Leonidas Byamungu witnessed RPF killings from his prison’s cell for 4 years he stayed imprisoned

He was 22 years old in 1994. He comes from the region of Ngororero in the previously called Commune of Kibilira. Accused in 1995 with his father Etienne Kajeguhakwa of being Interahamwe, they were both incarcerated in Gisenyi prison. After 4 years of a difficult time in prison, both being beaten regularly, he survived because he had admitted a crime he did not commit. The Tutsi named Musare he was accused of killing, nobody in his region was aware of him because he did not exist. This was a fabricated case for two main reasons: to inflate the number of Tutsi killed and to keep in bondage every Hutu who was to admit to the false killing.

During his time in the prison of Gisenyi, Leonidas Byamungu witnessed days after days summary executions of prisoners that were brought in the building from several areas of the region. Their assassination was operated with Inkotani trademark tool of Agafuni. At the end of the time he spent in that prison, the number of the victims amounted to thousands. During the night, he can still easily hear again and again the loud cries of these all Hutu victims who were being tortured before their execution because they had refused to admit crimes they did not commit.

He saw them being killed from his cell which was located in one of the four blocks of the prison building facing the Hospital of Gisenyi towards the south side. In the prison, they could easily do 4 to 5 days without eating. And when they were finally given anything to eat, it was sorghum meal in which broken glass had been deliberately added. In prison Leonidas witnessed too many deaths as a consequence of bad conditions and such low intensity killing of prisoners through their diet.

Leonidas considers himself to be a survivor of RPF. He lost immediately his father who died after his release from prison. His sister Alphonsine Uwamahoro and brother Damascene Kabera had been killed in the meantime. Before being sent to the prison of Gisenyi he was seriously tortured and beaten alongside many others he was imprisoned with at the local prison of Kibilira. Those who admitted killing Tutsi (sometime advised so by those among RPF people who knew them) were spared from immediate death.

Leonidas Byamungu took seriously such advice when after being tortured once, he found out that this was the only way of not being sent to the death squad. In fact, those who admitted having killed were told that if they accepted their crimes even if they did not commit them they would be released. This is how he accepted his “crime”. But this was again an RPF trick.

Leonidas Byamungu also explains in his testimony that Hutu refugees who had settled temporally on the hill of Ngurungunzu in the Commune of Kibilira had been killed by RPF soldiers and that their bodies had been buried in common graves and he had been among people of his area who had been called upon to accomplish that task.

He also reports that during the period reserved to honouring Tutsi victims of the genocide he and other Hutu of his area were pressurized to dig out the bodies they had buried some years back they knew to be of Hutu people and clean them to be displayed in the genocide memorial of Muhororo as rests of Tutsi killed by Interahamwe.

Leonidas Byamungu ends his testimony requesting from many Rwandans who witnessed atrocities as he did or even only victim, particularly if there are Hutu since their ordeal has officially been covered up by RPF regime, to come out publicly and share their sad life experience. Presently Byamungu lives in Belgium where he tried to get as soon he realized, after his release from prison, that he could not live anymore in Rwanda under the difficult conditions that the regime RPF of Paul Kagame applies to Hutu populations.


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