Kangura No. 27

Rwebare Refugee Camp Attacked by Inkotanyi—An Unexpected Turn in the Conflict

Vénuste Nshimiyimana for Radio Rwanda

More than six thousand displaced persons lived in the Rwebare camp, in Muvumba commune. On Saturday night, at around 10:00 P.M., seventeen of them died, while two were seriously injured and fifteen received minor injuries. The injured were rushed to Rukono health centre.

For some time now, the Inkotanyi have been attacking non-military targets and systematically massacring the civilian population.

In the attack on Rwebare camp, they set the displaced persons’ dwellings on fire and shot at defenseless people.

On hearing the sad news, the Rwandan Head of State, General Juvénal HABYARIMANA, dispatched his Minister in charge of Defense and Security, Colonel BEM Augustin NDINDIRIYIMANA, to the scene.

The Minister was accompanied by the French Ambassador to Rwanda, Georges Martres, the Ugandan Ambassador, Ignatius KATETEGIRWE, and a delegation of the International Red Cross. On arrival in Muvumba, they were received by the Préfet of Byumba, Sylvestre BALIYANGA, and the commander of military operations for the Mutara region. They later travelled to the scene of the tragedy.

Rwebare was totally devastated. People lost their lives, livestock perished, the foodstuffs distributed by the Red Cross were reduced to ashes and dust. The displaced people have nothing. It is total misery. This type of misery has often times been caused by the Inyenzi, enemies of Rwanda, of man and of nature.

The Red Cross delegation was disgusted. For the moment, it will assess the urgent needs for these people who have been displaced by the war, which is supported by our neighbor to the north. According to the French Ambassador to Rwanda, it is distressing to note that the war is affecting civilian populations. He believes this is an unexpected turn in the conflict.

The Ugandan Ambassador declared he was deeply saddened by the tragic events which occurred in Rwebare. He condemned the Inyenzi for perpetrating the crime and expressed the hope that the two Heads of State would meet and discuss what to do about this situation which has become unbearable.

The displaced persons had started fleeing the place. We met them on the road leading to Rwebare, stripped of all their possessions, except for a few personal effects, wandering to a place where they could find more tranquility. Rukomo cannot accommodate all the people fleeing Rwebare, and yet it is not possible to stop them from coming. The prefecture authorities did not think the Inyenzi would ever kill those innocent homeless people!

Although the Rwandan army is always on the look-out and is in control of the entire national territory, the population is worried about possible infiltration by the enemy.

Despite the presence of the French and Ugandan diplomats, the Inyenzi-Inkotanyi continued causing trouble and confusion by pounding the area with rockets from their positions inside Uganda.