Women who killed in the Genocide

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Visitors look at pictures of Genocide victims at Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Gisozi. Timothy Kisambira.

It is common knowledge that women participated in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi as planners and perpetrators, but rarely were there cases of women arming and training Interahamwe militia and joining in attacks against the Tutsi that killed more than a million people in three months.

Angeline Mukandutiye, an inspector of education in Nyarugenge Commune in 1994, was one such woman.

Sources say “her four children kept wondering why she was so much against the Tutsi.”

Mukandutiye was born in Giciye Commune in former Gisenyi Prefecture and was married to Jean Sahunkuye, a relative of former President Juvénal Habyarimana.

Gervais Dusabemungu, a former colleague of Mukandutiye at the Prefecture de la Ville de Kigali (PVK), told The New Times that the vicious woman exuded  innocence. 

 “At first, she gave the impression of a neutral woman, having good relationships with everybody. She brought out her true colours when her relative, Colonel Gervais Rwendeye was killed in an ambush laid by the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) in 1990.

“She began targeting Pierre Bushishi, the conseiller of Rugenge Sector, just because he originated from Gitarama, the Nduga region which, according to the then ruling power, was a prefecture of ‘accomplices of Inkotanyi’. Moreover, Bushishi was a member of an opposition political party,” Dusabemungu told this newspaper.

She lobbied and ended up having one, Odette Nyirabegenzi, as new conseiller. 

Sources said the two were personal friends of Tharcisse Renzaho, then Prefet of Kigali city, who is currently serving a life sentence handed down by the Arusha-based International Criminal Court for Rwanda for Genocide crimes.

Focusing on militia

According to a former Interahamwe militiaman who has served as a prosecution witness in many trials and requested to remain anonymous, in 1993, Mukandutiye took over the leadership of MRND in Rugenge Cell, after her predecessor, Scholastica, was shot dead.

The militiamen who were being  trained in Scholastica’s compound had to relocate to a new residency to continue training.

“Mukandutiye was my mother’s friend and neighbour. She came and said she wanted me to join Interahamwe. The choice was clear; to go or to refuse and expose my family, so I followed her,” the source said.

The source underwent a two-week training alongside 183 other militiamen in Mukandutiye’s compound in Rugenge Sector, behind the current Social Security Board headquarters.

They were taught how to handle guns by a senior government military officer who was specifically appointed by his commanders just for the job.

After the training, the network of distributing weapons was created. Renzaho would send them to Mukandutiye, who in turn dispatched them to the Interahamwe.

Supervisor

Mukandutiye supervised elections of the Interahamwe committee in the sector; the source was elected vice-president.

Among the attacks the source remembers include one at Centre d’Aprentissage des Langues Africaine (CELA), near Saint Paul church where more than 70 Tutsi were killed on April 21.

Mukandutiye would lead every attack. She would wear a military jacket and carry a gun. Prior to attacking, she briefed the group and planned for night patrols and roadblocks. She demanded daily reports.

She and  Nyirabagenzi   provided lists of Tutsi to be killed.

 Among the incidents that continue to haunt Dusabemungu was the horrific death of Andreya Kameya, editor of Rwandan Rushya newspaper and a senior member of the Liberal Party (PL).

Mukandutiye and her men discovered Kameya’s hiding place, tied him to a car and dragged him around the main roundabout of Kigali.

The whereabouts of Mukandutiye are unknown, but it is believed she fled to the DR Congo with her husband when the genodical government was toppled in July 1994.

Their children, who neighbours and other sources absolve of blame in the Genocide, are said to be in the country.