Major General Paul Kagame behind
the shooting down of late Habyarimana's plane: an eye witness
2nd Lt Aloys Ruyenzi
I have been keenly following talks on
allegations of crimes committed by Paul Kagame, leader of Rwanda,
and his attempts, against all odds, to deny them. I deem it necessary
to inform Rwandans and the international community at large of
the crimes I witnessed in the hope that he would stop deceiving
people. It took quite a long time before I decided to make public
this statement because I was in Uganda, where Kagame has a lot
of covert agents who would have eliminated me. I know him very
well because I worked with him in the Rwandese Patriotic Army
since its creation. More so, I served in his escort for nearly
10 years, until I fled the country.
My name is Aloys Ruyenzi, I was born on
1st March 1971 in Mbarara, Uganda of Rwandan refugee parents.
I grew up in Uganda and I joined the National Resistance Army
of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in 1987. I had a six-month
course in Basic Military Training, after which I attended a six-month
course in military intelligence. After the training, I was posted
in the 23rd battalion based in northern Uganda, as intelligence
staff. A year later, I was called back to Kampala and posted at
the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI), where Kagame was
a senior officer. While in DMI, I was selected for another course
called "the Intelligence and Self-Defence". When I fled
the country, I was working in the Republican Guard, an RPA (Rwanda
Patriotic Army) special unit that provides elements for the Presidential
Protection Unit. I was Second Lieutenant and my army number was
I joined RPA since its creation
When the Rwandan Patriotic Front attacked
Rwanda on 1st October 1990, I was among the fighters. First I
was with the 4th battalion operating in the Akagera National Park,
until we were pushed back to Uganda and started guerrilla warfare.
I then joined the then LIMA Combined Mobile Force, from where
I eventually joined the High Command Unit. This is equivalent
to army headquarters in a regular army. However unlike the latter
the unit's main duty was to escort Major Kagame, then RPA boss.
I first was in the missile unit, before being appointed in the
escort of Kagame.
When I joined the escort, I resumed my
duties as intelligence officer. I would be most of the time close
to Kagame as a member of the close bodyguards' team. In this capacity,
I hardly missed any detail of what he would say or instruct to
be done. Hence, my testimony is not a piece of hearsays, but a
testimony of an eyewitness.
After the take over of government by RPF,
I once again attended courses in military intelligence and Protection
of VIPs. I took up duties as a presidential bodyguard. When the
invasion of Zaire started, I was sent there as one of the confidants
of Kagame to follow and give detailed account of any military
operation that took place. This was in a bid to make sure that
he did not miss any detail by sending his own escorts. The crimes
that I witnessed there are so much that I cannot detail them here.
I was there on special assignment as member of the Republican
Guards unit. I will do it in a different paper once I have time.
What I can simply say for the time being is that a lot of crimes
that were committed by the RPA were ordered by Kagame.
People were killed on a very large scale
on orders of Kagame and officers who did not carry out orders
to kill were either relieved of their duties or disappeared. Kagame
does not tolerate anybody disobeying his orders. Similarly, during
the time the RPA was fighting the so-called "infiltrators"
in northern Rwanda in Ruhengeri and Gisenyi, many unarmed Hutu
civilians were killed in what looked like a true ethnic cleansing.
I opposed those atrocities, until I was labelled as an enemy collaborator.
Reasons for fleeing the country I love
so much and I fought for
As I said earlier, I joined and served
RPA since its creation. When I joined it, I sincerely believed
that I was struggling to end injustice towards our brothers, our
parents and our motherland, and eventually to return home. In
any case, this is what we were told. I never envisaged that our
return would lead to killings and expulsion of the population
we found inside the country. To my dismay, I realised that our
leader and current President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame had a hidden
agenda. To make matters worse, he would not tolerate any dissenting
voice and opposing his orders could even lead to disappearance.
I had the misfortune of working in his
escort, where the climate is abominable. There is a permanent
climate of terror and mistrust, as everybody spies on everybody
else. I was intelligence officer, but I knew very well that I
was myself being spied on.
The intelligence officers do not carry
out ordinary military intelligence work they are paid for. They
are a squad of criminals that was set up by Kagame for his own
ends. Its sole mission is killings opponents and other unwanted
elements, so as to consolidate his murderous regime. It is therefore
very difficult to work with him, more so as intelligence officer
without adhering to his criminal policies. My aim now is that
before I am eliminated I want make public a list of assassinations
ordered personally by Kagame. The list is indeed very long.
I defected because I was realising that
we were becoming a gang of killers. I could not stomach that situation
which was contrary to what we fought for, that it is fighting
for restoring a rule of law.
But it took time before I could flee for
fear of being arrested and killed as a deserter. I feared being
killed by the butt of a used hoe agafuni. The latter is the acronym
given to the part of a hoe that RPA used to smash heads of people
condemned to death. It is very sad that I kept on working deliberately
with a man whose criminal records are so horrendous.
The opposition to atrocities planned and
ordered by Kagame landed me in trouble as this was considered
as tantamount to treason. In fact I was being suspected of possible
treasonable acts. I was eventually trailed and attempts were made
over my life. I was by now labelled as one of the so-called "negative
forces". This was a label given to Interahamwe militia living
in Zaire. I was even accused of having released Interahamwe in
Nkamira-Gisenyi and put under arrest. This was mere fabrication.
Not only there is no Interahamwe prison there, but also I never
released anybody with evidence that he was involved in killings.
There is no way I could show mercy to such people. I will emphasize
here that I do not refer to those innocent Hutus who were labelled
Interahamwe because simply by virtue of being Hutus.
By the time I worked with the Gendarmerie,
people who were detained there were suspected of common law crimes
mostly related to land and cattle disputes. I was unfairly arrested
on 8th June 1999. Those who arrested me eventually got ashamed
and I was released and allowed to resume my duties in the escort
My escape from many traps
After allegations of conniving with the
enemy were levelled against me simply because I did not support
killings innocent people, attempts were made to get rid of me
in ambushes. The first time I survived an ambush was in Gisenyi
on my way to Kabaya thanks to a friend who had warned me. It was
on 13th April 1999.
I did also escape narrowly a second attempt
on my life, but my escort perished. One was called James Kabera,
a private soldier, the other one was Hodari, a Mugogwe (a local
ethnic Tutsi group of Gisenyi). It was on 15th May 2001. I was
again going to Gisenyi on special assignment. I was ambushed in
the mountains of Buranga in Ruhengeri. This time around, I had
not been warned at all, as I could not imagine that I could be
ambushed while on such a mission. I did not understand why I had
been selected for the mission but even if I had known, I could
not refuse the order. A vehicle trailed me right from Kigali and
kept on indicating my position. The Toyota Land cruiser vehicle
that I was in was sprayed with bullets and two of my escort were
killed on the spot. I don't know how I survived.
The last attempt on my life was on 18th
November 2001. This had been assigned to two groups to ensure
that I don't escape anymore. One of the people involved felt bad
and told me to flee, as he did not have any quarrel with me. The
same day I fled to Uganda.
I was first kept under tight surveillance,
under CMI (Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence) custody purportedly
for my own security. When they gathered enough information and
confirmed that I was a genuine asylum seeker, I was allowed to
go out and look for shelter. I realised that I could not remain
in Uganda, as Rwandan intelligence services there are even more
active that Ugandan own services. Many Rwandan asylum seekers
were picked there and sneaked back to Rwanda where they were tortured
and killed. This is why I decided to go far from Rwanda in my
quest for asylum. I am now in a place where I can denounce the
atrocities committed by General Paul Kagame and his henchmen.
I insisted on giving all these details in order to explain the
difficulties faced by an RPA soldier who does not support what
Kagame wants. I am hoping that slowly by slowly, the tendency
of considering all Tutsi officers as killers will vanish in the
minds of many people.
General Kagame did a lot of atrocities,
he must answer for them
General Kagame is of quite a very bad
character. He is extremely nervous, so much so that at time he
can crash everything on his way and ransack a whole house. He
does not tolerate any dissenting voice, what he says is gospel
truth. I worked with him for a long time. He does not tolerate
any advice and is trigger-happy. Once one of his close allies
simply tells him that you are suspected of disloyalty, this is
enough to warrant your death.
Kagame can spend a whole month without
smiling. He can spend sleepless night abusing people and roughing
them up. He does not spare anybody, he beats people at random.
Anybody summoned at his home starts shaking excepts henchmen like
Major general James Kabarebe. Other officers up to the rank of
colonel like Ndugutse could be beaten to our disgust. He is a
bloodthirsty person. When I worked with him, he would go very
early in the morning to visit detention places of DMI to sometime
supervise killing. I recall once in Muhura when we were fighting
to capture Kigali, he personally went on a 12.7mm AAC (anti air
craft) mounted on a jeep of his escort and sprayed bullets on
a peaceful market crowd of peasants gathered on a market place.
It was in 1994. He then ordered his soldiers to use all available
weapons and shell the market. It is very saddening to see a leader
getting involved in massacring people in a market, while sarcastically
laughing. The few times you will ever see him smiling is mainly
when he is killing or seeing people killed.
20. General Paul Kagame supervises the
smallest detail of everything going on in the army. He even follows
conversations between soldiers on military patrols on their walkie-talkie
Every morning, he summons his signal officer
and reads through all operations and routine army messages, to
make sure that he does not miss anything. He uses to short circuit
his military commanding officers by giving direct orders to field
commanders without passing through the chain of command. Here
I simply want to stress that there is nothing he can pretend to
ignore. Nothing can take place within RPA without his knowledge.
Apart from very isolated incidents carried out by petty criminals,
all atrocities committed by the army in operational areas are
sanctioned by him. The officers detained for so-called operational
blunders are in actual facts detained because they did not kill
the way he wants. They are not in remand for killing civilians,
but for not concealing their bodies. For him that is a crime.
The one who manages to kill the maximum and clear all the evidence
will surely be promoted.
Major general Paul Kagame manages Rwandan
army as his own militiamen. The whole army has become a wide intelligence
network. When there are officially 5 intelligence officers, you
can rest assured that there are another 20 under cover. There
is no clear chain of command in the intelligence network, everybody
spies on everybody else and reports to Major General Paul Kagame
in person. Kagame is a very rough and security cautious person.
He has got a network of criminals who are by this virtue untouchable.
They are ready to carry out any dirty mission that Kagame assigns
them. Those people are so deadly that nobody dares flee the country
because they may be tracked anywhere and be killed. Kagame does
not fear anybody. He does not care even about his health. He sleeps
at 2.30 am and wakes up at 4.00 am. He does what he wants, when
he wants. He is very stubborn and arrogant. He does not hesitate
to call his entourage stupid people because he thinks that he
is the cleverest man. He does not trust anybody and is very unpredictable.
B. Some of the crimes he committed
Major general Paul Kagame personally ordered
the shooting down of President Juvénal Habyarimana's plane.
I got astonished when I heard him denying
it. I equally got surprised by Rwandan Radio and some international
media manoeuvre to absolve him of that act. I heard even civilian
people like Minister Charles Muligande, trying to explain how
militarily it was impossible.
25. Let me make it crystal clear, I attended
the last meeting where the plan was hatched. I was there physically
and I even know the names of those who carried out the shooting.
I was working with them in the High Command unit. It is Lt Frank
Nziza and cpl Eric Hakizimana.
It is not hearsays; I was present when
the meeting took place. That was on 31st March 1994 from 2.30pm
to 3.30pm.The Chairman of the meeting was Major general Paul Kagame,
and the following officers were present: Col Kayumba Nyamwasa,
Col Théoneste Lizinde, Lt Col James Kabarebe, Major Jacob
Tumwine, Captain Charles Karamba. I heard P. Kagame asking Col.
Lizinde to report about his investigations and I have seen Col
Lizinde giving to Paul Kagame a map of the selected place for
the plane shooting etc. I don't want to jeopardise the investigation,
because I would be playing around with criminals who would take
the opportunity to prepare their defence. But I simply want to
say that I am ready to give evidence in court, should my testimony
be needed. I would then say the whole truth, if I were still alive.
C. Major general Paul Kagame gave
orders to kill civilians.
He ordered at numerous occasions to kill
as many civilians as possible. This took place in many areas in
Byumba, Ruhengeri and elsewhere, and long before the Tutsi genocide.
I say so because some people think that RPA killed in reprisal
after the genocide. Even during the genocide, I saw and heard
on several occasions major general Paul Kagame giving orders to
kill civilians, especially in Mutara, Byumba and Kibungo. He would
enjoy it like a football fan watching a football game and cheering
his team. At time, he even used his escort or selected DMI operatives
to kill civilians.
28. Before the plan to get rid of Juvénal
Habyarimana was hatched, meeting had been going on to prepare
the final assault on Kigali. This had been the ultimate goal whatever
the outcome of the negotiations. At that time, I was acting I.O
for then Lt Silas Udahemuka (currently strong man in Kigali),
who had got involved in an accident. In this capacity, I could
attend all the meetings of the High Command. In one of the meetings,
major general Paul Kagame ordered that civilians be lured into
attending a public rally under the pretext of emergency food supply
or security meetings, in order to round them up and eliminate
them. And this happened the way it had been planned. The reality
is that mass killings of people took place under his orders. Furthermore,
he had a special hatred against religious people. Whenever the
latter would be spotted and rounded up, local commanders would
always ask major General Kagame what to do. Invariably, he ordered
for their killings. I am even aware of the talks he had with Lieutenant
colonel Fred Ibingira before the bishops were killed in Kabgayi.
Similar incidents happened in Rwesero. The execution squad took
the priests to Karushya and killed them.
D. The sparking off of the Tutsi
genocide. I was in charge of collecting and analysing intelligence
from our sources inside Rwanda.
All the reports were unanimously stating
that Tutsi would be wiped out if the war resumed. Any pretext
would be enough to kick off the killings. Major general Paul Kagame
did not care at all about those threats. Recently, when one of
former RPA officers who deserted and fled the country said that
RPA was to blame for the killing of Tutsi, Rwandan foreign affairs
minister, Charles Muligande attempted against all odds to refute
it. Why does he so pathetically tell lies? It will suffice to
recall that Kagame himself used to say that Tutsi living inside
Rwanda were opportunists and reactionary elements that had refused
to flee. Their death was none of his concerns. In fact, all the
forces that were used to kill innocent civilians in liberated
areas would have been used to rescue Tutsi. This did not happen.
God willing, I will, jointly with other colleagues, compile a
comprehensive report about ethnic cleansing that was ordered by
Kagame. At times, he did it personally. I saw him personally instructing
for the digging of mass graves for people who had been massacred
in Byumba, Muhura and Murambi. Later, he ordered their removal
and to be taken to crematory centres in Gabiro, Nasho, Masaka,
Nyungwe, Kami, Gitarama military barracks and Mukamira. At times,
people would be packed alive into lorries and be taken directly
to the above place to be executed on the spot.
Apart from the war of 1990-1994, he launched
two bloody wars in Zaire and is still disturbing that country.
Major general Paul Kagame also instructed
his officers and men led by then Col Kayumba Nyamwasa to massacre
civilians in Ruhengeri and Gisenyi. I saw personally heavy artillery
pieces and helicopter gunship shelling villages under the excuse
of fighting insurgency. At time, no single infiltrators would
have set foot there, or they may have been there but left long
before the counterattack. People would be summarily executed after
long suffering by torture.
32. He did not spare his own tribes mates
Tutsi. Bagogwe and Banyamulenge of Zaire were killed to safeguard
his own selfish interests. It is not easy to find the right wording,
but what he did is indescribable. He killed so many Congolese
of Rwandan origin, Hutu and Tutsi alike. This will also be detailed
later. We were Inkotanyi-members of RPA, we know all the elements
who were misguided into getting involved in crimes. People should
be assured that soon or later, all crimes that took place on the
Rwandan soil will be accounted for. It will serve as a lesson
for many, for one may conceal a crime, but the crime does not
33. I take this opportunity to call upon
all Rwandan fighting the general Kagame's regime, to avoid getting
involved in any activities that would lead to shedding the blood
of innocent people. Kagame concealed his crimes for nearly 10
years, but time has come to expose him. All criminals will end
up being taken to court to answer for their deeds. Why do they
take the risk of being arrested one day and spend the rest of
their lives in prison?
E. The refusal to rescue Tutsi in 1994
34. I cannot forget the pain that general
Kagame inflicted to Rwandan of Tutsi ethnic group, his own tribe
mates. Some were even killed on his orders. Others were deliberately
left at the mercy of Interahamwe. He made sure that nobody comes
to their rescue. Up-to-date, he is still pursuing his policy by
repeating in Congo what he did in Rwanda. Why is he busy creating
hatred between Banyamulenge minority and the rest of the Congolese
population? Is it for the interest of Tutsis? Even in Rwanda,
he does not spare anything to exacerbate tension between ethnic
groups, by his policy of forced reconciliation. What he does will
inevitably lead to a new wave of ethnic conflict and Tutsi will
again be the main victims. I hereby condemn it publicly, I urge
him to stop forthwith killing us, causing us to be killed and
using us as political springboard. I urge him to leave our country
and the region in peace. As I promised, with the help of courageous
colleagues who managed to flee his death squads, we shall compile
a comprehensive report of all atrocities General Paul Kagame was
involved in. I deliberately refrained from talking about politics.
I leave it to others more competent to denounce his dictatorship.
I know very well that people will ask
themselves why a Tutsi who came from Uganda for that matter can
leak such secrets, as people think that all former Ugandan refugees
are all in good books with the regime of general Kagame.
For me, I am not leaking secrets, I am
denouncing crimes. There are many people who are longing to do
so, but who cannot because they don't have the opportunity. For
to say such thing inside Rwanda or anywhere in Africa would put
somebody's life in great danger. I spoke out because I have a
chance of being in a country where I feel safe. I don't rule out
reprisals against my family left in Rwanda, but I am doing it
anyway to avoid more suffering for all Rwandans. My prayer is
that the international community at long last takes the opportunity
to put an end to its support to general Kagame's regime, which
is decimating people under the pretext of protecting Tutsi. Everything
is done for his own interest.
2nd Lt Aloys RUYENZI