missing and hence they thought that they had fled to Kabgayi. 

That is why they were taken to be killed in Ngororero but among them, there were some who lived elsewhere.


Due to the influx of Tutsi from many parts of the country in Kabgayi, the commune authorities and the killers from other prefectures went there with lists of Tutsi who had fled to Kabgayi from their communes, the killers took them to other places to kill them. This means that in some cases the Tutsi were surrendered by the Hutu refugees from the liberated areas of the RPF-INKOTANYI who were living with them. 

The Kabgayi massacre was carried out by people from different parts of the country where each Commune leaders went to find Tutsi of its origin. There were gendarms, military from the former presidential guard unit, other soldiers who protected the priests and members of the saviours’ government. 

Apart from killing Tutsi, more severe actions related to raping women and girls were committed, sometimes they would take them away and bring them back or kill them immediately. At one point, they fired heavily at the CND and killing multitude of people. Another factor that contributed to the killing of Tutsi who had taken refuge in Kabgayi was hunger and diseases caused by pollution because they had no water.

Later the corpses became more and more and there was no more oxygen in the camp. The killers decided not to kill people there again, so they decided to bring cars and pack the Tutsi starting from the educated or those with visible financial position because they were already counted.  Mostly young boys and men were taken to be killed elsewhere. Tutsi were killed every and hence the numbers could not be known.

Some of the perpetrators of the Kabgayi massacre are:

Sous prefect Rutegesha Misago Antoine: The Gacaca Court of Gitarama Sector sentenced him to life imprisonment;

Sous prefect Gatera Gaspard:  Gacaca Court of Gitarama Sector sentenced him to life imprisonment;

Gahutu Emmanuel Demarere who was a spy: The Gacaca Court of Gihuma B Sector sentenced him to 30 years in prison;

Sagahutu Thomas who worked at the Immigration Agency;

Gilbert who represented the C.D.R party in Gitarama town;

Sergeant Major called Karata;

Brother Adalbert who betrayed the Tutsi priests to be killed. He is said to have become a priest and lives in Zambia;

Gasirikare who was a Hutu refugee from Nyacyonga and disguised to stay with Tutsi who were living at TRAFIPRO and he was the one who betrayed Them;

S/L Musabyimana;

Philippe son of Théopiste;

Major Nyirahabimana Anne-Marie was sentenced to life imprisonment and imprisoned;

Tuyisenge Narcisse sentenced to 15 years in prison;

Hakizimana Papias sentenced to 15 years;

Nicolas alias Bob son of Rupaca Janvier sentenced to 19 years, Rindiro sentenced to 19 years in prison;

Nigena Protogene was sentenced to 30 years. They were all sentenced by the Gatikabisi Gacaca court.

Among the killers from Mushubati who called themselves Zulus were Sadam, Mitterrand, Basesekaza, Twagirimana Clément, Protogène, Evode son of Revocat, Mutabaruka Hassan, two soldiers Rachidi and Semanyenzi Jean Claude, Mugemana, Kimonyo Tharcisse who was a driver, soldiers who were known by their nicknames of Shitani and Kajisho who lived in Gitarama camp were accompanied by a civilian called Gikeri, Nsanzineza Vincent and others.


The Kabgayi camp was the only place where the RPF-INKOTANYI Army was able to rescue many Tutsi. In another places, they would find them killed and only a few would be left. In Kabgayi, the INKOTANYI unexpectedly surprised killers who were considering ways to exterminate them before the INKOTANYI would arrive. Remembering this history will last forever. Those who want to distort it will always be defeated.

Dr BIZIMANA Jean Damascène

Executive Secretary

National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide (CNLG)

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