Rwanda has experienced distinct periods of turbulence and violence. To crown it all, in just three months during 1994, more than 1,000,000 people were massacred in violence and murder perpetrated against Tutsis.
The army, a notorious group known as the Interahamwe and the presidential guard, all supported by media, led the vicious killings against the Tutsi.
The Interahamwe particularly, were trained and equipped with special skills, to mercilessly torture and kill their victims.
After the genocide, many of those killers fled the country. Some of them were traced and brought before ICTR (International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda based in Arusha -Tanzania). Those at large had to find a way to use their skills to survive while keeping away from justice.
Failed states, with disorganized and cruel leaders, found their services very important and since they are a ‘cheap labour’, they immediately deployed them. I do not even agree when they call them- ‘mercenaries’ from Rwanda.
The name does not reflect a true mercenary, for that matter a Rwandan one. A mercenary is highly paid in terms of cash, whereas the Interahamwe, are only blood thirsty cheap thugs.
The recent developments implicating them in torture and murder of opposition members of Zimbabwe’s MDC, should not take any one by surprise.
The Interahamwe met the Zimbabwean soldiers during ‘the great DRC’ conflict that involved many countries. Different countries made different alliances, with the Interahamwe joining the Zimbabweans. This is when the two admired each other and their thirst for blood with love for human flesh being uniting factors.
“There are an estimated 4,000 Hutu refugees living in Zimbabwe, some of whom took part in the genocide of Tutsis in 1994…There are between six and 10 foreigners in each base, and there are 20 ZANU-PF bases in the two constituencies. People here live close to several borders and they know Portuguese from Mozambique and languages from Malawi and Zambia… They do not speak any of those or English. The tongues are from much farther up north – Kenya, Uganda or Rwanda”, reports Mr. Chitaka, MDC Manicaland chair-man.
The Zimbabwean people being very far from The Great Lakes region fail to tell exactly the nationality of the Interahamwe and keep on calling them strangers. The people living within the SADC region know each and in some cases share almost similar languages.
This background is enough to justify their suspicion and no one should try to belittle their fears, the way ours were belittled when the same bandits descended upon us.
We can even reflect on the attack they made in Uganda when they killed six tourists, in 1999. This is on record!
“Two attacks took place just weeks before the tourist killings.
On February 20, 1999, a group of about fifty heavily armed rebels reportedly “hacked to death” five villagers near Kisoro town, about twenty miles away from Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
On February 17, 1999, a group described by the media as “Interahamwe militia,” estimated at between fifty and one hundred and armed with AK-47 rifles, reportedly attacked the border town of Ishasha, killing two people.
Ishasha is only a few miles from Bwindi Impenetrable Forest”, reports New-York based human rights watch dog, Human Rights watch.
Just like in Zimbabwe’s reported case you can see even in the Uganda tourist attack; Interahamwe could not be identified properly within their own a region. Therefore, it would not surprise me if they managed to hide and commit similar atrocities in Zimbabwe.
The Interahamwe therefore, with their skills and a heavy criminal background will continue to support whoever will give them sanctuary or safe haven.
In their own ‘mad environment’ I cannot fail to say that they are succeeding, not only, to help others in need of their ‘special services’-to kill, but also to evade justice, until natural death comes their way.
Furthermore, it is unfortunate to note that the new host - I mean the one making headlines today (Zimbabwe), is setting a very bad and dangerous precedent in the SADC region, by knowingly harbouring these fugitives from justice. It is indeed an insult to the pain suffered by the people of Rwanda.