How RPF soldiers rescued me

Editor, I wish to react to the story, “Karasira: UN peacekeepers’ forsaking condemned us to die” (The New Times, April 10).
Young actors perform the ‘Shadows of Memory’ a skit depicting the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and how the RPF liberators stopped the killings. File
Young actors perform the ‘Shadows of Memory’ a skit depicting the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and how the RPF liberators stopped the killings. File

Editor,

I wish to react to the story, “Karasira: UN peacekeepers’ forsaking condemned us to die” (The New Times, April 10).

First of all, I want to empathise with Venuste Karasira, and all the thousands of survivors who had to endure horrible experiences during the Genocide against the Tutsi. I also solemnly honour the memory of the victims who are no longer with us.

My story is different from Karasira’s. Ever since the Genocide started, RPA troops fought the genocidal militia (I call them militia because they shouldn’t in any way be qualified as soldiers) in fierce battles until the former captured Mont Rebero in a matter of days.

Then I was a teenager living in Nyamirambo with my family. We witnessed the fighting (between the militia and RPA troops) from a remote distance but could clearly see that the genocidal bandits were losing ground.

That’s how Rebero, a hill overlooking Mumena village where I was living, fell to the gallant forces of RPA.

After they captured the hill, RPA soldiers would sneak into the village every night, shoot in the air to ward off the militia, move door to door rescuing the terrified occupants.  

If they rescued a person tonight, that person would accompany them the following night to show them homes of Tutsis in the area until nearly everyone was evacuated to safety.

It wasn’t only that: during the day, they also prevented Interahamwe from reaching Mumena. I also vividly remember the fall of Mumena. It happened at night but total victory came at dawn. At around 6a.m, a few RPA soldiers knocked on our door and we opened.

Their leader asked us whether we wanted to be evacuated immediately or if we preferred to wait till in the evening, and we chose the latter.

They assigned one soldier to stay with us. He was a young man. He came to our room and spent the day together, sharing heartbreaking experiences. Later, they took us to Rebero and then Kabuga town in Gasabo District.

We lived there until the audacious army spearheaded by President Paul Kagame captured Kigali and stopped the Genocide against the Tutsi in a reverberating victory that I will never forget.

I escaped the Genocide unharmed because of these gallant sons and daughters of Rwanda.

For many of us, RPA Inkotanyi is our Messiah.

Mutara Intore, Rwanda

 

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