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Genocide in Cyangugu: Acts of violence committed against the Tutsi after the death of President Melchior Ndadaye of Burundi in 1993

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, in June 1993, presidential elections were held in Burundi, won by FRODEBU party, thus putting Melchior Ndadaye on power after defeating Major Pierre Buyoya.

 The victory was welcomed by Rwanda because Burundi was going to be ruled by a Hutu. This drew to repatriation of the many Burundian Hutu refugees who had fled to Rwanda in 1972, 1988 and 1991-1992, many of them were integrated into administration and army.

However, this lasted for a short period because in the night of 20-21 October 1993, President Melchior Ndadaye was assassinated. His death was followed by man-hunt of the Hutu in different leadership positions of the country, parliamentarians, Governors of Provinces, and others. This turbulence led to the massacres of some of them while many others fled again to Rwanda, especially in Bugarama, former cyangugu Prefecture and in Butare among others.

 Burundians who fled to Cyangugu Prefecture, especially in Bugarama commune, were scattered amongst the citizens. After authorities had decided on when to settle them, they were gathered and hosted in the refugees camp established in the vocational school, CERAI that was near the offices of the commune of Bugarama in Muganza sector.

After the Burundian refugees had been settled in that camp, they continued to sow discord between Hutu and Tutsi, arguing that the Tutsi were behind what was taking place in Burundi and that they were the ones who had killed president Ndadaye and were again expelling the Hutu from the country. This ideology of hatred and discrimination culminated into different acts of violence against the Tutsi across the Cyangugu Prefecture.

In the commune of Cyimbogo, after the death of Burundian president Melchior Ndadaye, a roadblock was set up in a place called Rwimitereri. Those who were on the roadblock including Jean de Dieu and others were used to tormenting passengers beating any Tutsi passing by there. Among those beaten at the roadblock include Kurimpuzu Vincent of the former Nyakarenzo Sector, Gituza cell.

In the commune of Gishoma, the death of president Ndadaye was followed by acts of violence targeting the Tutsi, in which some were killed like Aphrodis and others.

 In the commune of Nyakabuye, the Tutsi were also targeted, seriously persecuted on allegations that president Ndadaye would have been killed by their Tutsi colleagues from Burundi who would in addition force the Hutu into exile.

Apart from imprisonment, for any movement, the Tutsi were in fear, beleaguered and persecuted.    

In the commune of Bugarama, there was also persecution of the Tutsi where many of them were detained at the dungeon of the commune. The Burundian refugees who normally lived at Muganza at the 8th road conspired with Interahamwe militiamen to persecute the Tutsi, arguing that their colleagues in Burundi had killed president Ndadaye. They persecuted many Tutsi including nurse Sezibera Patrick, teacher Serugo Jacques and others. 

In the commune of Karengera, Nicolas Bucyana of Kareba in Butare Sector was assassinated at Cyicarabagabo trading centre. They smirked him in a mob during the night and cut his head off. In Muramba, Théobard Murindabigwi of Mwezi was also killed while in Bweyeye they killed Herson, son to Nyamunana, whom they abducted when he was coming from buying banana bear that he would resell as usual. They abducted him at the Bweyeye playground and beat him until he died.

 When the bourgoumestre of the commune of Karengera, Fulgence Natete arrived there for a meeting, he was informed about what had happened but did nothing; he rather said that those people and their supporters would all die together.