As per the law No 15//2016 of May 2, 2016 governing ceremonies to commemorate the Genocide against Tutsi, commemoration starts on April 7 every year. As we are three months to the date, the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) will every week be highlighting key actions that preceded the commission of the Genocide; and other dates that are of significance in propagation of hate ideology that led to the Genocide perpetrated against Tutsi.
This short piece of writing will focus on key activities that marked the dates of 6th -12th January in preparation of the 1994 Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi, which claimed more than one million lives.
1. Distribution of weapons to fight those opposing HABYARIMANA’s regime
On 8th January 1992, political parties that were not in the same streak with the MRND (Mouvement Révolutionaire National pour le Dévelopment) carried out strong demonstrations in Kigali, Butare and Gitarama towns. These political parties were denouncing the way president HABYARIMANA and his party were impeding the peace-talks and sharing of power yet President HABYARIMANA had agreed to reshuffle the government and include some members from opposition parties.
On 30th October 1991, HABYARIMANA tasked Sylvestre NSANZIMANA, then prime minister to reshuffle the government but all selected ministers were members of the MRND except only Gaspard RUHUMURIZA who was member of the PDC (Parti Démocratique Centriste), led by Jean Népomuscène NAYINZIRA.
To quell the demonstrations, president HABYARIMANA ordered that strong youth from MRND should be selected and equipped with guns to counter those from the opposition. Over 300 guns were distributed.
2. Demonstrations by Interahamwe and Impuzamugambi militia and killings in Kigali
On 8th January 1994, Belgium intelligence institutions wrote a confidential statement indicating that on 7th January there had been a meeting at MRND headquarters that was convened MRND president, Mathieu NGIRUMPATSE, defense minister Augustin BIZIMANA, chief of defense Staff General Déogratias NSABIMANA, Gendarmerie chief of staff general Augustin NDINDIRIYIMANA, Robert Kajuga, the commandant of Interahamwe at national level and other high ranking military and gendarmes.
In the meeting, it was resolved that the arms store should not be made known to the UNAMIR (United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda), and should rather be shifted to be stored in houses of top military and gendarmerie officers who were good and faithful members of the MRND. It was also resolved that they should make propaganda among the civilians so that they could denounce UNAMIR, especially Belgian soldiers in the mission.
The meeting was followed by terrible demonstrations conducted on 8th January 1994 in the city of Kigali; backed by leaders of Kigali Urban prefecture and soldiers from the presidential guard disguised as civilians that injured several people in the city of Kigali using grenades.
3. BAGOSORA declared that he would prepare an apocalypse for Tutsi
9th January 1993 is a date that should never be forgotten in the history of the Genocide against the Tutsi. On this date, in Arusha Tanzania, a part of the Arusha peace agreement regarding power-sharing had been signed. Col Théoneste BAGOSORA who was part of the talks but not convinced with the resolutions, infuriated, got out of the room saying: “I am returning home to prepare for an apocalypse”.
One of the resolutions that infuriated BAGOSORA was that MRND had been given only five seats of ministers out of 21 ministries that would make up the transitional government and only 11 seats out of 70 deputies for the transitional parliament. BAGOSORA did not agree with this power-sharing .He instead accused Boniface NGULINZIRA, then minister of foreign affairs of having sold the country.
As soon as he returned to Kigali from Arusha on 9th January 1993, Col BAGOSORA held several meetings with his faction of extremists including senior military officers like Col Dr Laurent BARANSARITSE who was the head of Kanombe Military hospital, Lt Col Anatole NSENGIYUMVA who was at the time the Commandant of the army in Gisenyi prefecture, Major Protais MPIRANYA who was the commandant of the presidential guard, Major Aloys Ntabakuze who was the commandant of Paracomandos battalion, Major Augustin NTIBIHORA who was the commandant of the military engineering regiment; they jointly founded an association of killings within the Rwanda armed forces and named it AMASASU (Association of soldiers annoyed by the secular acts of the Unarists).
4. Declaration of preparation of genocide in UN
On 11th January 1994, one of the powerful leaders of Interahamwe in the city of Kigali, Abubakar TURATSINZE, alias Jean Pierre disclosed secret to general Romeo DALLAIRE who was the commander in chief of UN troops in Rwanda that Interahamwe had been well prepared to kill about 20 000 Tutsi per day, that they had enough weapons stored in Gikondo at Kabuga’s house, that list of Tutsi to be killed had been prepared. He added that since UNAMIR was deployed to Rwanda, over 17000 militiamen had been trained to complement with several others who had been trained before. General DALLAIRE wrote a statement requesting for the right to confiscate those weapons and stop groundworks on the genocide.
On 12th January 1994, DALLAIRE was given an answer that had been signed by one of the UN top leaders called Iqbal RIZA who was the deputy to Koffi ANNAN, then head of UN peace keeping services requesting general DALLAIRE of not involving UNAMIR in confiscation of arms. Iqbal added that the only thing DALLAIRE had to do was to discuss it with president HABYARIMANA and ambassadors of France, Belgium and The United States, to Rwanda. DALLAIRE kept silence until the genocide happened and claimed lives of the people he was mandated to protect.
These acts stated above comprise a small portion of a series of acts committed by the Government that prepared and executed the Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi in its evil plan to exterminate the tutsi. They thus show that the Genocide committed against the Tutsi was neither an accident nor caused by the shooting down of president HABYARIMANA’s plane; they rather show that the Genocide against the Tutsi had been thoroughly planned. They also recall everyone, especially countries, of their international obligations to prosecute and arraign to courts its perpetrators by respecting their obligations provided for by the UN Security Council’s Resolution 2150 adopted on 16th April 2014.
Dr Jean-Damascène BIZIMANA,