Killings of tutsi in Nyamirambo and the genocide implication of Minister Callixte Nzabonimana in Gitarama


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Killings of tutsi in Nyamirambo and the genocide implication of Minister Callixte Nzabonimana in Gitarama

Yanditswe Jun, 11 2020 10:33 AM | 27,273 Views

In early June 1994, as the process of extermination of the Tutsi seemed to be coming to an end in many parts controlled by the government. The latter had started to hide evidences of the Genocide, including demolishing houses and hiding the bodies of Tutsi who had already been killed. Minister Nzabonimana Callixte had been instrumental in implementation of Tutsi extermination policy at the national level, as well as in Gitarama, his home prefecture, where he supported the policy and provided the necessary tools for its implementation. In 1994, he was the Minister of Youth in the Criminal Government, and the President of the MRND in Gitarama.

  I.  June 10, 1994: Tutsi killed in Nyamirambo - Charles Lwanga Parish

The Government militia murdered more than 400 people, mainly children, who had taken refuge at the Saint Charles Lwanga Catholic Parish of Nyamirambo. Friday June 10, 1994, the interahamwe burst into the parish saying that they were going to "evacuate" the orphans. The Interahamwe militias were commanded by Kigingi who was one of their leaders.

Father Henri Blanchard, a Frenchman, and Father Otto Mayer, a German, refused to open the door of the building. The interahamwe attacked him with an axe and threw grenades, then they put the hostages in a truck. The truck did several round trips until all the Tutsi who were hidden in this parish were exhausted.

Father Otto Mayer sought help from the Collège Saint-André near the parish, where soldiers of the government were staying. He was stopped at a roadblock where the interahamwe ordered him to turn back.

On a second attempt, a government official gave him permission to cross the roadblock. A little further, he saw the truck which had taken the Tutsi hostages. There were corpses on the ground and in the truck. The priest recognized some of them who were parish members. Among the victims, the majority were children.

The Journalist Jean Chatain of the French daily newspaper L’Humanité reported this horrible massacre in the newspaper L’Humanité of June 13, 1994, citing the figure of 170 people according to the priests. 

The survivors of this massacre noted more than 400 Tutsi people kidnapped from the parish of Saint Charles Lwanga on Friday June 10, 1994 and then killed by interahamwe. 


1.  Callixte Nzabonimana recruited young people into the interahamwe gang and helped them to be trained

Callixte Nzabonimana, as the Minister of Youth and the President of the MRND in Gitarama Prefecture, had been instrumental in recruiting young people to join the Interahamwe gang, training them, arming them, and inciting them to hate Tutsi, both in Gitarama prefecture and across the country. Later, between April and July 1994, he ordered the Interahamwe to kill Tutsi.

In May 1994, Nzabonimana and Jean Kambanda created killers battalion called Ndiza, which was made up of soldiers and Interahamwe. They handed over guns to people of Kibangu Sector, Nyakabanda Commune and told them that the guns were meant to kill Tutsi. The battalion immediately exterminated Tutsi who had survived other massacres. Nzabonimana also handed over clothes and hats for their identification, MRND flags and guns to the killers. 

On May 15, Callixte Nzabonimana, accompanied by Major Jean-Damascene Ukurikiyeyezu, who was one of Auto defense civile leaders in Gitarama, chaired a meeting in Ruhango Cell, Nyamagana Sector, Tambwe Commune, Gitarama Prefecture, and set up a special committee in the commune.

Many Tutsi were arrested at roadblocks, including Nyabugaju, Ruhezamihigo and Languida, were killed on orders of the committee. By the time the committee had started operations, Tutsi were being taken to the Tambwe commune office where they were killed and thrown into a pit.

2.  Callixte Nzabonimana had turned his house into a gathering of murderers

Between 8 and 12 April 1994, Nzabonimana gathered the killers from Kavumu and Mahembe Sectors, Nyabikenke Commune at his residence in Kavumu Sector. He called on them to kill Tutsi, explaining that the invaders of Rwanda were Tutsi and that defeating them required killing Tutsi. He also told them that they should not allow the Inyenzi from inside the country to help those from outside, which explained why it was necessary to kill them and he meant killing Tutsi.

On April 8 or 9, 1994, between 15:00 and 17:00, Nzabonimana addressed the Interahamwe in Gasenyi Cell, Kigina Sector, Nyabikenke Commune, Gitarama Prefecture, urged them to kill their Tutsi neighbours. Also on April 9, 1994, between 17:00 and 18:00, Nzabonimana chaired another meeting in Kigali Cell, Kavumu Sector, Nyabikenke Commune.

On April 10, 1994, between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., Nzabonimana was at the shops in Kivumu, Gitovu Sector, Nyabikenke Commune, later, between 17:00 and 18:00, he was at the shops in Gasenyi, Kigina Sector, Nyabikenke Commune.

3.  Nzabonimana Callixte provided arms and ordered the killing of Tutsi

On April 8, 1994, Nzabonimana chaired a meeting at his home, calling on those present to avenge the death of President Habyarimana, and provided interahamwe with weapons containing three guns.

Nzabonimana told Hutu civilians that they should use guns and traditional weapons to kill Tutsi before eating their cows. He said he would provide more weapons and called upon those who needed traditional weapons to go to his home. He added that he would take the weapons elsewhere if the public did not use them.

On April 11, 1994, Tutsi who had taken refuge at Ntarabana Parish were evacuated by the Interahamwe to Nyabarongo and killed them, at the request of Callixte Nzabonimana. While the Tutsi were heading to Nyabarongo to be executed, Nzabonimana was still supplying weapons. Some of these Tutsi refugees were able to escape from killers and were able to flee to Kabgayi.

On April 12, 1994, in Nyabikenke Commune, Callixte Nzabonimana organized a military training session and ordered the Interahamwe to participate. The military training was provided by a gendarme from Musasa. Callixte Nzabonimana told the participants that the Tutsi were enemies of Rwanda and that it was necessary to eliminate them.

That evening, many Tutsi were killed by Interahamwe in Gitovu and Kavumu. Among those killed were Akizanye and her two children, Epimaque Sehinda and his family, Sezirahiga and his family.

On April 15, 1994, at Butare shops, Rutongo Sector, Rutobwe Commune, Gitarama Prefecture, Nzabonimana addressed a large number of people including Hutu telling them that they should kill all the cockroaches (Tutsi) and their accomplices, and take over their jobs and belongings. 

He also told them that there were Tutsi among them and that they should not escape. Nzabonimana immediately called on the military and civilians to arrest the Tutsi. Many Tutsi were killed after the meeting by the Interahamwe, soldiers and Hutu civilians.

In order to encourage them to kill, he bought banana beer to those who were present and requested them to kill any Tutsi who were around. Nzabonimana was accompanied by the gendarms and the sous prefect of Ruhango. Many Tutsi including Spéciose Karuhongo, Jeanne Ujeneza and Gabriel Kanimba were killed that day.

The killers included Vincent Karegeya, Ruhunga, Cyprien, Jérôme Mushimungunga, Munyurabatware, Sebagande, Émile Munyemana, and Prosper Hategekimana.

4.  Nzabonimana pursued Tutsi survivors of Nyabikenke massacre at Kabgayi 

On April 16, 1994, Nzabonimana went to Kabgayi to search for Nyabikenke Tutsi who had fled there. In order to kill them, Nzabonimana asked them to return home assuring them that peace was restored. However, on the same day, in Nyabikenke Commune, Nzabonimana used a loudspeaker and called for the extermination of the last remaining Tutsi.

Nzabonimana strongly condemned Bourgmestre Jean-Marie Vianney Mporanzi who was not involved in the massacre. He later went to Rutobwe Commune to release people who had been detained for killing Tutsi. Later, those people killed other Tutsi and claimed that Nzabonimana had given them the power to kill.

5.  During Murambi meeting, Nzabonimana ordered the killing of the bourgmestres and other local authorities who opposed the killing of Tutsi

On April 18, 1994, Nzabonimana, Jean Kambanda, and other ministers of the criminal government, including Prosper Mugiraneza, convened a meeting attended by the bourgmestres of the communes of Gitarama prefecture. At the meeting, Nzabonimana ordered the killing of bourgmestres and other local authorities who opposed the killing of Tutsi.

Shortly after the meeting, the Bourgmestre of Mugina Commune, Callixte Ndagijimana, and two Councillors from Nyamabuye Commune, Bernard Twagirumukiza of Ruli Sector, and Martin Gasigwa of Musiba Sector, were killed by Hutu civilians and the Interahamwe.

Nzabonimana had strongly condemned some of the bourgmestres for not supporting the massacre of Tutsi, warning them that they could be replaced by the Interahamwe.

At another meeting in Ruhango, Nyamagana Sector, Tambwe Commune, Gitarama Prefecture, Callixte Nzabonimana and Jérôme Bicamumpaka said that Tutsi should be killed, and Hutu should not show love or sympathy to them. Shortly after the meeting, security committees made up of Interahamwe from Ruhango Cell ravaged the area and killed Tutsi.

Nzabonimana said that the enemy, a Tutsi, started the war and was attacking from Uganda. He explained that all Hutu, regardless of the political party they belonged to, had to unite in the fight against the enemy. After the meeting, roadblocks were intensified and Tutsi were attacked and killed in their homes.

6.  Nzabonimana ordered the Interahamwe to demolish the houses of Tutsi killed to hide evidence of the Genocide.

Between May and June 1994, Nzabonimana went to Masango Commune and ordered Interahamwe to demolish all houses left by Tutsi and replace them with crops to hide the evidence of the Tutsi massacre. Bourgmestre Esdras Mpamo, who had exterminated the Tutsi in Masango, had said that the international commission had been set up to investigate the killings in Rwanda, and hence it was necessary to wipe out all evidence of the killings, and Nzabonimana called for immediate action. 

Callixte Nzabonimana did the same in Nyamabuye commune. He went to the office of Nyamabuye Commune and urged the Hutu civilians who were around to demolish the house of murdered Tutsi and to wipe out all evidence so that, during the investigation, the Tutsi incident would not be known.

Callixte Nzabonimana was convicted of genocide crime by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and sentenced to life in prison.


Massacre of Tutsi continued in areas controlled by the criminal government, at the same time tightening its policy of exterminating Tutsi by setting up special committees, i.e committees for the extermination of Tutsi, and establishing auto defense civile policy aimed at eliminating Tutsi in Rwanda.

It was at this point that the Government started to destroy all evidence of the Genocide, including the demolition of Tutsi houses and hiding their bodies. All this shows that if the Minister of youth for the criminal government had not been fully involved in the execution of the Genocide, the Tutsi of Nyabikenke would not have been exterminated until the last one. 

Dr BIZIMANA Jean Damascène

Executive Secretary

National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide (CNLG)

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