Residents recall French tyranny, vow to continue protests - While woman recounts rape of daughters by French soldiers

WESTERN PROVINCE Protestors gathered at the Gikomero Sector playground, were on wednesday, reminded of the French military brutality in the area during the genocide. 


Protestors gathered at the Gikomero Sector playground, were on wednesday, reminded of the French military brutality in the area during the genocide. 

A resident, with tears rolling down her cheeks, narrated a sad story of how the French soldiers killed her daughters after they had raped them.

“I remember when the French soldiers took my two daughters to the bush, deceiving that they were protecting them from the killers (Interahamwe) but later I heard them shouting, and to find my daughters later when they were raped and killed. This day has turned into a genocide threat to me. The French should be stopped immediately from killing us again,” the 50- year-old survivor, Epiphanie Mukandoli told the demonstrators.

In the Bwishyura Sector of Karongi district, the protestors marched towards Gatwaro stadium, and then made a ‘u’ shape movement from the stadium crossing near Lake Kivu and back.

Near the genocide memorial site in the area, where many genocide victims who were killed under the ‘Zone Turquoise’ mapped by the French, the demonstrators stopped and recalled what they described as a shameful act by France.

Addressing the protestors later, in the Rubengera Sector, the Mayor Bernard Kayumba, called upon all residents to join hands and fight what he termed as the French ‘artificial’ jurisdiction.

“We must work hard to protect the dignity of our leaders who liberated this nation from a horrific genocide, but are still being hunted by the shameful French and the Germans who did not intervene to stop the genocide- but rather supported the killers,” he said.

The demonstration, is part of country-wide protests which residents have vowed to continue until, Kabuye returns to the country. Thousands of residents filled the streets in upcountry towns to protest the arrest.

This time the protests were organised by civil society groups, on a larger scale compared to the earlier spontaneous protests held last week.

The demonstrators, carrying placards with messages denouncing the arrest, were singing songs in favour of Kabuye.

In Rusizi, the angry protestors from the Nkanka, Kamembe, Mururu, Giheke and Gihundwe Sectors rallied at the women’s offices near Rusizi 1 border where speeches were made.

Addressing the protestors, the acting Mayor, Silvestre Habiyambere described the arrest as a violation of international law and a sign of a lack of democracy in Germany and France -because Kabuye was on state duty travelling on a diplomatic passport.

“We ask both the French and the German governments to immediately release Kabuye and bring her back to her country because the accusations levelled against her lack evidence….,” said Habiyambere.

One Charlotte Dusenge, who was among the angry protestors, observed that once Kabuye appears in court, she would tell the world the truth and prove her innocence.

“However much they may detain her on baseless grounds which are politically motivated, we as Rwandans know that even if they take her to the French’s courts of law she will stand firm, tell the truth to the world, show her innocence and integrity,” Dusenge shouted loud with tears rolling down on her cheeks.

In Nyamasheke, the marchers from across the district said that they would continue to protest until Kabuye is released. They called upon the international community to intervene in the matter.

Arresting Kabuye, they said, basing on arrest warrants issued by the French Judge, Brugiere, is aimed at concealing the French’s role in the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. It also amounts to aligning with genocide perpetrators who include FDLR and Ex-FAR, they added.  

In Rutsiro district, the protests started late afternoon ending at about 6.30 pm. The protestors described the arrest as part of the smear campaign against Rwandan leaders.

“We no longer want the French and the Germans with their genocidal rule in our country. We want Rose to be released soon, she is innocent and a hero who liberated this nation,” Clementine Mukantabana, the head of the Women’s Association in the district said.

Demonstrators, from across the district first gathered at the district headquarters, from where they started a systematic peaceful march from the district to Congo Nile town and finally to Nkomero Sector, roughly 15 kilometres from the district.

They settled at Gikomero Sector play ground, from where different speeches were delivered, denouncing the French and their German counterparts.

Jean Ndimubahire, the Rutsiro Mayor, said Kabuye is a hero and should not have been denied her diplomatic immunity, as she was moving on a diplomatic passport.

“She played a paramount role in saving many Rwandans who were being killed at the helm of the French influence in the country, who are still planning the same catastrophe. We should all stand up and fight them strongly,” he said.


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