A list published by the communal administrator, reporting nine people “killed “during the fighting at Cibitoke, is becoming highly controversial and contested. Some families speak of a charge of lies others confirm the deaths despite not having seen the corpses.-By Christian Bigirimana and Dieudonné Hakizimana,Translated by Diane Uwimana
A displaced person from Rutabo, who prefers to remain anonymous, doesn’t beat around the bush: “Nahwegere (a Twa accused of stigmatizing others from the site) and her husband Nduwabagabo, helped by the administrator, stigmatized us by accusing us of sending one of our family members into the fighting.”
He continues to report that there is a ‘set up’: “Reports were that some from the displaced site were killed in Cibitoke, this was designed in order to involve “Tutsi” and “Twa” families to encourage them to recruit and send their children in the rebellion.”
At a press conference attended by Valentin Bagorikunda, the General Prosecutor of the Republic, he advised that the country was attacked by a force which composed of 190 combatants. “…from Kirundo (41), Makamba (35), Ngozi (23), Cibitoke (11) and Bubanza (10).”Bagorikunda advised that the deaths would be reported to the family members; however this promise has yet to be kept.
Lists that divided
Two weeks later, in Vumbi Commune, Kirundo Province, a list of 17 persons was distributed by Frédéric Hakizimana, the communal administrator. The contents of this list are at best confusing and at worst untrue -three of those included in the report as dead, remain alive.
Frédéric Hakizimana stated that he met some of those listed as dead but actually alive: “Two told me that they were in Cibitoke looking for a work and another told me that he was visiting the DRC as a Mineral Prospector.”
All three of these young people confirmed that they were recruited by Gabriel Niyonzima. Niyonzima was a teacher at Mutoyi College, Bukuba, who has disappeared after impregnating one of his pupils: “The former teacher was a Transmission Agent of Alexis Sinduhije, the leader of the Solidarity and Democracy Movement party (MSD).”
At a later security meeting held by Evariste Nkunzimana, the administrator of Busoni Commune, he presented a list of nine persons. Among them, seven from Rutabo site were killed during the attack in Murwi Commune, Cibitoke Province. Of the people cited, these included four Twa and five Tutsi. He concluded the meeting with a threat: “Who would like to provoke a war will begin and finish at his home.”
For some people from the site, it is a ‘montage’. One anonymous male is adamant that his brother is alive and well despite the reports which stated that he was dead: “He had given up studies at Rusarasi primary school. Three years ago, he went to Rwanda to look for a job.”No news was heard from him until May when a friend from Vumbi Commune told him that his brother is well and alive in Kigali.
A communal advisor fingered
For him, the list presented by the communal administrator is a kind of lies. The cause, he explains, the list was written by hands. “It has brought by Nahwegere, a Twa from Uprona party, Concilie Nibigira’s wing. He believes that there is a needle rock because this lady is close to MP Jean Baptiste Nzigamasabo, nicknamed Gihahe. “She spent a much time in the meetings organized by Gihahe, who has visceral hatred for inhabitants from Rutabo site,” he emphasizes.
He wonders why the administration published the names without showing the corpses to their families in order to be buried with dignity. “If they have been captured alive, after identification, how were they pronounced dead? And if they were already dead before their identification, why did they not bring the corpses to the families?”
For him, this leads to concealment designed to divide people. This view is shared with an inhabitant from the site: “Early in the morning, hidden meetings were organized by Evariste Nkurunziza for only for the members of the ruling party. Why?” The last meeting was held on Sunday 25 January.
Worse again, she astonished, even while the inhabitants of site work together in the evenings to ensure security, members of the ruling party cry conspiracy and refuse to take part in the night patrols.
Fear in the site
Since the public meeting organized by the communal administrator, the Batwa families accuse Tutsis of manipulating their children, and sending them to their deaths, while pretending to send them to Rwanda.
Concerning the Tutsi families accused, some have left the displaced site and moved to places unknown. This is the case of François-Xavier Ruberintwari, the chief of the Site, Pacifique Urayeneza, his wife and their two kids and Ngabonziza, who escaped the site after the meeting organized by the administrator: “They were accused by Nahwegere and her husband of sending young people in the rebellion.”
And wonder oneself, why there is silence while some of the people including the administration were obviously aware of the registration.
Those who remain at Rutabo currently live in fear: “we have learned that we will be called by the administration to explain how our brothers have left and notably where they are,” he astonished.
They have been engaged in the rebellion
Contrary to the apprehensions of these families, others affirm loudly that their beloved were killed during the fighting in Murwi.
This is the case of Béatrice Ngendahayo, a Tutsi. She is convinced that his son was involved with the rebellion and was confirmed dead by the administration. Her son, Ahmad Sibomana, 37 old, left in July 2014: “At the eve of his departure, he has called me and told me that he went to be military trained and didn’t know if he will back in safety.”He traveled with other three persons.
For Béatrice Ngendahayo, there is no doubt that her son was in the rebellion but she believes that he was misled.
The same view is made by Florence Kwizerimana, 24, Jean Marie Nyabenda’s wife, a Twa that was killed in Murwi according to the administrator.
She explains that her husband went to Rwanda to apply for a job in February 2013: “After two months, he sent me messages that he is well, and with both of two brothers but since that time, I haven’t heard anything.”
The same view made by another sorrowful family
The announcement of the bad news of the young people killed in Cibitoke Province was huge painful news for the family of Mathias Ndinzemenshi and Madeleine Inamabumba.
According to the list, the couple of the Rutabo site lost two sons. However, they haven’t seen the corpse of their children, or been able to bury them with dignity.
The family doesn’t know whether the information is true, yet they are concerned because they believe that the administrator must have good and sure information. “We hope that a communal officer can’t lie. To the contrary, he has a responsibility over what he declares,” Mathias Ndinzemenshi insists.
After along stay, Mathias Ndinzemenshi takes the courage and speaks few words: “My two sons, Gervais Singirabansi (30 years) and Jean de Dieu Ntabagabo (26 years) departed in February 2014.”
Chantal Hakizimana, wife of Singirabansi, is inconsolable. She wants to see and bury corpse of her husband.
The second son of Mathias Ndinzemenshi was at the Rusarasi primary school.
Mathias Ndinzemenshi and Madeleine Inamabumba accuse François-Xavier Ruberintwari, the chief of the site and Ngabonziza of misleading their children by organizing their departure to the DRC. They affirm that their two sons left without informing the family. “We knew that when they called us via the mobile phone of those who enrolled them in that rebellion.”
They confirm they communicated with their children via the mobile phones: “they told us that they were combatants in DRC training to help us in the future,” says Madeleine Inamabumba.
After the sad news revealed by the administrator of Busoni Commune, Mathias Ndinzemenshi indicates that he wishes to organize a revenge against François-Xavier Ruberintwari and Ngabonziza who recruited their children: “ There are our neighbors who intervened because my family went to kill them.”
The couple Ndinzemenshi and Inamabumba indicates that they have made allegations in justice against who recruited their children to form a troop: “the affair is now at the Busoni judiciary police officer.”
“Some Tutsi are jealous of me”
Nahwegere Misago, member of the Busoni communal council refuses all allegations against her.
For her, there is a minor group of Tutsi ethnic group who are jealous of her due to her position as she is from Twa ethnic. “As I am from Uprona party lead by Concilie Nibigira, these Tutsi have been unified to chase me away from the communal council without success. They don’t like me as their representative.”
Since that nomination, the accusations against her, came from everywhere in the area of Tutsi ethnic of Busoni: “they accuse me to have a low intellectual degree, collaborate with the members of the ruling party, take part in secret meetings held by the MP Gihahe from Busoni.”
Nevertheless, this doesn’t discourage her: “they want to intimidate me in order to give up all steps undertaken against all who intervene in the recruitment of our children in the rebellion, but I will do my best until the justice is done.
She indicates that she is at the service of all people as she was elected by all the population. “I have even given up my pottery to care for the inhabitants’ problems of my commune,” she says.
She currently asks François-Xavier Ruberintwari and Ngabonziza to emerge from hiding to reply to the accusations of those who lost their family members.
“Our objectives were to prevent”
Evariste Nkunzimana, the communal Administrator of Busoni, speaks about a small group who threatened the population and encouraged them to escape the commune: “some of them are now identified and will be followed.”
He added that the list has been addressed by the general prosecution of the Republic and according to the communal administration verification, these people do not exist. Evariste Nkunzimana mentions that the objective of the meeting was to prevent the youth of the commune to be enrolled in the rebellion.