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Preparation of the Genocide against the Tutsi in the former Gitarama Prefecture: acts of violence and killings committed against the Tutsi in Nyakabanda commune in 1973

As explained by the study conducted by the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) on the history of the Genocide committed against the Tutsi in the former Gitarama Prefecture, perpetration of acts of killings and violence against the Tutsi begun in the end of February 1973.   The plot of the masterminds of these ignoble actions was to target all the Tutsi, starting from those in schools and different services. Top leaders of the PARMEHUTU party including president Kayibanda Grégoire himself incited their partisans to blaze and destroy the houses of the Tutsi as well as killing them.

 In the commune of Nyakabanda, the killings targeting the Tutsi as well as burning their homes begun in the end of February 1973. At the beginning, partisans of PARMEHUTU party including   Nyagatwa Eulade, Ribikamenshi and Munyambibi both from Kirwa sector, Gatorano Elasto from Gasovu Sector, invaded the family of a Tutsi called Tereraho Moïse and ate his cows. When he screamed for support, he was beaten and wounded. They also wounded his mother Kamparage Madeleine. The councillor of the Gasovu Sector, Musaza Daniel, is the one who called upon the bourgoumestre for support, 26 persons were then arrested. On March 1,1973, Gaspard Sematama who was president of the Gitarama Primary Court illegally released those involved in the massacre of members of Tereraho’s family. He argued that what those people had done was not a matter of concern because the Tutsi, as he argued had been delivered by authorities.

Apart from Tereraho’s family, other Tutsi were killed in the commune of Nyakabanda with involvement of the communal policemen including Seruguma Grégoire and led by brigadier Sebazungu J. Bosco.

After their release, those involved in the killings of members of Tereraho’s family carried out a propaganda campaign and, together with others including Ndongozi Ladislas who was a teacher in Kibangu, Muhamyankaka Fabien who was an employee of COFORWA, Nzaramba Godefroid, Ndabakenga Claver, Kamonyo Thaddée, Ruzige François and other organized an attack. They abducted several Tutsi and threw them into the Nyabarongo River.  More than forty Tutsi were killed.

 On March 2,1973, through a letter, the commune called higher institutions, including Prefect Tharcisse Karuta for support, with a copy to the president of the Republic. None of them neither intervened nor followed up to know what was happening.

The Tutsi of Nyakabanda commune fled to the Kanyanza parish. After a few days there, MP Muvunankiko Gérard, Minani and Niyonzima Maximilien held a meeting in May 1973 and requested those who had sought refuge to return home, saying that peace had been restore. Others sought refuge in father Bourget’s COFORWA, but they were eventually abducted from there and killed.

Sibomana Straton, the bourgoumestre of Nyakabanda commune and communal police’s brigadier, Sebazungu, are among the leaders said to have played part in the killing of the Tutsi in Nyakabanda commune. Others who were atop in acts of violence and killings committed against the Tutsi in Nyakabanda commune in 1973 include Rubaduka Charles and Rukimirana Joel from Ndiza among others.