To most Congolese, the sidelining of the”Terminator” will not change anything on the ground-in terms of security. Especially as Bosco Ntaganda was a pawn in the banditry cartel of Rwanda and Uganda. So, the real sponsors of insecurity in the region are still at large – that is to say their ability to murder,rape,plunder,enslavement,displacement and enlisting child soldiers, is still very intact.
Many people within the Rwandan community have listened to this testimony including, dictator Paul kagame’s former inner circle such as;
2. Gervais Condo
3. Lt. Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa
4. Dr. Gerald Gahima
5. Jonathan Musonera
6. Col. Patrick Karegeya
7. Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa
8. Joseph Ngarambe
9. Dr Emmanuel Hakizimana
10.Jean Paul Turayishimye
Why this testimony is genuine, it was aired by a blog radio owned by them and non has disputed the content of the testimony.
“I’ll give you my testimony about what happened in the Congo, where I was a soldier of the RPA, (now known as the RDF, Rwandese Defense Force, before being assigned to the DMI (Directorate of Military Intelligence). At the time, we were sent to kill the refugees in Kisangani at the command of Captain Shema of the DMI and Lieutenant Frank Bashimake. In their escape the refugees walked on the roads until Kisangani, and when arrived at Kigangani, they were blocked by the river; it’s there that they perished. I will tell you about what occurred there, Rwandan friends”, declared the former DMI member who recognizes himself as a former RPF killer, now a refugee in Europe, and who did not want to reveal his name or address for his safety and that of his family. He delivered his story in Kinyarwanda on Itahuka radio on Saturday February 9th . Radio Itahuka is a web radio founded by the platform of the Rwandan National Congress (RNC), a platform initiated and directed by old personalities of the RPF, formerly close to Paul Kagame.
A refugee transformed into a killer
Born in Rutshuru in Eastern Congo, this former DMI is a descendant of the former Tutsi refugees driven out of Rwanda in 1959. He joined the rebellion of the RPF in 1993, a year before the victory of the movement on the Habyarimana’s reign. Shortly after, he was assigned to the infamous DMI (Directorate of Military Intelligence), the Rwandan military intelligence agency indicted for its role in the execution of thousands of Rwandans and foreigners.
“”I want to give my testimony on Rwandan leaders in general and what they have done since the RPF launched the war of liberation. I’ll tell you because it makes me very sick at heart and that is what pushed me into exile again”, he said.
Objective: to liquidate any Hutu on Congolese soil
“We attacked and massacred Rwandans brutally and in unimaginable ways, the one who commanded us and who, on his turn, was under the command of General Paul Kagame and Jacques Nziza, asked for all Hutu refugees on Congolese soil to be assassinated and they further announced that those who refuse to do so will be executed on the spot. (…) Among my colleagues there were some who were executed because they refused to obey orders. “We put refugees fleeing Tingi-Tingi NDRL a refugee camp) in trucks and sent them off to several places: we led some of them on the other side of the river, a place they called “left bank”. Thousands and thousands were massacred there. Another place is Devansende, it is within 59 kilometers of the town of Kisangani: in this place we massacred several thousands of people. We had dug holes where we threw the bodies, we did not make any distinction: children, women and aged people, everyone had to go because the orders were to kill every Hutu on Congolese soil. We employed all means that were at our disposal: bullets, agafuni (used hoes), plastic bags over their heads, tying their hands behind their backs, etc…..”, he continued.
“We killed until we were exhausted. Some refugees were even dying of hunger. Captain Shema told us that we tired ourselves for our country. ’There are many of them.If we do not eradicate them they will come back to chase us out of the country’, he liked to repeat.This witness also sheds light on the perpetrated massacres in Mbandaka, in the area of the Equateur: “On the left bank of Mbandaka, we also massacred a lot of people, because refugees were stuck there, they could no longer move. Religious individuals who tried to intervene suffered the same fate on their turn. After their death, we pillaged their vehicles and later used them to transport and burn the bodies.
“People whom we massacred were all civilians. For example, in Rafasenti, we made the refugees believe that we were going to bring them back to Rwanda. We made them get into several trucks, especially the men, and more than 4000 of them were loaded. They were all killed on the same day.
“Those who escaped death are those who were picked up by the UNHCR from the forests. They are the only ones who were able to escape us. (…) Our criminal activities proceeded from 1997 up to 1998 when Laurent Kabila asked us to leave”, the former agent of the DMI specified.
Leave no trace
According to the witness, every effort was made in order to not leave any traces of these massacres, because the international community was already following the situation of these refugees. “We had dug pits in the surroundings of the city of Kisangani; everything was well-planned and highly driven by General Paul Kagame. Bodies piled up in these mass graves as the cubic meters of firewood. At the top we covered the graves with tarps, this allowed us to easily open and put other bodies in.Once the holes filled we would burn them. Each night we used motor boats to carry the ashes and throw them in the Zaire River (Congo River). Throughout what we did, we were ordered not to rest, it was obliged to carry out orders so we wouldn’t get executed on our turn. We were small soldiers under the orders of General Paul Kagame, General Nziza and General Kabarebe,who was our direct leader on the field. Captain Shema commanded our section’’, the witness reported.
The killers were carefully selected
According to the witness, the killers were thoroughly chosen, they were selected among Tutsis from Congo, because according to him, the command of the APR did not trust Tutsis from Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania to carry out this mission which was to be fast, well made and especially discrete. The choice was made mainly on Tutsis originating from the Congo. The witness even affirmed that the guards closer to Paul Kagame, who ensure his security and property, are those coming from the Congo, because the strong man of Rwanda would not trust his compatriots from Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi.
“Before the massacres, a meeting was held in the town of Kisangani one evening, led by captain Shema, now a Major, and his assistant lieutenant Bashimake who today is Captain and chief of brigade 408 of the police force in Ruhengeri. During this meeting, we were asked a question: ‘According to you, why are you here from only one ethnic group?’ We answered: ‘We do not know anything of it’. Thus they explained us that if we were onlyTutsi, it was that we had a job todo, without specifying what it this job was . We did not know each other because we came from different battalions, (…). Captain Shema explained to us that it was the General staffthat had chosen us for this work; this is why we could not say “I refuse to do it or I am sick”. In Kigali we were selected by where we were born, our family and our country of origin”, said the witness.
Keep away unwanted witnesses
The witness also delivers his account of why his squadron was to take away witnesses, especially NGOs which were likely to take steps in order to know the ground of refugees. “We were ordered to retain the humanitarians in the town of Kisangani, if necessary to shoot at them to make them believe that certain places were dangerous. I give you the example of the Red Cross; we killed some of its members because they were obstinate to know the truth” he said.
In his opinion the humanitarians were prevented from going to the spot of the massacres before the executioners finished their work. “We contained the humanitarians in Kisangani until we transferred the bodies to 150km inside the forest to not leave evidence for the investigators. (…) Captain Shema and Lieutenant Frank Bashimake ordered us to work over 24hours without resting”. He affirms that they even fired on aircrafts of the United Nations with heavy weapons. The planes were flying over the area of the killings in an attempt to try and understand what was happening. “When we fired on a plane, it did not pass above the same zone again ” he says.
“When the United Nations started to raise suspicions on our atrocities regarding Kisangani, the press questioned Paul Kagame on the massacres which were made on the ground. The latter did nothing but deny. Kabarebe who directed the Rwandan soldiers to Congo, answered the same thing and Kabila (NDRL Joseph Kabiba, the father ) also denied the facts. They all said that no Hutu refugee was killed on the Congolese soil. We were astonished to hear that on the spot , we followed BBC all the time”.
The former soldier also gave the examples of unquestionable officials who were eliminated because they had supervised the massacres. “The regime wanted to ensure their eternal silence”. It is the same case for majors Ruzindana and Birasa, who were eliminated by the DMI and Bagire who died poisoned. “What I am sure of is that everyone who was used for the massacres went into exile or was killed after” Me too, when I left the country in March 2006, they wanted to kill me. Major Birasa, chief warrant officer Abbas who supervised the massacres in the Kami camp, lieutenant Rushoke who was known to be the cruelest of all, all of them were assassinated in the Kami camp and then transported towards Nyungwe forest ” the witness affirmed.
The massacres in Rwanda
The witness also told the radio operator Itahuka about certain cases of massacres in Rwanda to which he assisted directly or indirectly. He reconsidered the massacres which were made at the regional stadium of Ruhengeri (in the North of Rwanda) in 1998, on the orders of Gasheja who directed the battalion 408 of Ruhengeri, and Gasana, who directed brigade 408 of Ruhengeri. According to the ex-soldier, these officers picked up people from Nyakinama, Kinigi, Nyamutera and Giciye, and gathered them in the stadium of Ruhengeri. People arrived to the stadium tied up in container trucks, and then they were gradually led to the Mukamira camp to be killed. According to the witness, the bodies were transported in the same trucks towards the forest of Nyungwe in a place that they called “Icyokezo” (Kinyarwanda word meaning “grill”, to be burned there.
The former DMI agent affirmed that Nyungwe forest was useful in 1997 and 1998, as the place where they burned the bodies of the people who were killed all over Rwanda. According to him, at Kugiti Kinyoni (near Kigali) there were feared barriers. ‘’People 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 had the strength to fight, it was called” guca Imbaraga Abahutu” (to discourage Hutus)”. He affirmed that this climate of terror had ended up persuading people to not take taxis because once inside, one was not sure to return, especially those who were coming from Gisenyi and Ruhengeri did not cross any barrier. They were stopped and led to camp Kami, a camp that, according to him, shelteredin its cellar a prison where people were kept before being killed. “All these massacres were coordinated and supervised by Jacques Nziza”, he said. To transport the bodies of Kami camp towards the Nyungwe forest, the witness affirmed that they used a blue Benz mark truck plundered in Congo.
Massive use of poison
The witness also evoked the cases of assassinations through poison. “There were also people who were poisoned. The market of poison was in the hands of the Indians, it is them who imported it to Rwanda to sell it to the DMI. This poison was often injected by syringe. The poison was generally used to assassinate known people of whom it was impossible to eliminate in the mass without drawing attention. This is why it were the tops graded, like captain Mutiganda and captain Burabyo who personally occupied themselves to use this method. The person to be eliminated was invited to a meeting or was approached in a festival; one waited until he was inattentive to put the poison in his glass”, affirmed the witness who said to have been in charge of a mission of eliminating a colleague himself:
«One day I was given poison to put in the milk of Sankara who was in prison at that time. I did not do it because he was a man of integrity. In his songs, he defended the rights of soldiers. . They did not know that I had not poisoned Sankara’s milk, and said to him: “you’re really lucky, you ingested poison and you’re still alive’’. »
The massacres of Tutsi refugees at Mudende
The former DMI officer also returned to the massacres of Tutsi refugees from 1959 who returned to Rwanda in 1995 after 30 years of exile in Congo. The witness was shocked that Paul Kagame and Nziza decided to eliminate them and attribute their death to the Hutu rebels (abacengezi) from Congo, while in this period, the eastern border of Congo was under the control of the new Rwandan government
Indeed, these refugees upon their return to Rwanda were installed at Mudende, not far from the university that bears the same name, and in Nkamira. “The massacres proceeded at night, in the morning all the soldiers who were guarding the camp had been recalled.” The General Munyakazi who directed brigade 211 of Gisenyi, and to who the victims reached out during the events, wanted to go to the place of the massacres to intervene but he was prevented from doing so because those who were in charge of the assassinations were the men of Kagame who came from Kigali. However, the majority of the guards who are close to Paul Kagame comprise out of sons of these assassinated people. “These guards do not know it, this is why I deliver this testimony”, declared the former agent of the DMI. “At that time, several military personnel including the relatives of the murdered that night, wanted to demonstrate, but they had to resign and return to their camps after general Kagame threatened to liquidate them all».
On October 1st , 2010, the massacres of the Hutu refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo between 1996 and 2002 generated a report of investigation of the High Commission of the United Nations on the Human Rights, known under the name of Mapping Report. According to this document, these massacres could, if proven in front of a competent jurisdiction, be described as genocide.
Translated by Clémentine Kwitonda