May 3, 1994: Tutsi massacre at ADEPR Church Gihundwe, Rusizi

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May 3, 1994: Tutsi massacre at ADEPR Church Gihundwe, Rusizi

Yanditswe May, 03 2020 09:08 AM
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On May 3rd, 1994 the criminal government continued to implement their plan to exterminate Tutsi in some parts of the country.  This document points out some of the locations where Tutsi massacre took place on this date in 1994.

  1. Tutsi massacre at ADEPR Church Gihundwe, Rusizi

ADEPR Gihundwe is now built in Rusizi District, Gihundwe Sector, where the ADEPR Church was originated in Rwanda.  When the genocide started on April 7, 1994, many Tutsi from the former Cyimbogo commune i.e. Nyakanyinya, Mutimasi, Murangi, Ruganda and few from Kamembe took refuge at ADPER Gihundwe and in Groupe Scolaire Gihundwe. 

They started to flee to Gihundwe on April 14, 1994 around 3pm, however the church authorities had initially refused to allow them to enter the church, but when it was late-night, they were allowed to enter. The next day the Interahamwe came and killed 1 Tutsi and left and Tutsi found that life was difficult. 

After learning that Tutsi had taken refuge in ADEPR Gihundwe and Groupe Scolaire Gihundwe, Prefect BAGAMBIKI Emmanuel of Cyangugu, came and asked them to go to Kamarampaka Stadium because they would be kept safe, but they refused because they knew his cruelty.

On May 3rd, 1994 around 10am, 3 students who originated from the war zone whose parents were brought to Nyacyonga as refugees and they were led by a young student who was also accused of committing genocide all over Rusizi. They called upon soldiers and gendarms and when they arrived they gathered Tutsi who had taken refuge there and killed Tutsi refugees in the Student kitchen using guns and grenades. Those who managed to survive fled around the stadium and elsewhere. 

The group of killers was coordinated by: Prefet Bagambiki Emmanuel, Sous-prefet Theodore Munyangabe and Francois Nzeyimana, Lieutenant Samuel Imanishimwe, Christophe Nyandwi, Elysee Bisengimana, Pastor Nsanzurwimo Joseph and his son Nsanzurwimo Jean, Tomson Mubiligi, Bareberaho Bantari Ripa, Pastor Remesha Simeon (his died), Ruhire Murwanashyaka, Pastor Seromba, Ndorimana Paul (Cyangugu prosecutor) and others. 

2.  Tutsi massacre at Ibambiro, Nyanza

Bambiro is in the former Butare Prefecture, Muyira commune, Matara Sector, Rugunga Cell currently in Nyanza district, Kibilizi sector, Cyeru Cell, Rutete village. From April 7, 1994 when the genocide against the Tutsi started in the country, it did not start immediately in Bambiro. They first took time to sensitize and mobilise people to kill. 

In the Mayaga area, especially in Kibirizi Sector, currently in Nyanza District, which was formerly located in Muyira Commune but also on the border with Ntyazo Commune, the Genocide against the Tutsi started on April 19, 1994 after the speech of Sindikubwabo in Butare where he said that people were acting as if killing did not concern them. Tutsi started to be hunted down, killed, their houses burned, destroyed and looted. They immediately started to disperse, scattered, hiding and fleeing because they had been abandoned by the neighbours. The hunt for Tutsi continued, but in the midst, killers reassured them that women and children, especially girls would not be killed and that they will be protected at Bambiro. As a result, those who were hiding went to Bambiro and some of the boys were dressed like girls to hide them.

While they fled to Bambiro, they thought that they will be protected, and that belief made everyone to go there and as of May 1, 1994, their number was increased to more than 454 women and children. During those days at Bambiro, the killers would come and pick those they wanted and go to torture, rape and kill them afterwards. They had realised that their plan to gather women and children at Bambiro had succeeded and then they had to plot their assassination on May 3rd

On 3/5/1994, killers came with traditional weapons of all kinds, wearing banana leaves, whistling, and surrounded Bambiro and started to kill them.  They first harassed the parents, stripped their clothes off, raping them, torturing them with bad words like: (your arrogance, your insolence, your pride, ...) and after that they chopped them and threw them in the toilet while some of them were still alive. They killed them after putting them into age categories: children, teenagers, adult girls, adult women and older women last. 

They killed them the entire day but before that, they first killed the old man Diyonizi Nzaramba who was a very old man that they had left saying that he will serve as an example of who a “Tutsi” was after killing all others. They started by killing him and threw him in the toilet saying that he will cure them the misfortune of shedding blood of Tutsi women and children. He was the only man killed there.

When they saw Interahamwe wearing banana leaves, armed with traditional weapons and whistling, they were very terrified and some tried to escape but killers chased and killed some while bringing back others. Others who were less active stayed there and only believed in a prayer. Hence, they were killed and died silently like sheeps as they had been used to the torture. 

Those involved in the killings were:

  • Safari Jean Bosco was a school inspector in Ntyazo commune and was the son of a prominent businessman called Mubirigi Athanase who had introduced MDR in the area and later became MDR Power supporter. He always attended Bandora’s trainings in Ruhuha on how they would commit Genocide. He was arrested and served his sentence but when he got out of prison, he fled to Malawi with his relatives. 

  • Kagenza Jean Nepomuscene who was also a prominent businessman, led the attacks; 

  • Ruduri Félicien was also a business man and played a key role;

  • Hanyurwimfura Antoine was the nephew of Sindikubwabo Theodore and was a cleaner at Nyamiyaga court. He took part in all the attacks especially that of Muyira; 

  • Mirenzo and his sons (Burundian refugees) were very active in the killings;

  • Ndolikimpa Aphrodice, the former brigadier of   Ntyazo commune;

  • Ntabuye Sylvain was a teacher at the CERAI, he had just completed school and would come to choose girls that he wanted to rape and also participated in Bandora’s trainings at Ruhuha; 

  • Nomani, interahamwe from Bugesera had fled Inkotanyi and was with other interahamwe that they came together from Bugesera; 

  • Gashushure Ernest, a teacher who used a loudspeaker to confuse Tutsi that peace was restored and that they should come out;

  • Rugwizangoga; Bazindyiki Antoine and many others.

  • There was also a young boy called Montfort, a grandson of Rutare, who raped children of his age and killed them after.  He was imprisoned and later released as he was a minor of 10 years.

Massacre of Tutsi continued in some parts of the country. This was done in a way that every so-called Tutsi would be killed, most of whom were killed while fleeing. On this day many were killed within administrative buildings, communes, churches because people falsely believed that they could survive in such places.


Dr BIZIMANA Jean Damascène

Executive Secretary

National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide (CNLG)



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