Source: The NewsLine
►Secret killing grounds in Nyungwe and Kami
►How RPA senior officers Col. Augustine Kiiza and Major Alex Ruzindana were assassinated
►How Kagame ordered Hutu mass murder and blamed the insurgents
►How Spanish religious leaders were killed
President Paul Kagame made international headlines as a mass murderer after the UN report accused his forces of Hutu mass massacres in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
And some of his former officers including Col. Patrick Karegeya and Major Alphonse Furuma have recently accused him of mass killings during the 1990-94 war, and for assassinating opposition politicians abroad. But the world has more to learn. Now, in an exclusive interview with The Newsline’s Charles Kabonero and Didas Gasana, Lt. Aloys Ruyenzi, a former RPA officer and close bodyguard of Kagame reveals the untold and horrendous story of Kagame’s secret killing grounds, torture chambers, and the systematic killings of critics.
By newsline Team
"The killing fields were established immediately after the RPA took power in Rwanda. It is run by the dreaded Directorate of Military Intelligence," the soft spoken officer calmly explains. "Victims are both soldiers and civilians whose death warrants have been signed by President Kagame. The victims are killed using bayonets, fire (burning them alive) and shooting for those trying to resist or escape," he adds.
"The killing field is ever busy, receiving its victims from all over Rwanda, and elsewhere," Lt Ruyenzi, who says he was privy to operations of the RPA, says and adds: "The killing fields are tightly guarded by about a platoon of DMI commandos and Kagame’s Republican Guard commandos. The ordinary soldiers (men) are burnt with their uniforms on and the officers are burnt with their pips on. The victims arrive at the place with their hands in cuffs and their feet shackled, he says and claims that Kagame practically supervises activities at the murder spots.
"Kagame regularly visits these killing fields to inspect their efficiency," he claims and adds that for instance, that in 1998, escorted by Jack Nziza (then Director of the DMI), Kagame visited Nyungwe killing spot, then under command of a one ‘Captain Fred’.
According to Ruyenzi, Nyungwe killing field is between Gikongoro- Cyangugu towns, on a hill located about three kilometers inside the forest.
He says that there are three categories of victims killed at the spot, among them, members of the former army (Ex-FAR) like Col. Augustin Kiiza, the Interahamwe and former refugees from DRC and critics of Kagame’s regime like former RPA officer Major Alex Ruzindana.
Ruyenzi says those who direct the killings include Brig. Gen. Jack Nziza, Col. Ephraim Rurangwa, Capt. Francis Mutiganda, Capt. Joseph Nzitatira, Capt. Batamuriza, 2Lt. Gilbert, W01 Abbas, (who was later killed) and Lt. Julien Rwangarambe.
Signals used to announce victims
Vehicles carrying category A (Ex FAR, Interahamwe and former refugees from DRC put on right hand indicators, as they approach roadblocks (three of them) to the killing field.
Those transporting category B victims (dissidents) put on left-hand indicators, as they approach roadblocks to the killing field whereas vehicles carrying category C Victims (the high level personnel) put on no indicators as they arrive
"There are three road blocks," the former officer explains.
The first one has 12 soldiers comprising staff from the Directorate of Military Intelligence and the Republican Guards. On receiving vehicles bringing in victims, he says, the soldiers communicate to their colleagues at the road blocks ahead, giving details about the category of victim coming in.
The second has 12 soldiers, in two lines. Line one with 5 soldiers and line two, five meters behind the first one, has seven soldiers.
"Each soldier has a bayonet and two pistols to kill the victims. Line two is supposed to reinforce line one in case of any resistance and the pistols are used to reinforce the bayonets in case of any problem," Ruyenzi claims.
The third roadblock, he says, is the ‘burning site’ where dead bodies are destroyed by fire, using petrol.
"After the bodies are burnt, the ash is left to cool and is carried in gunny bags, loaded into a container on a lorry- a blue Mercedes Benz 1924, whose plate numbers are occasionally changed from GR and IT (and vice versa)," Lt. Ruyenzi says.
The GR…and IT… number plates belong officially to government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), respectively.
After that, Lt. Ruyenzi says the lorry transports ash from the ‘cremated’ bodies to the heavily-guarded (by DMI operatives) Ruriba brick factory in Kigali city, where the ashes are emptied into the river Nyabarongo and the empty bags are kept to perform the next task.
The exiled officer says those doing the killing, collection and disposal of the ashes, are exclusively Tutsi, and are from Congo or Burundi. They are highly vetted.
In 1998, during the ‘war against insurgency’ in the DRCongo, many people from all over Rwanda were brought to the Nyungwe killing field in 30 minibuses and 10 pick-ups which had been ordered and bought for the express purpose of transporting RPA’s victims both in Rwanda and elsewhere, to their death at Nyungwe killing field, Lt. Ruyenzi alleges.
"They were ‘collected’ and ‘sorted’ according to the crime and category at Kami prison torture chambers, and later shackled and loaded onto minibuses, and escorted by pick-ups to Nyungwe killing field, where they were burnt alive to death using petrol," the former officer said.
Ruyenzi says when 7th battalion was deployed in areas of Rushashi, Tare, Mbogo and Rurindo in 1998, the Director of Schools at Rwankuba, the Bourgmestre and the Agriculture Officer of Commune Rushashi were murdered on the same night at Nyungwe killing ground by government operatives.
Ruyenzi, who said he didn’t recall the names of the deceased, further claimed that the RPF/A hurriedly blamed their death on Interahamwe insurgents.
"Accusing the insurgents for death of people was Kagame’s trademark, and a strong public relations point. In the same year (1998), Kagame’s operatives killed civilians who were watching the World Cup tournament in the hotel called Pensz-Y, and again blamed their death on insurgency," Ruyenzi claims.
Killing of religious leaders
Hutus, critics and Interahamwe were not the only victims of Kagame’s killer squad, according to the former officer. Religious leaders were also targeted.
He says prominent killings of religious leaders were carried out at Rwesero Seminary claiming the lives of seven Catholic priests who had taken refugee there.
"Kagame personally oversaw the execution of their killings," Ruyenzi claims, before adding that on June 5, 1994 Kagame ordered the killing of three Catholic Bishops and other religious leaders at Kabgayi.
Ruyenzi says the157th Battalion then under the command of Fred Ibingira (now a Major General) was responsible for their death.
"The Battalion’s Intelligence Officer Wilson Gumisiriza (now a Brigadier) gave orders to then Sergeant Kwitegetse alias Burakari to command a section of soldiers which killed them," he says.
He further asserts: "The Spanish Fr. Vallmajo was also killed in Byumba with other three Rwandan priests in April 1994 by DMI under the supervision of by then Lt. Col Jackson Rwahama, while Fr. Claude Simard from Canada was killed on October 17, 1994 by the RPA under Kagame’s orders."
He adds: "Three Spanish employees of MEDICOS del MUNDO were also killed on January 18, 1997 in Ruhengeri by officers of the DMI namely: 2Lt. Evarist Karenzi, an intelligence officer of Gendarmerie in Ruhengeri and Capt. Majyambere Matayo, an Intelligence Officer of 408 Brigade in Ruhengeri."
On 2nd February 1997, Fr. Guy Pinard from Canada and Fr. Curick Vjechoslav of Croatia were also killed, while Fr. Deschamp from Canada was killed in Kigali in1998, Lt Ruyenzi claims. RDF spokesman, Lt. Col Jill Rutaremara would not pick our repeated phone calls to react to this damning story.
Who is Lt. Ruyenzi?
Lt. Aloys Ruyenzi was born in March 1, 1971 in Mbarara- Uganda, after his parents fled the persecution of Tutsi in Rwanda. In 1987, he joined the National Resistance Army one year after it captured state power in Uganda.
He told The Newsline that after military training and a six month intelligence course, he was posted to the 23rd battalion then based in northern Uganda.
"In 1989, I was called back at the Directorate of Military Intelligence headquarters to undertake another intelligence course called ‘intelligence and self defense’," Ruyenzi says.
Ruyenzi says he was among the first batch of RPA fighters that invaded Rwanda in October 1990. "I was in 4th battalion commanded by Captain (RIP) Bitamazire," He says and adds that in 1992 he was deployed to the High Command’s Missile Unit and later deployed under President Kagame’s close bodyguards as an Intelligence Officer.
After RPA took over in 1994, he says he was sent to Uganda for another six months course called ‘Intelligence and VIP Protection’.
In 1995 after the course, he resumed duty as an Intelligence Officer and close bodyguard to President Paul Kagame.
"In 1996, I was sent to DRC (Congo) on a special assignment," he says, but would not divulge the details.
He says he was later posted to Ruhengeri and Gisenyi "to follow and give detailed account of all military operations taking place then", against insurgents.
In June 1998, he claims he was accused of releasing Interahamwe militia in Nkamira, Gisenyi, leading to his woes with the Kigali government and subsequent arrest and detention in Kibungo Military Prison on June 8, 1999. He, however, brushes off the charges with bursting vitality, saying they are mere fabrications.
"In December 1999, I was released without charges and allowed to resume my duties as an escort/bodyguard to Paul Kagame," Ruyenzi says and adds that in 2004 he fled the country and has since obtained asylum in Norway. He was not comfortable discussing the reasons why he had to flee.
Editor’s note: In our next edition The Newsline will publish the officer’s narratives regarding a number of RPA officers assassinated on orders of President Kagame, including Members of the High Command Muvunanyambo and Col. Charles Ngoga, and dissident politicians - deaths that still remain a mystery in Rwanda
Lt. Aloys Ruyenzi is a former Rwanda Defence Forces officer who claims he was among the first batch of RPA soldiers who attacked Rwanda in 1990.
And to Ruyenzi, news of the recently released UN report implicating the Rwandan soldiers in probable acts of genocide and mass murder in DRC make no news. He says the crimes in the report have been exposed time and again by different researchers but hastens to add that what most people don’t know is that President Kagame operates horrendous killing fields in Nyungwe Natural Forest and Kami, a secret military detention facility.