NGORORERO- The imminent deportation from exile of Genocide suspect Leon Mugesera, is long overdue as he remains the most influential perpetrator, particularly in his home area of Ngororero District, residents say.
It is now close to two decades since Mugesera, 65, made an incendiary speech in Kibirira village calling for Tutsi’s to be killed and dumped in River Nyabarongo. The memories of the brutal outcome of his speech are still fresh.
“He said that all Tutsis hail from Abyssinia (current Ethiopia) and the shortest way to ‘send them back home’ was through River Nyabarongo,” Pastor Aimable Kabanda, a survivor told The New Times.
Kabanda recalls that the ethnically prejudiced speech resulted into numerous killings, especially in areas neighbouring the river all the way from Rusizi District
“He was considered to be one of the most educated people at that time and whenever he spoke, his wishes were immediately executed, especially in his home village,” he disclosed.
Kabanda recalls that about 500 victims in his village were murdered and dumped into the river as a result.
Mugesera, a former lecturer at the National University of Rwanda’s Nyakinama campus, is also said to have masterminded killings there.
“He often gathered Tutsi students at his home and brought in Interahamwe militias to finish them off,” said another survivor who identified himself as Nilla Muneza.
He explained that Mugesera was a member of the advisory council of the local leadership in the 1980s, a period when the genocidal plan is said to have been hatched.
In Ngororero District, Mugesera’s brutality is likened to that of Father Athanase Seromba, who personally invited vulnerable Tutsi into Nyange Catholic Church in the guise of offering them refuge, but instead ordered their massacre on April 16, 1994.
Seromba is currently serving a life sentence handed down by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). It will be a great relief for Ngororero survivors who say Mugesera deserves a similar punishment now that he has lost his final attempt to avert his deportation.