INVESTIGATION: BBC Journalist Nshimiyimana Genocide Files Leak
By Chimp Investigations Team
A day after Habyarimana was killed, the Interahamwe, an armed wing of the then ruling MRND government, swiftly herded thousands of Tutsi including Gatete into the local stadium for slaughter.
This operation was led by the former Prefect of Cyangugu, Emmanuel Bagambiki.
At the time, the Tutsis were being tricked by the authorities and killed at places they were told were safe – such as churches, stadium and police barracks.
In one example, Tutsi were put on buses and told they would be moved from the stadium to a camp at Nyarushishi but on the order of Bagambiki, the buses took another route and all were massacred.
Other high profile killers from the area include Lt. Samuel Imanishimwe, Commander of the Cyangugu barracks until July 1994, and Simeon Ncamihigo who was the Deputy Prosecutor for Cyangugu Prefecture.
Both were convicted by the ICTR in Arusha. The prefecture of Cyangugu was also among the strongholds of Hutu extremism with people like Martin Bucyana (President of CDR), Michel Busunyu and the Munyakazis from the area.
In a remarkable case of survival, around 10,000 Tutsi, including Gatete, who had gathered at Nyarushishi were protected by Lt. Colonel Innocent Bavugamenshi. Stories of attempted rescue were also recorded in Cyangugu.
Many victims of the genocide were thrown into Lake Kivu and have never, and, in reality will never receive a decent burial.
How it started
Two years before the genocide kicked off, a Rwandan journalist, Vénuste Nshimiyimana, currently working with the BBC, authored an intelligence report for President Habyarimana.
Nshimiyimana had toured the country investigating MRND party’s weaknesses and strengths.
He thereafter made recommendations which many believe could have formed part of the decision by government to perpetrate genocide in 1994.
According to Nshimiyimana’s intelligence dossier which Chimp Investigations Desk has seen, he recommended to Habyarimana that the party “must accelerate the recruitment of Interahamwe.”
He emphasised that this recruitment exercise must be carried out at every local community to raise enough manpower of Interahamwe which he described as the “life blood” of the ruling party.
“Organize many meetings in all municipalities. The Banyabutare Gishamvu, Nyakizu Runyinya, Kigembe, Muganza need to listen to a language other than the MDR or PSD parties. Do everything not to lose Kamembe, Bugarama, Kimbogo, Gishoma, Nyakabuye and Karengera communities. Thus, it is guaranteed to have at least 48 percent of the prefecture besides other municipalities,” he advised Habyarimana.
“Extend the recruitment policy of the Interahamwe. They are there but there is need for more. Often hold meetings at Bugumya and step up a campaign to tarnish the image of Faustin Twagiramungu who is increasingly allied with the RPF.”
Twagiramungu, who was also born in Cyangugu, became the first post-genocide Prime Minister before resigning in 1995 and taking off to Belgium. He would later return to stand in the 2003 Presidential elections where he scored 3 percent of the total vote count.
Nshimiyimana said MRND is strong in Cyangugu, but what weakens it is lack of “activism” at the grassroots.
“In these difficult times, and unwarranted fear of another party, there is urgent need of the Interahamwe, the lifeblood of the Party,” said Nshimiyimana in his intelligence brief to Habyarimana.
In Kibuye, he advised that the Interahamwe “are still few in the prefecture hence the need to increase their number” and in “Gitisi at PetroRwanda, there are some Interahamwe, which is positive. But more are needed.”
Kizito Mihigo connection
The eye-brow raising revelations come at a time when Nshimiyimana is under fire to explain his role in a conspiracy involving musician Kizito Mihigo to overthrow the government of President Kagame.
Kizito and his co-accused are currently behind bars in Rwanda on charges of subversion.
According to Police records, on March 11, opposition Rwanda National Congress leader Callixte Nsabimana alias Sankara told Mihigo of a plan to secure the latter’s stay in London after releasing a series of songs backing the overthrow of Kagame’s government.
The RNC official also showed Mihigo the message he had received from journalist Nshimiyimana.
It read: “Reka nkwereke msg anyohereje. “Umubaze azaze anyure kuri BBC TV and radio. Bamukorera PR atigeze abona mbere (Let me show you the message he has sent. “Ask him to come and be on BBC TV and Radio. They will give him the kind of PR he has never seen.”
Asked whether he would be available for the TV interview on April 7, Mihigo answered: “With pleasure.”
Rwandan authorities did not wait for Mihigo to appear on BBC. He was arrested and incarcerated.
Nshimiyimana’s alleged role in the Rwanda genocide is likely to reignite fresh public debate about his position as a journalist with an international media house.
His leaked communications with RNC-FDLR officials could also raise fears he is still an active member of the genocide government officials hiding in foreign countries after committing atrocities in Rwanda and that he is now using his position as journalist with BBC to whitewash the Habyarimana regime’s excesses.
Nshimiyimana recently came under fire for his alleged “contribution to a culture of hatred dissemination of the ideology of genocide.”
Efforts to reach Nshimiyimana for comment were futile as he was yet to respond to our email.
He recently denied being part of a plan to kill Kagame and overthrow his government, saying he only contacted Mihigo for an interview at BBC.
In his conclusive remarks, Nshimiyimana told Habyarimana about the urgency of forming the “Southern Akazu” to maintain a hold on power.
Nkiko Nsengimana, a Rwandan political scientist, told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 2003 that the genocide was not organized by the state but by Akazu and was executed by the Interahamwe.
Akazu (the little house) was the core of power, which mainly consisted of the clan of the first lady (Mrs Habyarimana), with people from the North of the country who occupied strategic positions and wielded a lot of power.
Testifying in the trial of former Rwandan Minister for Higher Education and genocide suspect Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda, the witness the assassination of Habyarimana made it possible for the ultra to take over the state power and oversee the execution of genocide. http://chimpreports.com/index.php/regional-news/rwanda/19631-venuste-nshimiyimana.html#sthash.duw33KTO.yyDQ5YN0.dpuf