English translation from interview by Edmond Murenzi:

I have decided to testify about what I did during terrible
times of April 1994.

I was 21, student at ETO Kibungo and I was in Easter
holidays. The situation was bad and we had just lost our
one remaining parent. Almost all of the children of my family
were at home, those from my aunt, my uncles to pay us a visit
and sympathise with the death of my parent.An another thing is
that almost all these children had parents from a different
ethnic group i.e one Hutu another Tutsi. As we were taught at
school, nearly all of us looked like Tutsis.

We had no father, all of us children were alone.
I was the eldest boy. We used to be with children from different
families till the President plane’s crash on 6th April
1994. None of us knew a piece of news till morning on
7th when my neighbor told me the news that
Habyarimana’s plane had been shot down. I told the
children and I went to the nearest shop to buy batteries
for my radio, I remember my neighbor told me “you can
take it for free it’s not necessary to pay, we will be
killed soon”. I knew that things were getting worse. I
took it and I began to listen to the radio. Announcers
called on people to kill Tutsis. It was sad to hear that.
After 2 days, people began to take refuge in the Birenga
Commune’s office which was close to our house, we saw
our friends going there, we wanted to do so but we
hesitated, we decided to wait.

Meanwhile, some groups had already begun to plunder
and destroy displaced people’s houses. We saw them do it.
Sometimes I went to the Commune office to pay a visit to
my friends and had discussions I told them what the situation
was in their homes.

Then the massacres started; Interahamwe attacked the
Commune’s office, I remember in the afternoon I was in
my bed when the little ones woke me up saying
Interahamwe were attacking displaced people to the
Commune office, they were in cars, they made believe
that they were going away but they drove round 2 km
from the Commune office and they came back. Few
minutes after, we heard shootings and I remember we
said “it’s over, they are killed”. We could do
nothing.

Early in the morning, I heard a voice calling me from
behind the window “Claude open for me”. I opened to
see who was calling me, it was MUTESA Emmanuel called
ZOZO my friend, he was half-breed of a German and a
Rwandan lady (he showed us the picture he received in
1992). He fled from the Commune’s office where all
members of his family were killed. I told to come in
and hide him in the ceiling but it was not strong but
because he was young he tried to stand between the walls
separating the rooms. We were lucky none saw him, I told
the little ones to keep silence about Zozo’s presence,
I fed him and some nights he came down to stretch his
legs, it was very sad to see him because sometimes he
couldn’t move due to the numbness.

As you understand, I was obliged to go out to cock my
ears, some said that Zozo was killed in the Commune
office, among them there were some who plundered in
Zozo’s house and he heard them as he was above the
living room.

Meanwhile, there was a man called Louis, our neighbor.
He was a Hutu but he brought his wife who was a Tutsi
and his children, for fear that they could be killed. He
had problems with one of the Interahamwe, I didn’t
even tell the lady about Zozo’s presence. I was used
to feeding him at night when Louis took his wife and
children. That lasted for a week but I heard later that
Louis and his family had been killed in Gisenyi, Louis
had a brother-in-law who was a Minister and he tried to
protect him but in vain. He were killed. Only one of his
children survived.

My brother, who didn’t live with us, worked at Red
Cross. He gave me money before 6th april. I used that
money to buy food and I used to tell Zozo about the
situation outside. One day, I brought him down so that
he could have a wash, it was about 10:00 am and I told
the little ones to look out to see if someone tried to come in.

When Zozo began to wash, I was with him in the room,
Some Interahamwe came but I was warned before they entered
into our enclosure. Zozo went beneath the bed and I
took off my clothes to make believe that I was having
a wash, they asked the little ones who is the house,
they responded that I was. I interrupted immediately by
looking out of the window, I recognized one of the
Interahamwecalled Kinini. I told him I am having my wash
and he lookedthrough the window and he saw that I was stark-naked.
He told others to go because no one was there. We knew that they
were told we were hiding some Tutsis. We were so afraid none could
breathe because if Zozo was found, they would kill all of us, that
is the way it was. When they found someone in your house, they would
order you to kill him and they killed you after having killed him
especially that we were not confident and some would take the occasion
to plunder or to kill us because we had a Tutsi parent. Another reason
is that they didn’t like us because nearly all of us were in secondary
school (many don’t reach that level in rural areas). After the departure
of the Interahamwe, Zozo returned to the ceiling where he stayed until
the arrival of the RPF in Kibungo.

When the RPF was in the neighborhood people fled
because of the war; all my neighbors fled but I didn’t
want to let Zozo alone in the ceiling; when all the people
had fled, I brought him down, dressed him gave him a
hat so that he couldn’t be recognizable but it was
difficult because he was a Muzungu. The little ones
ran away also. We stayed, me and Zozo, preparing how to
leave because we heard shootings but we didn’t. There
were many road blocks, he could still be killed. He told me
to go and see the situation. He stayed in the house, I
left him with the keys. When I tried to go back it was too
difficult. The Interahamwe said that RPF was killing many so
that people must flee with them. The Interahamwe
killed those who came back to their house believing
that they were joining the RPF troops. The odds was in
his Zozo’s favor(as he told me later after the genocide).
The RPF arrived and he noted that it was not the ordinary
army and he went out, approached and told them the
story, he himself enrolled in the RFP since then he was
demobilized. He eventually returned to his home and he is
now married.

When I fled we had problems because the little ones
were accused of being Tutsis. I had an ID I got from a
friend in which it was written HUTU but they didn’t believe
us. One night our companion deserted us. That caused us
problems at the road block. We managed to get to
Akagera lake but the Interahamwe refused to get us
across into our neighboring country Burundi (south of
Rwanda). They said “where are your parents? They have
been killed, so you must be Tutsis”. One Burundian who
worked for my father recognized me and said we were
Hutus but they did not believe him. So he decided to
take us himself. We crossed the lake but it was very
difficult because in water it was full of corpses. We
arrived in Burundi, but we did not get into the camp. Many
Tutsis were killed in the camp or in that area after
crossing in Burundi. We rented a house but then we decided
to go to Tanzania because he heard news that the Red
Cross went there and, as I have said, we had a brother
who worked in Red Cross. There we saw him so we went in
camp. I worked for LWF and sometimes I went to the
border to take refugees back in Rwanda and I saw some
of my friends who were already in the army, they told
me “you can come back home; no problem”. So, we then came
back to Rwanda.

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