My name is Minani Celestin I was born in Butare.  I came here in1978 but left my parents in Butare.  I have stayed here for long period of time.  I had a wife with three children here in Ngenda.  It started in 1994.  I was here and I was witnessing all what was happening although I was different and disagreed with the the Hutu’s ideology. I believe that  the root cause of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis was the desire for the wealth that many Tutsis had. The Hutus used to say that they will kill the Tutsis and take their property. To me it was like Cain  and Abel when Cain killed his brother due to usury. The Hutus had started mistreating Tutsis in 1959, saying that they were very bad people but according to me I had not seen that the Tutsis were very bad because we were neighbors and they were like human beings like others and they had love. When they fled the country in 1959 they left their cows with my father and when they returned he gave them all back to them.

In 1990-1994 the Hutus killing the Tutsis claimed that the Tutsis mistreated them during the rule of the king.  I told them that I will not kill the Tutsis. They should survive for their purpose and I should also survive for my own purpose in life. I told them that those who will shed their blood will see that all they were doing was not good because of their desire for wealth.

It was on 9th-day of April and it was on Saturday I was in the garden digging with my children and my wife and I heard that the Interahamwe have attached Nzaramba, and they had killed James and his family. I left the garden and when I reached their homes they had killed them and slaughtered and eaten their Cows. I sat there waiting for them to come and kill me because they had said that those who refuse to kill the Tutsis while they are Hutus will also be killed.
At around 7p.m I heard a daughter of PATRICIE announcing I told her to enter my house within few minutes I heard another one called FOROMINA coming from Nzaramba and told her to enter I gave them milk but she said that even though you are giving us milk there are other people that I have left in the sorghum field, and I said who are they? They were Gororiyoza and his children so we went with PATRICIE  searching for them and we failed to get them but she again directed us very well and fortunately we managed to see them near SEMUNDA and CYIZA , so I took them because the killers were hunting for them. Their husbands had been killed and their cows were eaten.

It was on Sunday morning the interahamwe started searching for them because they were saying that any Hutu who will try to hide the Tutsis they will order him or her to kill them first and then kill him last. I was so scared because the interahamwe had started coming to my place looking for them.  I heard God’s voice telling me to take them to my brother who was a bit far from where I was staying and that once they come to my place and failed to get see them then they will not guess or predict that my brother has them. So I took them at midnight due to the fact they had said they will come and search for them all over the sorghum in the garden.
I tried all possible ways to take them to Burundi but Gororiyoza had a lot of fear because she had less trust in me but i assured her that please trust me I can’t let you be killed and if I were to do that I would surrender my own children to be killed.
So I boarded a boat for five thousand francs. Unfortunately it had been damaged and was leaking.  I had requested help from one of the Interahamwe who was a friend of mine for what I had done for him for what I had done for him in the past. He agreed to help me and I would pay him after taking them to Burundi. I said to him that in case you don’t do this then I will say that it is you who killed them. That was good enough. He accepted and we managed to get a small boat which can only take two people so he could take one by one and I remained with the others. He started with the women who were the mothers of the children. Altogether they were seventeen people so the process continued almost to the morning hours because taking one person through the lake and coming back it was not easy.
I had remained with one woman and her son and I told them to be waiting while that gentleman was coming for them but my thought was then to let the Interahamwe and the Hutus in general know I was doing night patrolling so  I went back early morning.
He took all of them to Burundi and they were very happy and he did not ask me for the money I had promised to pay him. It was good enough that those people are still alive. After the genocide and the war, we returned back into the country and I was suspected for having been involved in the Genocide against the Tutsis and I was imprisoned but after the people whom I rescued testified,  I was pardoned.

Gacaca solved many cases and punished those who killed others and pardoned those who have been imprisoned while they were innocent.
Unity and Reconciliation:
Unity and reconciliation has been achieved in our country because people are sharing all they have and even they do care for one another in case of sickness. Even those get out prison they come and work and stay together with their fellows.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s