We participated in killing people

In the fifth part of our series, Faustin Mugabe talks to three ex-prisoners who were involved in the genocide by hacking and killing people. They tell their story of murder, repentance, forgiveness but also the consequences.

Thursday April 10 2014

A Congolese soldier in Goma at the Rwanda-DRC border stands

A Congolese soldier in Goma at the Rwanda-DRC border stands in front of piles of weapons confiscated from troops of the ousted Rwandan government on July 18, 1994. PHOTO BY AFP 

By Faustin Mugabe

I am Emmanuel Ndaisaba, and I am 40 years old. Altogether, I attacked 18 people – men, women and children. I am haunted most by the 14th person, because she did not die and is still alive.

I hacked her all over and thought she had died. When I was leaving, I looked at her, and she was still alive. I left her.

Today, Alloys Mururinda is married but she has one arm. The other arm was amputated. She was about to be married when the genocide started. We now live in neighbouring villages.

I am reformed and that is the reason I was released from prison. I am one of the hundreds of thousands of former perpetrators of genocide released by the traditional Gacaca court.

Having participated in the genocide in 1994, I tried to hide, but I was eventually arrested the following year, and imprisoned.

I was not taken to court until 2003, two years after the traditional Gacaca courts were established.

While in prison, we were told that the courts had been established to try genocide perpetrators. Some of us decided to tell the truth about what happened.

So when I was brought before the Gacaca court, I accepted the crimes I committed. I repented and asked for forgiveness from those I offended during the genocide, in public.

Those who committed crimes and refused to accept their responsibility were sentenced and taken back to prison.

The Gacaca court sentenced me two years of community work which involved growing cassava for the community.
I am now one of the members of the Ukuri Kuganze association in Nyamata, which brings together genocide survivors and ex-prisoners who participated in the genocide. I still want to beg for Mururinda’s forgiveness.

I was married before the genocide and had a child with my wife. But when I testified in the Gacaca courts that I participated in the genocide, she left me. She said she could not stay with such a killer. Now, I make a living as a casual labourer in my village.

‘We were told to kill all the Tutsi’

My name is Athanasius Kamanzi. I am 45 and a resident of Gikoma village, popularly known as the “Village of Reconciliation”, in Rweru sector, Bugesera District, southern Rwanda near the border with the Republic of Burundi. I am married with six children and I am a farmer.

During the genocide, the interahamwe asked us to kill all the Tutsi in their village in 1992 and 1994. So we went on the rampage, killing every Tutsi we found. We killed Tutsi first in 1992 and later in 1994 when Habyarimana died. We were told by the interahamwe leaders to kill the remaining Tutsi.

I killed three people I knew well. They were my neighbours.

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