RETROSPECTIVE VIEW ON THE ATTACK AGAINST THE RWANDAN REFUGEES IN THE EAST OF ZAIRE: WHO ARE THESE ATTACKERS, REALLY?
Uwiragiye Jacques, Nyirarwego Anisie, Bakunda Tassien Nyagatare Philemon, Nzamurambaho Calixte, Nzanywayimanimpaye Gustave, Nzabakulikira Stanis, Barakagira Annonciata, Busabimana Marie Angele, Mbonigaba Gervais, Rukundo Jean Claude
One again, the survivors of Tingi-Tingi demonstrate it
The war in the East Zaire, before being a conquering war, has been since the beginning an attack against the Rwandan refugee camps. This war has been run by overequipped, well trained and hardened trops.
Since the outburst of the hostilities, Zaire have clearly pointed their attackers, identifying them with Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda. But these three countries repel the accusations of the Zairean government arguing that the rebellion is a Zairean internal problem.
Who are these famous "rebels" then? This question must be asked, above all now that, with the evidence of the atrocities commited by the "rebels" mainly against Rwandan Hutu refugees, the international community finally decided to send to the zone an Investigating Commission in order to identify the authors of theses atrocities and establish their responsabilities in this tragedy. It is not strange then that the countries which are involved in the matter are trying to create confusion about the real identity of the attackers who are guilty of these atrocities.
Help must be given to the investigators chosen by the United Nations in order to know the truth about the identity of the criminals. Only in this way, the memory of these hundred thousands of people wildly killed by the "rebels" during the destruction of the refugee camps in North and South Kivu and the suffering of the refugees through the immense Zairean equatorial jungle will be honoured.
2. WHO ARE THE ATTACKERS?
First, they are called Tutsi Banyamulenge "rebels". Then they are called Laurent Kabila Tutsi "rebels". Finally, Democratic Alliance Laurent Désiré Kabila "rebels". As we can see, the confusion about the identity of these attackers seems great, but it is created purposely and strategically.
THE DIFFERENT ATTACKERS' NAMES
At the beginning, the attackers are called Banyamulenge and they have a Tutsi spokesman who declares on behalf of them from Bujumbura and Kigali. The "rebel" claim comes from the Kinshasa government refusing to give them the Zairean nationality and from the different vexations which they suffered. This problem of nationality also affects other larger Rwandan populations, such as the Hutu population with more than 3.500.000 people who live in North and South Kivu. However, the "rebel" movement only seems to be interested in Tutsis, who are not many (between 100.000 and 300.000) and who live in a zone situated in the frontier of the Fizi High Plateaus. These Rwandan people, who arrived there at the end of the XIXth century, called the Fizi High Plateaus "Umulenge" in Kinyarwanda (it means "the populace").
Later, after seeing that the political claim is not enough to cover the exterior agression and with a revival of the Zairean nationalism which is shown violent against the Kigali government and against the Rwandan speakers in general, and the Tutsi in particular, who live in Zaire, the "rebels" change their tactics and strategy: then they call themselves "Democratic Alliance for the Congo Zaire Liberation". So the Alliance is a combination of political parties which were not known in the Zairean politics up to now. And, in order to finish the masquerade, Laurent-Désiré Kabila is called to come expressly to lead the armed action.
In that moment, the "rebel" military success in the zone is evident: the cities of Bukavu and Goma are just in their hands. From now, the "rebels" name is Laurent Désiré Kabila Tutsi Banyamulenge "rebels". From this moment, they have a lot of military victories taking Uvira, Bukavu, Goma, Butembo, Beni, Buni and later Watsa, Isiro, Kalemie, Kisangani, Lubumbashi and other towns. It is important to mention that, after taking Bukavu and Goma, the military councillors of Kabila open recruitment offices in Bukavu and Goma. But, to our understanding, these recruitments only lead to feed the front lines, which are multiplied day by day. Where do the officers come from then? This question can be answered by the following revelations in this report.
After all these military successes, the "rebels" are now in Kinshasa, after only six months of fight. And now they are not called Laurent-Désiré Kabila Tutsi Banyamulenge "rebels", but "Alliance Forces for the Congo-Zaire Liberation". After the capture of Kisangani, the former katangasi policemen joined the Alliance and took part in the conquest of the province of Shaba and the capture of Lubumbashi. Probably, Angolan people also took part fighting in the Zairean-Angolan frontier and they could have contributed to the taking of Kinshasa. Who are the responsible for the attacks in the East of Zaire then? Where did they come from?
3. ATTACKERS' ORIGIN AND ATTACK LINES
Any rebellion must have a base behind, in which the rebels can have formation, training and equipment. In the present case, it must be recognized that this rearguard could only be supplied by the neighbouring countries in the East of Zaire, because the rebellion was not born in Zaire.
The neighbouring countries in the east are the following: Burundi in the South, Rwanda in the centre and Uganda in the north. As it were by chance, most of the Rwandan refugee camps in the east of Zaire, objectives of the first attacks; are placed in front of the frontier with Rwanda. In South Kivu, the following camps: Kaliba, Kalehe, Muhala, Adi-Kivu, Idjwi, Inera, Kashusha, Birava, Nyantende, Nyamirangwe, Nyangezi, Chimanga, Kamanyola, Lubalika, Lugungi, Kanganiro and Kagunga. In North Kivu, the following ones: Katale, Kahindo, Kibumba, Mugunga and Green Lake.
To attack these camps, the attackers had to come from Rwanda, either they were soldiers of the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) or foreign attackers who used the Rwandan territory to come and attack the camps. In both cases Rwanda cannot avoid the responsibility for these attacks, which caused the death of hundred thousands of innocent people and forced a suicidal repatriation and suffering in the Zairean equatorial jungle.
On the other hand, concrete deeds prove that RPA are who attacked the Rwandan refugees in the east of Zaire. The agressors attacked from Rwanda following these axes:
In South Kivu:
-BUGARAMA - KAMANYOLA axis.
-CYIMBOGO - Frontier post Rusizi II - NYANGEZI - city of CYANGUGU -BUKAVU axis.
-City of KIBUYE - IDJWI axis.
In North Kivu:
-MUTURA - KABUHANGA - KIBUMBA - MUGUNGA axis.
-KINIGI - JOMBA - RUTSHURU axis.
-BISATE - Volcano Jungle - RUMANGABO - RUGALI - KAHINDO - KATALE axis.
-CYANIKA - BUNAGANA - JOMBA - RUTSHURU axis.
-BYAHI - MUNIGI - AEROPORT DE GOMA -MUGUNGA axis.
-City of GISENYI - city of GOMA - MUGUNGA axis.
All the attack axes of the refugee camps come from Rwanda, except Uvira, where the attackers came from Burundi.
4. WHO ARE REALLY THESE AGRESSORS THAT MASSACRED THE REFUGEES?
The agressors are the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) fighters. They wear their green Khaki uniform, helmet, long jacket and plastic boots; they also wear an arm-band with the inscription RPA. These combatants speak perfectly Kinyarwanda and they have been able to speak in Kinyarwanda to the refugees, above all in the camps of Katale, Kibumba and Mugunga. The Zairean military identify them as people who speak either a too complicated Kiswahili similar to that one spoken in the Eastern Africa or bad Swahili. These combatents speak little, or hardly, Lingala or French. The Zairean military inform that these combatents are tall, thin and they have a Tutsi physiognomy. In the Zairean cities they do not speak Kinyarwanda; normally they go with interpreters recruited from the Zairean population.
Moreover, these Tutsi combatents always avoid being photographed, mainly their faces, by the media. In this way, they are not recognized. During the mopping-up operations in North and South Kivu, the "rebels" were cruel without parallelism against the Hutu population, above all against the local authorities, the intellectuals and the businessmen who lived in the cities of Bukavu and Goma.
According to eye-witnesses, the mopping-up operations were performed from preestablished lists. The Zairean citizens who were in favour of the refugees were killed too.
Therefore, only the Kigali government could have led these crimes. The massacres were selective and systematic, pointing above all to the masculine elements, the intellectuals and the former military. General Kagame had an objective: to finish with the ones who opposed the RPF regime (at the end of this report there is a list of killed or missing people). It is also worth mentioning that, before the massacres, there was an organized turbulent campaign against certain influential refugees. In this way, from newspapers such as "Rwanda Rushya" or "Ingabo", they predicted the detention of certain Hutu refugees in the camps and their mutilation, enjoying in advanced and cynically their deaths, which were presented like a just punishment. In the same way, emissaries were sent abroad, especially to Kenya, to continue this campaign. This aspect shows the planning of these massacres.
The destruction of the camps in the east of Zaire gives the opportunity to certain RPF supporters, above all to Mrs. Braeckman from the Belgian newspaper "Le Soir", to say that finally war has finished in Rwanda and that the rebels corroborate the military victory of the RPF. Throughout the Rwandan tragedy, Mrs. Braeckman has written without any shades against the Hutu population. Near or far, she has cheered this tragedy in the east of Zaire.
The Kigali government tried by all means to deprive the refugees of assistance and protection since the beginning of the hostilities. Everybody can remember their position on the sending of an international human intervention force and their dilatory stratagems in order to delay the repatriation of the survivors in Kisangani. With the Kisangani scandal, the RPF government, instead of condemning the rebels, attacked (in order to save their public image) the HCR (High Commission of the United Nations for the Refugees), arguing that the latter had not managed to take the necessary steps to save the refugees. Everybody can also remember the Kigali rage in the figure war about the refugees who still remainded in Zaire after the forced repatriation of the refugees in Mugunga.
So the Kigali government have not been successful in hiding their true face. Their attitude is a normal and logical one: they could not act against their soldiers and involve the mission which had been trusted to the latter.
However, there is still a question: How did the RPA increase their troops? Thanks to this increase they could occupy at the same time a great part of Zaire. Some explanations are given in the following paragraphs to answer the question.
We must remember that the RPA combatents, above all their commandants, come from the Tutsi diaspora implanted mostly in Uganda, Zaire, Burundi and Tanzania. These combatents have been recruited, trained and formed by the president Museveni's NRA (National Resistance Army) before, during and after the conquest of the power by Museveni himself. With the outburst on the war in October 1990, Rwanda was even attacked by the Ugandan army. This situation is reinforced throughout the war and the RPA have more soldiers day by day.
The officers formations of any kind is sure in Uganda, the USA, Ethiopia and Eritrea. After July 1994, the RPA can have their own instruction and troop training centres, while the officers are still formed abroad, mainly in Uganda.
The RPA also have the American technical assistance in the training camps, engineering and military and health information. Moreover, it is said that the British Army participate in the formation of the artillery specialists.
A fact must be pointed out: most of the Tutsi diaspora come back to Rwanda after the RPF victory. They come from Uganda, Zaire, Burundi and Tanzania, where many of them had been nationalized. This movement provokes panic to the native populations, especially in Zaire, where the people must feel certain bitterness seeing that those who regarded themselves Zairean people suddenly become Rwandan people and prefer going back to Rwanda. This movement is intense, above all in North Kivu and South Kivu, where the stockbreeders go back massively to Rwanda with their cattle. The movement is so important that the Zairean Authorities are obligated to stop this cattle exodus to Rwanda. After this, there is such lack of confidence between the natives and the Rwandan speakers in general, and the Tutsi in particular, that in Masisi and the region of Rutshuru this situation leads to open hostilities between these different comunities in 1995. This situation becomes explosive in 1996 when the Zairean people start to pursue the Rwandan speakers. Many Tutsi people take shelter then in Uganda (Nyakabanda) and in Rwanda.
The Banyamulenge episode takes part later, in August-September 1996. It is the initial point of the declaration of war between Rwanda and Zaire.
This return Tutsi movement is cleverly exploted by the Kigali regime at political and media level showing this situation as the consequence of discriminatory policy against the Tutsi Zairean citizens. Without doubts, Zaire and Hutu refugees are accused of wanting to create a "hutuland" in the east of Zaire.
This media campaign of denigration led against the Zairean government is adopted by certain international media and Non-Governmental Organizations operating in the region. The wanted objective is to develop there a dynamic of trouble which is going to justify later the agression against Zaire.
It is known that young Tutsi men recruited among the displaced ones are regrouped in the training and formation centres in Kagera (Mutara), Bugesera, the south of Kigali and Bigogwe, in the west-north of the country to continue a military training. The informations show that, before the attack to the camps, the RPA have more than 50.000 men well equipped, heavily armed and with artillery equipment.
The military information service is reinforced and equipped; it takes the benefits of the experience of some military advisers from the USA. Can Rwanda create such a great army for security problems in their west frontier? Everything seems a pretext because the threat does not really exist. Later, it is shown that, in fact, the ex-RFA (Rwandan Former Army which was defeated and expelled by the RPF) have never been armed or trained in the camps. In the same way, further developments do not seem to show any sign of a ZAF (Zairean Armed Forces) training to attack Rwanda. On the contrary, the agression in the east of Zaire is for the ZAF a real surprise which explains the fast destruction of the Zairean military device with the tremendous advance of the Laurent Kabila's "rebels".
So Rwanda creates a great army not only to destroy the refugee camps in the east of Zaire, but to conquer Zaire and destroy the refugees in their exodus throught the jungle as well.
The action zone given to the RPA is precisely that one where the refugees are. This zone is comprised from the locality of Kamanyola, in front of Bugamara, in the south limit, to Bunagana-Rutshuru, in front of Cyanika-Gisoro. In their operation zone, the RPA make progress in the following axes:
In the South:
-Cyimbogo-Rusizi II-Panzi-Bukavu-Bulonge-Kamituga-Shabunda-Kalima-Kindu-Mbujimayi axis.
-Bukavu-Kashusha-Miti-Hombo-Itebero-Walikale-Tingi Tingi-Lubutu-Kisangani axis.
In the North
-Gisenyi (city)-Goma-Sake-Masisi-Tshambucha-Walikale-Tingi tingi-Lubutu-Kisangani axis.
-Bisate-Rumangabo-Ntamugenga-Kahindo-Katale-Tongo-Selva Nyiragongo-Masisi axis
It's along these lines of advance that the Hutus are being killed by the hundreds of thousands. In the same way, the Kisangani refugees haven't the slightest possibility of getting out alive according to what can be seen of them in the macabre images shown by the media. They are actually hostages of their own executioners, who will continue exterminating them while mocking the hypocritical bleeding-hearts in the international community.
It has, therefore, been clearly established that the murderers of the Ruandan refugees in eastern Zaire have been RPF soldiers. Investigators should be convinced of this and should make every effort to collect the proofs that establish the genocide of the Ruandan Hutu refugees.
To complete the picture of the attack, it's necessary to keep in mind that the Ugandans attacked from the north, passing through the city of Butembo, while at the same time in the south, in the region of Uvira, it was the Burundese army that entered into action.
Other countries have also been implicated in the Zaire conflict. This is what was reported by the BBC, citing sources in Le Soir, which reported that Ruanda, Burundi and Uganda attacked Zaire. They were reinforced by Ethiopia and Eritrea, and also by ex-gendarmes from Katanga supported by the Angolan army. Other countries, such as Zambia and Zimbabwe gave important logistical support.
5. TAKING STOCK OF THE MASSACRES
We believe that making the refugee camps a military objective, especially when these camps are organized and set up by the HRC, is in and of itself a criminal act and presents a challenge to the international community.
What's more, the massacres committed by the RPA which were reported by eye-witnesses are of a genocidal character:
- Most witnesses attest that at least 500,000 Hutus have been killed in "operations" in eastern Zaire;
- Among those repatriated by force, some sources reveal that at least 70,000 people have been imprisoned, and this after the killing of other tens of thousands. And this situation will continue.
Therefore, in Ruanda there is a prison population of more than 200,000 people. Once one is aware of the prison conditions and the injustice of the Ruandan courts, the only conclusion possible is that these detentions will result in death.
The situation of the Kisangani is dramatic. The survivors, who numbered 100,000, have been reduced by killing to a mere 30.000, of whom only 6.000 have been transported to Kigali. For the others, there is only uncertainty, because they continue to be slaughtered. Many die from guns and machetes; others from sickness and hunger. Meanwhile the NGOs use the "rebels" to take their prisoners from the jungle in exchange for dollars and at the same time these same rebels' main goal is to murder them systematically. How many are really left? And in what conditions? The death of a hundred refugees by suffocation in a train that was taking them to a disembarkation point sufficiently demonstrates the terrible conditions in which they find themselves. What's more, only show women, children and old people are shown. Young men are systematically killed.
6. WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THESE CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY?
Without wishing to interfere in the task of the investigators designated by the UN to shed light on these crimes against humanity in general and against the Ruandese Hutus in particular, we must, nevertheless, again express our profound indignation about this human drama. We therefore emphatically denounce:
1. The international community.
For not having helped those in danger, nor for having formally condemned the attackers for making refugee camps a military target.
2. Mr Kabila.
But is Mr Kabila really responsible? As we mentioned earlier, the attack on the camps was prepared and organized by the RPF government. We also mentioned that, at the beginning of the agression, the rebels' spokeman is a Tutsi man in Bujumbura and in Kigali. Mr Kabila entered the scene on the eve of the fall of Bukavu. Was he really involved in the initial planning for the destruction of the camps? We believe he was recruited at a later date at first for tactical reasons so as to hide the identity of the real attackers, and then to give credibility to the virtual Alliance, to which many opportunistic dissenters were adhering in the wake of the advance.
One might also wonder whether Mr Kabila exercises any real authority over these "rebels", since most witnesses affirm that he receives his orders from elsewhere, most notably Kigali and Kampala. As far as the Ruandan refugees are concerned, this can only be an affair of the RPF government, even if it forms part of a secret agenda.
However, all these extenuating circumstances don't relieve Mr Kabila of his political responsibilities nor the international accords which he is bound to respect, especially concerning human rights.
As for the RPF, it is now perfectly clear that it organized the genocide of the Hutu refugees, because the attacks were carried out from Ruanda by APR soldiers.
Systematic massacres have been carried out both in the camps and on the roads the refugees have used to escape. At the present time, survivors are being mercilessly killed by RPA soldiers around Kisangi, in spite of international criticism.
The massacres are commited carefully, without leaving any marks which could be used as proofs: communal graves are placed in discreet spots; corpses are buried at night and often far away from where the massacres took place. Near the frontier, the bodies have been carried by convoys to Rwanda and Uganda using the Bunagana way. Therefore, it must be noted that the RPF are really interested in banning the foreign media and the NGOs from having acces to the "death zones", called abusively "operation zones". This same tactic is used in the interior of Rwanda, where many people are missed and killed by members of the APR. In relation to this, the area of Akagera, in the National Park, has been decreed zone of no access and no overflying for a long time.
Therefore, the premise that all the Ruandan refugees in eastern Zaire have returned to Ruanda, protected by Kigali, is a ploy to prevent the international community from intervening in favor of the numerous refugees wandering in the jungle, at the mercy of RPA soldiers, sickness and hunger. This intervention hasn't yet been brought to term. After the discovery of the refugees in Kisangani, the RPF government doubled its delaying tactics to prevent both their repatriation and the NGO's efforts to help them.
The RPA wants to destroy these refugees, and the RPF is closely monitoring the level of condemnation from the international community. The RPF most likely assumes this condemnation is weak and, at most, verbal. The RPA considers itself immune to international criticism and isn't likely to stop its atrocities.
This certainty of immunity strengthens their arrogance and the arrogance of their allies, above all the western ones. In fact, during the war in October 1990 the international community gave support to the RPF, who imposed the war to the Rwandan people. The international community was also passive in relation to the atrocities commited by the RPA among the civil population from October 1990 to April 1994. This situation provoked an exodus of a million of inhabitants escaping from the zones under their control.
On 6th April 1994, the FPR assassinated President Juvenal Habyarimana from Rwanda, Cyprien Ntaryamira from Burundi and their supporters with the indifference of the international community. Moreover, the Arusha Peace Agreements, which were negotiated laboriusly by the protagonists, were violated immunely by the RPF, who took up again the hostilities in every front and in the city of Kigali. This action provoked panic and chaos which led to inter-ethnic massacres in the whole territory. The international community did not intervene, despite a resolution in which it was decided to send 5.000 soldiers to Rwanda in order to stop the massacres. But this force was not sent. The U.N. concluded, precipitately, that there had been a genocide against the Tutsi and the "moderate Hutu" people, ignoring that the cruel and ethnic war imposed to Rwanda had polarized the Rwandan community. Once again, the ancient troubles between Hutu and Tutsi people were aroused. President Habyarimana, who had been the union point between them, has just been assassinated. In order to finish the tragedy, in May 1994 the Security Council of the U.N. voted a resolution which affected the Rwandan government with a military embargo. So the Rwandan government could not defend their citizens. The rest of the history of the conflict is already known.
Will this same international community have the courage to do justice to the Rwandan people recognizing the responsability of the RPF and the Kigali government for the massacres in the east of Zaire? We hope so. Otherwise it will not be fair. International consciousness is implored intensely and we encourage people like Mrs. Emma Bonino, European High Commisioner for Humanitarian Action, to continue demanding the responsibilities of the U.N. for the tragedy of the Rwandan refugees.
The RPA is guilty of the extermination of Ruandan refugees. These massacres must not be thought of as mere isolated acts of revenge, but as a well-ordered, systematic effort at genocide.
The massacres have been selective: they have been carried out according to lists compiled in advance by the RPA. They have been carried out particularly against men, intellectuals and business people.
At the end of this document, we give a list of well-known people assassinated in these massacres. The tactics now being used are remarkably similar to those used in the "Ruandan October": murder, the traces of which are removed, and denial of access to the killing zone.
During their long exile, the refugees have been subject to constant harassment. They are deprived of their most basic rights, such as the education of their children. The camps under control of the HRC are attacked, people are killed, others are forced to return, others die wandering, and all this without arousing the least bit of indignation from the international community, which barely dares to raise its voice timidly over the horrors of Kisangani.
Everything seems to indicate, therefore, that if this tendency continues, the Ruandan people will be exterminated without the international community's having lifted its voice. We think the international community must stop collaborating with the RPF and commit itself to following a course that will help what is left of the Ruandan community to live in peace.
In order to reveal the truth, investigators must be protected by a neutral international force.
It is absolutely urgent that a census be taken of those Ruandese who have survived the massacres.
It is significant that Gen. Paul Kagame is beginning to question the census of the Ruandan people taken in 1991, even though it was conducted under the auspices of the UN. Apparently he is anticipating that a new census will reveal the alarming loss of population for which he himself is responsible. In fact, the ideologues of the RPF consider that, in order to do away with the popular majority, it will be necessary to reduce the Hutu population as much as possible before the Kigali bosses will allow free democratic elections. To prevent continued killings, the international community should take all necessary measures to conduct this census as soon as possible.
SUPLEMENT: Some personalities who were kidnapped or killed by RPF soldiers.
1. KIDNAPEDD OR MISSING PEOPLE:
1.1 Sr. Habamenshi Innocent and his family, ex-minister.
1.2 Sr. Niyitegeka Eliezer and his family, ex-minister.
1.3 Sr. Nteziryayo Simeon, ex-minister.
1.4 Sr. Hategekimana Jean Damascene and his family, ex-minister.
1.5 Sr. Murego Donat and his family, MDR's executive secretary.
1.6 Sr. Temahagari Justin and his family, ex-ambassador.
1.7 Coronel Buregeya Bonaventure, retired officer.
1.8 Major Mageza Desire, retired officer, ex-head of the protocol of the Republic's presidency.
1.9 Hitimana Laurent, vice-president of RDR.
1.10 Karera Agustin, councillor of C.E. of RDR.
1.11 Família Munyampundu, ex-member of Parliament.
2. KILLED PEOPLE:
2.1 Mr. Kayogora Frederic and his family, ex-minister.
2.2 Mr. Nzabonimana Callixte and his family, ex-minister.
2.3 Mr. Nubahumpatse, ex-reporter for Radio Rwanda.
2.4 Mr. Uwisunze Raphael, office of the BRALIRWA.
2.5 Priest Hategekimana Antoine
2.6 Priest Kabalira Martin
2.7 Priest Munyakazi Emmanuel