Cibitoke Attack : His name was Aaron Manirampa

Pictures of the mutilated young man went around social networks. Two terrible pictures: on one, he is tied up and alive. On the other, he lies on the ground. Killed. Aaron Manirampa is one of those young rebels coldly executed in Murwi Commune December 2014. Iwacu found his family and his relatives. Here is the story of an unlucky young man. –By Dieudonné Hakizimana and Christian Bigirimana translated by Diane Uwimana


Aaron Manirampa, tied up and alive

Aaron Manirampa, tied up and alive

“My God, it is him!” The eyes of Judith Ndarubayemwo instantly fill with tears when we show her the two pictures that have been appearing at various social networks. The pictures are chilling. On the first, we see a young man tied up, sitting down. He is surrounded by policemen and soldiers. Terrified, he seems to beg, implore his murderers.On the second picture: the same young man, but this time lying down, still tied up. We notice a big wound on the head. He is dead.


The same Aaron Manirampa, killed

The same Aaron Manirampa, killed

In an almost inaudible voice, the woman, in her 70’sconfirmed that it is her son in the photograph. Silence in the small family living-room. The air is heavy. We don’t dare to speak. After a moment, her face ravaged by sorrow, she continues: “He loved me more than his brothers.”

Aaron Manirampa, 24, was born on Kabumba hill, Ruyaga zone in Kanyosha commune, Bujumbura province. He started his primary school until 4th year at Buhonga, and his family fled the persecutions of FNL fighters in 2004. He enrolled at “Notre Dame” primary school to enter the fifth year but he gave up the school in the middle of the year.

The following school-year, his parents enrol him at the Kamesa primary school in Kanyosha commune. He spent the last two trimesters, but he got bad results at the end of the year. During the Easter holidays, he asked his parents for money, he said, for trade. They refused. Aaron finally gave up school. According to his childhood friend, Aaron was a tumultuous child.

The young Aaron leaves his family

Aaron Manirampa ran away and fled to Makamba. There, someone offered him a job. Contacted by Iwacu, a source in Nyanza -lac commune affirms that he herded goats.
Badly treated, the young Aaron wanted to escape this misery.

One day, his boss sent him to buy bean seeds at the market. He took off and went home. “When we saw him he was in a horrible state. He had lost weight, he was dirty, his clothes were dirty and gave off a pungent odour,” says his sister, in a broken voice.
The young man was unrecognizable. His parents asked him to return to school but he refused. Then, he got involved in the FNL movement. He stayed there for more than 2 years. He was demobilized in 2009 with the cease -fire between the government and the FNL.

Aaron Manirampa then returned home. Without work, Imbonerakure asked him to collaborate with him in their “activities.” According to his family, Aaron declined the offer. But after refusing to integrate Imbonerakure, Aaron was afraid and went to stay with his older brother in Carama, Kinama commune.

Things go wrong

Unfortunately in Carama, the unlucky seems to go after the young man. The young Aaron was accused by his sister in-law of raping a three month neighbouring girl. But according to the Carama neighbours, the young woman didn’t want Aaron at her home. She is said to have unjustly charged Aaron, and corrupted neighbours to testify against him. The search warrant was signed by the Kinama police.

The young Aaron fled to Rumonge. One of his brothers asked him to enrol in a professional and vocational school in Rumonge to learn welding.
According to his friend with whom he took these courses in Rumonge, he went through the training but his dream was to practise trade.

Tite Barakekereza: "My son was tied up on the picture, we couldn't executed him"

Tite Barakekereza: “My son was tied up on the picture, we couldn’t executed him”

After the welding school, with the money received for his demobilization, Aaron wanted to start a small business. But his brothers wanted him to open a welding shop, and it was the brothers who managed his money. They eventually offered him a small business selling bags of rolls at the Buyenzi market called “Ruvumera”.
He remained as a seller of plastic bags at the market Buyenzi until 2012.
When, suddenly, he told his brothers that he was bankrupted.

Aaron Manirampa returned to his parents but his brother who lives in Carama convinced him to return to live with him. He accepted this despite the disagreements between him and his sister-in-law. “We were sceptical. I asked him, but he replied that the problem was solved between his sister-in-law and him,” his sister remembers.

Indeed, relations seem calm; the young Aaron even helped his sister- in- law with her market stand at the market called “Zion”. A few days later, he called his sister to inform her that his sister-in-law sent him to Cibitoke province to help her family harvest cassava.

A week later, remembers his sister, Aaron Manirampa called her to say that he was mistreated by the family of his sister-in-law: “I asked him to come down to Bujumbura and promised to pay the ticket for the bus on his arrival. He promised to think about it and let me know, but I never heard anything.”

A few days after, says Aaron’s sister, she learned that he was no longer with his sister-in-law in Cibitoke province: “It was at the end of last December. And I was afraid because people said that people had been killed and thrown into the Rusizi River.” Then, she says tearfully, nobody heard from Aaron again.

Macabre discovery

In January 2015, news began to flow about the people killed in the Murwi attack. Aaron’s mother told her daughter that everyone in Gitaramuka quarter, in Musaga Commune, where the family lives for the moment, is talking about the death of Aaron: “She asked our brothers but they replied that is was a rumour. “
Apparently, the brothers know the truth but they didn’t want to suddenly announce his death to their mother already, who was suffering from a heart disease. After a few weeks, they eventually told her and asked her to take the news with serenity.

With a heavy heart, Tite Barakekereza, the father of Aaron, indicates that this death is an unspeakable pain that will remain with him for life. According to him, his son had an endearing character and that he loved his mother: “When he got his first demobilization pay, he bought a goat for his mother.”In addition, he never spent a week without visiting us when he sold bags at Ruvumera market. “He often brought gifts to his mother.”

Judith Ndarubayemwo: "Those who executed my son must respond to their acts.@iwacu

Judith Ndarubayemwo: “Those who executed my son must respond to their acts.@iwacu

Judith Ndarubayemwo, his mother, says that she hasn’t yet realized that Aaron is dead: “Sometimes I tell myself that this is a nightmare and that I’ll see my son again”.All she wants is the truth about what really happened in Cibitoke province, “my son cannot have been in the DRC in such a short time as he was with the family of his sister-in-law at the end of December 2014.” For her, there are too many “unsaid things in the case.”

The other hope for the family, says Tite Barakekereza is that the murderers of Aaron Manirampa be known and brought to justice so that they can be held responsible for their acts: “My son was arrested, tied up. You don’t kill someone who is already captured, even during war. “He concludes: “We need to know the name of the leader of this rebellion, if indeed there was rebellion.” This battered family hopes the inquiry commission recently established by the General Attorney of the Republic will identify those responsible for the rebellion and those who committed war crimes so that they can be brought to justice.