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Genocide in Cyangugu prefecture: acts of violence and persecutions against the Tutsi in CIMERWA factory

The CIMERWA, a cement manufacturing factory is located in the former Commune Bugarama, currently, Muganza Sector, Rusizi District. It was founded in 1980 on partnership between the Government of Rwanda and Chinese. Its construction works spanned for five years so t started operations in 1985. Since 1991, Sebatware Marcel, from Ruhengeri, Mukingo commune at the same hill with Minister Joseph Nzirorera, became Director General of the factory. Sebatware was the brother in law of Gen. Déogratias Nsabimana also known as Castar who was the Chief of Defense Staff of the Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR).

As explained in 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, after he became Director general of the factory, Marcel Sebatware put in high ranking positions his people from the north of the country in Ruhengeri and Gisenyi, with whom he had in common the ideology of hatred namely

Sebageni Théoneste who was his brother in law and his wife Claudine, Kazungu Gaspard who was half-brother of Minister Nzirorera Joseph  was in charge of civil engineering while his wife   Mukankaka Laurence  who is said to be daughter of Laurent Semanza , former bourgumestre of Bicumbi commune and friend to Habyarimana and  Nzirorera was appointed in human resources .

Mpozembizi Jean Pierre from the former Commune Rwerere in Gisenyi was the chief of electrical services.   Ntibankundiye Assumani from the former commune Rwerere in Gisenyi became head of the machine warm up service. Nkusi David from the former commune Nkuli in Ruhengeri who was cousin of Sebatware Marcel was hired in 1993 as human resources officer and acted as an intelligence officer in CIMERWA.  Uwayezu Jean from Ruhengeri hired as accountant since 1992. In 1992, Sebatware also hired Ntawumenyumunsi Pascal from Gisenyi, Kanama commune at Nyundo.

Among extremists in CIMERWA was also Ndorimana Casimir from Cyangugu in the former commune Gisuma who was the head of engineers in the factory; he had been working for CIMERWA since 1985.

In general, the CIMERWA factory was an inner circle of extremists from Ruhengeri and Gisenyi grouped in the CDR party. After the inner circle had been established, the later connived with local Interahamwe militia to devise and implement the genocide against the Tutsi. It worked with notorious killers including Bandetse Edouard who was a wealthy businessman in Bweyeye and MRND’s accountant in Cyangugu Prefecture, Bakundukize Elias who was a wealthy businessman in Bugarama and Kamembe, Munyakazi Yussuf, a wealthy businessman in Bugarama and others. Both Bakundukize Elias and Munyakazi Yussuf were from Kibuye in the former Rwamatamu commune.

Managers of CIMERWA factory were characterized by persecutions of the Tutsi who worked for the factory on allegations that they would be accomplices of the RPF-Inkotanyi.  As explained by witnesses, they had established lists of the Tutsi to be killed, which were used to search for them. They argued that no Tutsi working for the factory should survive, alleging that they would work with RPF Inkotanyi.

Since 1993, extremists from CIMERWA factory, spearheaded by Marcel Sebatware played a significant role in inciting the youth to adhere to the Interahamwe militia group; training were carried out at the Basketball ground of CIMERWA and offered by soldiers sent by Lt Samuel Imanishimwe.

Sebatware played a direct role in establishing and training of Interahamwe, arming and inciting them to kill the Tutsi.  As explained by  Habarurema Jean Paul in the testimonies he gave in Gacaca courts during the trial of Marcel Sebatware in which he reiterates that there are guns brought by Lt Col Claudien Singirankabo, from Mutimasi  in Cyimbogo commune, that were handed over to Marcel Sebatware. The guns helped the Interahamwe to learn how to handle guns and were later on used in the Genocide.