Share Button

Genocide in the former Cyangugu Prefecture: acts of violence and killings committed against the Tutsi on allegations of laying mine blasting in different parts of the prefecture since 1992


As explained by the study conducted by the national Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) on the history of the Genocide against the Tutsi in the former Cyangugu Prefecture, since 1992, the Cyangugu Prefecture was characterized by persecutions of the Tutsi where the later were alleged to be behind the laying of mine blasting explosives that exploded across the Prefecture.

In the commune of Gafunzo, since November 1992, information spread that there were people who had a mine blast shell in the former Sector of Bugeza. The councilor of Bugeza Sector, Sibomana Pascal in collaboration with Kanyamukenke Evariste and Ntakirutimana Faustin who were partisans of MDR party carried out a squirrel to hunt and apprehend those suspected to have the shells. They them abducted Rwigemera Alfred and Kabahizi Callixte and took them to a place called Kagarama, they beat them almost to dead.  

The news quickly spread to the Prefecture offices that there were people in Bugeza Sector who had mine blast shells. Hearing this, Lt Samuel Imanishimwe, army commander in Cyangugu Prefecture and Bikorimana went to Bugeza. When they arrived there, they found that those alleged suspects had been beaten almost to dead. They loaded them into the car to bring them to the Gafunzo commune but they succumbed along the way.

When they arrived at commune Gafunzo offices, they found a crowd of people from the place called Ntango, led by councilor Sibomana Pascal, who had devised the plan to confirm that the Tutsi were the ones who had brought the explosives

This led to arrest of several Tutsi including Kayenzi Patrice, Ntamunoza Thacien son to Kabahizi, Kayiranga Damascène, Mukakarinda Odette and her brother Murera Aphrodis on allegations that they would have brought the mine blast.

On November 13, 1992, a plane took them to Kigali where they were tortured, and by chance latterly released.  

In the commune of Kirambo, there is a mine blast explosive that exploded in the Kirambo market in Nyamasheke and injured several people. After the mine blast had exploded, there was a certain Rutagengwa Alexandre, younger brother of Paul Mupipi, who had had a wedding celebration, and then the bourgoumestre of the Kirambo commune Mathias Mayira told the citizens that Rutagengwa was the one who had laid the mine blast explosive so it could kill or injury the Hutu since the Tutsi were at his place in wedding celebration. This message given by the bourgoumestre fueled hatred among Hutu and Tutsi. Luckily, no one was arrested because no suspect was identified.

In the commune of Kagano, in August 1992, a mine blast explosive was laid in Kamiranzovu, nearly to Nyamasheke catholic parish in the road connecting Nyamasheke to Kibuye. The explosive blasted the car transporting father Gakwerere Silas, a native of Kamasera in Butambara, Nyamasheke who was then priest of Hanika catholic parish in the former Gatare commune. Even though the explosive blasted the car transporting the priest, leaders spread the rumors that those who had laid it expected it to blast commuters on the big bus from Kibuye to Kamembe in Cyangugu. This explosive fueled tension and disloyalty; both civil and military leaders asserted that it had been laid by the Tutsi, which increased disharmony among the population.

In the night of 13-14 November 1992, another mine blast explosive exploded near the home of Songa Innocent who dwelt in Nyamasheke Sector, near the offices of Commune Kagano. Songa Innocent was a Tutsi who had been victim of torture since 1973 when he was dismissed on his function as a teacher and imprisoned in 1990 on allegations that he would be an accomplice of the RPF-Inkotanyi. After there had been a mine blast explosion near his home, information quickly spread in the whole Kagano commune that the mine had been laid by Songa’s family in order to exterminate the Hutu. The event was followed by several acts of violence including looting and eating of cows of the Tutsi. Songa was arrested and imprisoned in Cyangugu prison.