Jambonews, an online news outlet, made a French transcript of a testimony given by an ex-DMI and soldier of the Rwandan Patriotic Front. I personally heard him live in Kinyarwanda on Radio Itahuka where he was being interviewed by the presenter. The text has been translated into English. What is astonishing after listening and reading the testimony is the disconnect between those like Howard G. Buffett and Tony Blair who are still backing Paul Kagame. No wonder some voices are calling racists these western sponsors of the dictator of Rwanda, because they don’t seem to have any threshold of victims beyond which their friend can go for them to leave him sank on his own. Please read below the translation of the testimony. It is chilling and raises goose bumps on the skin. Only Hitler’s gas chambers and the entire Nazi experience get closer.
“I’ll give you my testimony about what happened in the Congo, where I was a soldier of the RPA (now the RDF Rwandese Defence Force) before being assigned to the DMI (Directorate of Military Intelligence). We were sent to kill refugees in Kisangani at the orders of Captain Shema of the DMI and Lieutenant Frank Bashimake. Up until Kisangani fleeing refugees walked on the road, once there they were blocked by the river, and this is where they perished; what happened there is the subject of the story I am going to tell you Rwandan friends,” declares the former DMI member who recognizes himself to be a former RPF killer, now a refugee in Europe, and did not want to reveal his name or address for his safety and that of his family. He delivered his story in Kinyarwanda on radio Itahuka on Saturday 9th of February. Radio Itahuka is online broadcasting outlet established by RNC, an entity initiated and led by former RPF personalities once close to Paul Kagame.
A refugee transformed into a killer
Born in Rutshuru in the eastern Congo, the former DMI agent is a descendant of the former Tutsi refugees expelled from Rwanda in 1959. He joined the RPF rebellion in 1993, one year before the victory of the movement over the Habyarimana regime. Soon after, he was assigned to the sadly famous DMI [Directorate of Military Intelligence], the Rwandan military intelligence agency whose role has been established as significant in the execution of thousands of Rwandans and foreigners.
“I want to overall give my testimony on the Rwandan leaders and what they have done since the RPF launched the war of liberation; I need to tell you this because it makes me feel uncomfortable in my heart and that has also been the reason which has motivated me to go into exile again, “he says.
Objective: to liquidate every Hutu on Congolese soil
“We attacked and massacred Rwandans savagely and in unimaginable ways. Our commander who was receiving orders from General Paul Kagame and Jacques Nziza, demanded that every Hutu refugee on Congolese soil had to be killed.
and announced that whoever would refuse to abide by such order would be executed on the spot (…) among my colleagues there are those who were killed because they refused to obey orders.” “We placed refugees fleeing Tingi-Tingi (refugee camp NDRL) in trucks and sent them off to several places: there are those we drove on the other side of the river to a place called the “left bank”. It’s thousands and thousands that we killed there. Another place is called Devansende, 59 kilometers from the city of Kisangani; in that place we massacred thousands of people. We dug holes where we threw the bodies, we did not distinguish [between] children, women and aged people, and everyone had to go because the orders were to kill everything Hutu on Congolese soil. We employed all means at our disposal: bullets, agafuni (hoes), plastic bag over the head, tying arms and hands behind the back, etc…..” he continues.”We killed until we were exhausted. Some refugees were even dying of hunger. Captain Shema told us that we toiled in fulfilling our duty to our country. “They are many so if we do not wipe them out they will come back to chase us from the country,” he liked to repeat.
The witness also sheds light on the massacres committed in Mbandaka, in the Équateur region: “On the left bank of Mbandaka, we also massacred many people, because the refugees were stuck, they could not advance. The religious people who tried to intervene in turn suffered the same fate. After their death we looted their vehicles and used them to transport and subsequently burn the bodies.” “People being massacred were all civilians, for example at Rafasenti we made refugees believe that they were going to be sent back to Rwanda; we placed them in several trucks…of mostly men, over 4000 in all. They were all killed on the same day.” “Those who escaped death are those that UNHCR picked from the forests all around, they are the only ones who were able to escape from us. (…) Our criminal activities took place from 1997 until 1998,” says the former agent of the DMI.
Leave no trace
According to the witness, every effort was made not to leave traces of these massacres, because the international community was already following the situation of these refugees. “We dug pits in the vicinity of the city of Kisangani, everything was well planned and controlled from on high by General Paul Kagame. We piled the bodies in the graves like cords of firewood. On the top, we covered with tarpaulins, this allowed us to easily open them and then get other bodies to burn once the holes were filled. Every night we used a motor boat to carry the ashes and throw them in the river Zaire. In everything we did, we were ordered not to rest, we were obliged to execute the orders for us not to be killed too. We were small soldiers under the command of General Paul Kagame, General Nziza, and General Kabarebe who was our direct commander in the field; Captain Shema was in charge of our section.”
Killers were carefully selected
According to the witness, the killers were carefully selected, they were selected from among the Tutsi originating from Congo because according to him the command of the APR did not trust the Tutsi from Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania to perform this mission, which was to be fast, well performed and especially discrete. The selection was largely from among the Tutsi from the Congo. The same witness attests that the bodyguards closer to Paul Kagame, who ensure his security and property are those coming from Congo, as the strong man of Rwanda would not trust his ethnic countrymen from Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi.
“Before the massacre, a meeting was held one evening in the city of Kisangani, led by Captain Shema today with a rank of Major, and his deputy Lieutenant Bashimake who is now Captain and Chief of Police Brigade 408 in Ruhengeri. During this meeting, we were asked: “why do you think you are here from only one ethnic group?” We replied,” We do not know.” So they told us that if we are only Tutsi, is that we have a job to do without specifying what it was.” “We were new to each other in the unit because we came from different batallions (…). Captain Shema told us that it was the military high command which had chosen us for the task, which is why he was saying nobody should excuse themselves and fail in accomplishing it or say “I refuse to do it or I’m sick.” In Kigali, for our recruitment for the unit, they checked where we were born, our family background and our country of origin, “said the witness.
Keep away unwanted witnesses
The ex-DMI agent also provides his account on all what his squadron unit did to keep away unwanted witnesses, especially the NGOs that were likely to take steps in order to know the situation of the refugees on the ground. “We were ordered to keep the humanitarians in the city of Kisangani, and if necessary, to shoot on them to make them understand that some places were dangerous. Take the example of the Red Cross: we killed some of its members, because they were stubborn to know the truth,” he says. According to him, the aid workers were prevented from reaching the scene of massacres, every time before the executioners had finished their work. “We contained the humanitarians in Kisangani until after we had managed to transport bodies 150km inside the forests, thus to leave no evidence to the investigators. (…) Captain Shema and Lieutenant Frank Bashimake ordered us to work 24 hours a day…without resting.” he said before adding that they even fired heavy weapons on UN planes that were flying over the area of the killings to try to understand what was happening. “When we fired on a plane, it stopped from flying over again the area,” he added. “When the United Nations began to raise suspicions about our atrocities in Kisangani, the press asked Paul Kagame about the massacres that were committed on the ground. He always denied. Kabarebe who was leading Rwandan soldiers in the Congo answered the same thing, Kabila (father NDRL) also denied the facts. They were all saying that no Hutu refugee was killed on Congolese soil. We were there on the ground, [and] we were surprised to hear that, we followed BBC news all the time.” The former soldier even gives examples of some officials who were eliminated because they supervised the killings, “the regime wanted to ensure their eternal silence.” This is the case of major Ruzindana and Birasa, who were eliminated by the DMI. Bagire died [by being] poisoned. “What I am sure is that everyone used in the massacres, went into exile or was killed. Me too, when I left the country in March 2006, they wanted to kill me. – Major Birasa, Chief Officer Abbas who oversaw the massacre in camp Kami, and Lieutenant Rushoke who was known as the most cruel of all, they were all murdered in the Kami camp and then transported to Nyungwe” said the witness.
The massacres inside Rwanda
The witness also reported on radio itahuka cases of massacres in Rwanda he attended to directly or indirectly. He spoke of the massacres committed at the regional stadium of Ruhengeri (northern Rwanda) in 1998, on the orders of Gasheja who ran the 408 Ruhengeri battalion and Gasana who led the 408 Ruhengeri brigade. According to him, these officers took people from Nyakinama, Kinigi, Nyamutera, Giciye, and gathered them in the stadium of Ruhengeri. People arrived at the stadium tied in container trucks, and they were gradually carried to the Mukamira camp to be finished off. According to the witness, the bodies were transported in the same trucks to Nyungwe forest in a place they called “Icyokezo” [furnace] to be burned.The witness states that Nyungwe forest, during 1997 and 1998, served as a location where they burned the bodies of people killed across Rwanda. According to him, at Giti Kinyoni (in the vicinity of Kigali) there were feared roadblocks/barriers. People coming from Ruhengeri, Kibuye, Gitarama and Butare were arrested; we looked at the origin of the person and [their] facial characteristics. “We chose especially those who still have the strength to fight, it was called” guca Imbaraga Abahutu” (physically and mentally discourage Hutu).” He says that this climate of terror had finally prevented people from taking taxis because once inside, it was not certain if one would come back home, especially those from Gisenyi and Ruhengeri were automatically stopped at barriers.They were arrested and taken to Camp Kami; according to the witness, in 1998, that camp had an underground prison where people were kept before being killed. “All these killings were coordinated and supervised by Jacques Nziza” he said. To carry the bodies from the Kami camp to Nyungwe forest, the witness said they used a blue Benz brand truck looted from Congo.
Massive use of poison
The witness also mentions the case of murder by poison. “There were also people who were murdered poisoned. The contract to supply poison was in the hands of Indians; they are the ones who imported [it] in Rwanda and sold it to the DMI. This poison was often injected by syringe. The poison was most often used to kill well known people that it was impossible to eliminate without attracting public attention. It’s for that reason that it was high rank officers captains Mutiganda and Burabyo who were personally responsible for the use of that method. The person to be assassinated was either invited to a meeting or approached at a party, “we waited for him to be distracted to put the poison into his glass,” said the witness who attests that he too had been given an assignment to eliminate a colleague. “One day they gave me the poison to put in the milk of Sankara who was in prison at that time. I did not do so because he was a man of integrity. In his songs, he defended the rights of soldiers. They did not realised that I had not poisoned Sankara’s milk, and said to him, “you’re really lucky, you ingested poison and you’re still alive. “
Massacres of Tutsi refugees at Mudende
The former officer DMI, also spoke of the massacres of Tutsi refugees from 1959 who returned to Rwanda in 1995 after more than 30 years of exile in Congo. The witness said he was shocked that Paul Kagame and Nziza had decided to massacre them and officially pretend this was the work of the Hutu rebels (abacengezi) from Congo, while during that period, all eastern Congo and bordering area were under the control of the new Rwandan government.
Indeed, these refugees upon their return to Rwanda, were sheltered at Mudende, not far from the university that bears the same name, and Nkamira. “The killings took place at night, in the morning all the soldiers who were guarding the camp had been recalled.” General Munyakazi who led the 211 brigade of Gisenyi, and to whom victims called upon during the massacres, wanted to go to the scene to intervene but was prevented because those who committed these murders were Kagame’s men sent from Kigali. Surprisingly the bodyguards’ unit of Paul Kagame is largely composed of these sons’ murdered people. “The members of these bodyguards unit did not know, that’s why I also wanted them too to be aware of the facts,” said the former agent of the DMI. “At this point, several soldiers whose parents were murdered that night, wanted to show their anger, but they had to restrain themselves from any action and returned to their camps after General Kagame threatened to liquidate them all.”
On October 1st, 2010, the massacres of Hutu refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo between 1996 and 2002 led to an investigative report of the Office of the United Nations Human Rights known as the Mapping Report [it covers the period running from 1993 to 2003]. According to the report, these massacres could, if proven before a competent court, be described as genocide.