Kangura No. 54

The Inyenzi Were About to Kill Hassan Ngeze, but Thank God He Escaped Death

Hassan Ngeze

A popular adage says, “a criminal cannot remain in hiding for long.” On 8 January 1994, the Inyenzi revealed to the Rwandans and to the world at large that what they refer to as “peace” is for them unachievable.

For those of you who are closely following the political events, my arrest can be compared to the type the R.P.F. wants to subject all those who do not share its ideology to. Since the R.P.F. launched attacks that cannot be forgotten for years to come and which resulted in the death and torture of many people we would never forget, patriotic Rwandans continue to condemn the attacks as much as they can. Even before the R.P.F. launched this attack, some people fought these Inyenzi with all their might.

The most recent examples are the Kangura journalists who fought so that Rwanda is not taken by surprise and again placed under the yoke of slavery.

We have told the people what attitude to adopt in the face of the current problems and they have understood. We have made life difficult for the Inyenzi and have made it clear that we shall one day ask them why they killed innocent people. There is a proverb that says: “An Inyenzi proposes and God disposes.”

A few days ago, a plan to topple the government was hatched. Kavaruganda had joined the Inyenzi to hatch this plan. The Rwandans resolved not to accept that a group of Inyenzi making up the R.P.F. as well as others hiding within the P.S.D. carry out a coup d’état under the pretext that they were experienced in the massacre of innocent citizens. The population has resolved to fight the Inyenzi by all possible means. Those of us defending the Republic feel that the blood of those who have been brutally murdered by the R.P.F. because they were Hutus is enough reason for us to fight. The blood of our brothers and sisters should be reason enough to unite us and request that the R.P.F. account for the acts they committed during the war. We should organize events that would be recorded in the annals of Rwandan history and remind us of the innocent people killed between 1990 and 1994.

I Had a Brush With Death.

As the people who had woken early prepared to go and demonstrate in the streets against the confusion caused by the R.P.F. (it was around 6:30 a.m. on 8 January 1994), the Inyenzi, who can be reached on 82314 telephoned my house and I answered the call.

They wanted to speak to Hassan Ngeze. I asked who the caller was and was told that it was the R.P.F. leadership. I asked why they wanted me and this is what they said to me:

The R.P.F. leadership has eventually realized that a greater part of the Rwandan population does not want the transitional institutions to be put in place before the internal problems within the M.D.R. and P.L. are resolved. We have noticed that it is this section of the population demonstrating in the streets. Consequently, we have decided not to participate in this problem-riddled government, which will be opposed by many people who would not accept it. We have therefore decided to inform the Rwandans of this. We would like to have an interview with Hassan Ngeze, a reputable journalist in Rwanda and the sub-region. We would also like to have an interview with Kantano Habimana who has also shown time and again that he is a man of repute.

I was very happy to hear this. Hearing the R.P.F. say for the first time that confusion will not lead to anything, that even if they killed, it would not be possible to exterminate all the Hutus, that they did not want to be part of the transition government until all these problems are solved! I immediately said: “Here is a scoop for Kangura readers and R.T.L.M. listeners. We have for them some unusual news about the history of Rwanda, particularly that the enemy has accepted to give up obduracy and toe the line of democracy.”

It was about 6:45 a.m. I took my equipment and left for Kantano’s house. I did not find him at home. I believed he had also been informed and had gone ahead of me. I therefore started my car and headed for the R.P.F. detachment at the C.N.D. Since I was scared, I took some people with me including Hadji Gihungu, alias Kitonsa, and the intrepid Mugesera feared by the Inyenzi of Biryogo. When we arrived at the C.N.D. gate, we asked the guards on duty if there was a press conference going on and they told us that they knew nothing about it and advised us to ask the Inyenzi at the entrance.

I therefore approached those Inyenzi to find out where the press conference was being held and about 50 of them carrying high-caliber weapons got up at the same time and dragged me mercilessly into their hideout. When we arrived at the house, they undressed me and left me stark naked. I then realized that I was going to die and said the following: “It is clear that the moment for my death which I have been expecting has finally come. Please allow me two minutes of prayer, after which you may do what you learnt.” Two minutes later, I needed to go to the toilet and I was shown where it was located. As they did, they made fun of me, saying that people who are about to die usually need the toilet. There was no running water in the toilet and they hit me with the butt of a gun, asking me why we had put them in a building that did not have water. As I had nothing to lose, having realized that my life was coming to an end, I was not afraid to tell them anything I wanted. Regarding the lack of water, I explained to them that it was their fault because they had destroyed the Ntaruka dam. They then took me back to where they had initially detained me and several Inyenzi surrounded me, pointing their guns at my nape. They made me sit on a chair and called in a journalist who started to question me, asking me why the Tutsi in the country had been silenced. He asked several other questions. I told him I had no answer to give to that and that if they wanted to kill me, they should go ahead and do it quickly. I even told them not to have any mercy on me for they were not in a position to do so. They asked why I felt they could not have pity on me and I told them that they had been brutally murdering innocent peasants who could neither read nor write and who had done nothing to them. If they could not pity those people, what then would happen to someone like me who has just spent four years fighting them openly?

I said to the Colonel who was leading the attack: “I am going to die, I am Hassan Ngeze and I will remain equal to myself. However, the entire country will be filled with cries of pain, rivers of blood will flow and all the accomplices in the country will be exterminated.” I then told them that if they liked Rwanda, which they were trying to rule by force, it was high time they restored peace, for the blood they had shed and drunk was enough.

I gave them the example of a neighboring country reminding them that Ndadaye had died alone but that more than one hundred thousand Tutsis had gone with him and his death had proven how wicked the Tutsis were. Upon hearing that, they looked at each other and a group of 50 Inyenzi left and were replaced by another group. They came in a threatening manner, saying that they were going to show me how Ndadaye died. They then took… showing me they were going to cut my… genitals; saying that this is what would grieve those who were to see my body. I wondered why they were not in a hurry to kill me and gave no explanation for it. While I was being ridiculed, the Political committee of the R.P.F. was busy preparing a long document containing all the accusations they were to bring against the Hiatus of Rwanda, particularly against Habyarimana. The R.P.F. wanted me to sign the document, thereby accepting that everything reflected therein had happened. They wanted me to read it while they recorded it, so it could be aired all over the world. I would like you to reflect on the contents of the document and its seriousness.

To What Do I Owe My Life?

When the gendarmes noticed that I had been arrested, realizing that it was about 9:00 a.m., they contacted U.N. soldiers and informed them that a Kangura journalist named Hassan Ngeze had been arrested and had been reportedly killed immediately. The U.N. soldiers immediately asked the Inyenzi if they had arrested someone and they said they had not. The U.N. soldiers persisted and around 10:00 a.m., they entered the Inyenzi hideout and found me where they had asked me to sit. They were busy making a fool of me. The U.N. soldiers freed me. The Inyenzi journalists whom I mentioned earlier were still questioning me as they waited for their leaders to finish preparing the document which they wanted me to sign and which they claimed contained proof of what had happened in Rwanda. That was how I was freed by the U.N. before signing those people’s papers and as such their scheme was thwarted. I immediately complained to the competent authorities and I still await their reaction.

Let’s Reason Together.

If my arrest is analyzed, one would notice that it contains a lot of things:

  1. What the Inyenzi think of the Hutus who do not believe them, I mean those who are aware of their wickedness since 1959.
  2. My arrest proves that the Inyenzi will hunt down anyone who opposes them.
  3. My arrest should make people more vigilant for I noticed that all the questions I was asked were to hide the war. Those who can analyze the political situation would confirm that my arrest was a new type of war unleashed by the Inyenzi. We have been involved in this war during the two years of transition. While questioning me, they did not fail to maliciously ask about the questions I asked Kanyarengwe during the interview he granted journalists in their hideout. That is my story about my brush with death. What hurt the Inyenzi was the fact that I told them that killing me would bring me honor, for it would only prove that the killings I had been accusing them of for a while were true.

Nothing compares to being killed by someone you are fighting, for that makes you a hero. And, moreover it is better to die than live like a coward. It is better to not live long like Ngeze than to lead a meaningless long life.