May 31, 2004

Day 56

Ten years ago today: Capt. Mbaye Diagne of Senegal, a peacekeeper with UNAMIR, was killed by a stray mortar in Kigali.

During the genocide, Diagne routinely and clandestinely disobeyed UN instructions not to intervene on behalf of persecuted Tutsi civilians, and saved dozens, if not hundreds of lives from early April on, including the children of slain Rwandan prime minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana.

Diagne was profiled by Frontline's recent Ghosts of Rwanda program.

Mbaye was bringing people from all over to the headquarters and then evacuating them or having them picked up and taken to safety elsewhere. And I don't even know the numbers of the people that he saved. But a lot of people know who he is. A lot of people were saved by him, and not just Rwandans but famous journalists. I think they were put in positions where their lives were pretty close to an end, and he stepped in and saved them.... it was against orders, and the orders were not to intervene in the conflict. Mbaye ignored those orders, and at the same time General Dallaire knew what he was doing, never stopped him... Here's someone who stepped out of line and the general is not going to discipline him because he's doing the right thing. And he saved at least hundreds of people. And we're talking about saving hundreds of people three or four at a time.

Journalist Mark Doyle:

I remember going to the airport subsequently when his body was being taken out under a U.N. flag. Ö I remember bursting into tears with a colleague of his, a Senegalese captain, and the captain said to me, "You're a journalist; I'm a soldier. Now you've got to tell the world what Mbaye did. You've got to tell the people that he saved lots of lives, even while the UN was shamefully pulling out its troops, he was saving people's lives. Please tell the world."

Posted by NYCO at 12:19 PM | Comments (1)

May 30, 2004

Day 55

Ten years ago today: About 500,000 refugees in the Gitarama area were cut off from food and water because the RPF had blocked a supply route from the south, according to the Red Cross.

Direct peace talks began on this day in Kigali between RPF and the government.
The UN resumed efforts to evacuate civilians at the Hotel des Milles Collines and at Kigali's stadium. Other civilians remained trapped in the Eglise de Sainte Famille.

Interviews with several captured Interahamwe were printed in Western newspapers on this day. The Guardian interviewed 16-year-old Justin Mbongata:

I beat two women and one man to death. I was forced to beat them to death by the burgomestre and the army. I don't feel well about what I did. I don't sleep properly. I think a lot when I'm sleeping. what I did wasn't good, but because of the government we were forced to do it. I would like to ask for mercy. I don't feel I should be killed. What I did . . . I did it unconsciously. The councillors showed us how to kill and where to kill . . . I don't expect anything, apart from mercy. But I expect to be killed all the time... The first person I killed was a man. I killed him with a stick. I beat him. We were chasing them in the bush. I was with some other people. I know the man I killed. He was called Emmanuel. I used to see him around the place. He was a peasant. He had eight children. Some of the children were my age. We used to meet and play sometimes.

Posted by NYCO at 03:09 PM | Comments (1)

May 29, 2004

Day 54

Ten years ago today: A Belgian journalist received a letter from a Rwandan militia commander alleging that the shootdown of Juvenal Habyarimana's plane on April 6 was perpetrated by an extremist Hutu group and French mercenaries, according to the New York Times.

Rwandan government officials began to leave Gitarama, their interim seat of government, on this day, in anticipation of the rapidly advancing RPF forces. An estimated 300,000 people were fleeing south from the Kigali area.

More than 1,000 Tutsis remained trapped at a refugee camp near Gitarama.

This week:

The Washington Post looks at current events in Darfur in light of Rwanda.

Posted by NYCO at 04:18 PM | Comments (1)

May 28, 2004

Day 53

Ten years ago today: RPF forces staged an attack on Gitarama, seat of the Rwandan government.

500 Tutsi refugees were massacred by militiamen at a government-run camp west of Kigali.

Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, minister of family and gender affairs in the Rwandan government, personally selected young Tutsi women in Butare prefecture to be raped by the local militia. She had been overseeing these activities since late April, according to the New York Times Magazine:

Nyiramasuhuko arrived at a compound where a group of Interahamwe was guarding 70 Tutsi women and girls. One of the Interahamwe, a young man named Emmanuel Nsabimana, told me through a translator that Nyiramasuhuko ordered him and the others to burn the women. Around the same time, Rose, a young Tutsi woman who had sought refuge at the area hospital and who is now under military protection as a witness against Nyiramasuhuko, watched in terror as soldiers stormed the complex. "They said Nyiramasuhuko had given them permission to go after the Tutsi girls, who were too proud of themselves," said Rose. "She was the minister, so they said they were free to do it."

This week:

Fighting in the town of Bukavu in Congo between rival factions of the Congon army has caused hundreds to flee into Rwanda.


Posted by NYCO at 12:57 PM | Comments (1)

May 27, 2004

Day 52

Ten years ago today: The UN evacuated 500 civilians from Kigali, including the 240 Tutsi who had sought refuge in the Hotel des Milles Collines since April, and another 240 Hutu who had been hiding in the national stadium. The Tutsi went to areas in Rwanda controlled by the RPF. The Hutu fled south to government-controlled areas.

Hutu refugees in Tanzania reported to the Guardian that RPF soldiers were massacring civilians.

The number of bodies coming from Rwanda via the Kagera River had significantly decreased, according to the New York Times. Nevertheless, cleanup efforts still continued in Uganda:

Seen from a helicopter hugging the water, many bodies gently roll with the current. They are bloated and naked or still dressed in bright-colored clothes. In eddies, as many as a dozen are piled together. Legs and arms are buried in the sand. White skulls glisten in the rushes. Headless torsos are sprawled on the beaches... In Mutemante, a desolately poor thatch-hut fishing village of no more than 50 people lost between swamps, few know about the war in Rwanda or why the bodies have appeared. At first the villagers were concerned and tried to bury some. But they say they are now following the Government's advice, neither drinking the water nor touching the bodies...

Next to the growing pile of plastic-wrapped bodies, fishermen sit in their wooden canoes, sewing their nets. About 20 feet away, at the Goshen Restaurant, a wooden one-room shack, several men are eating lunch. Rhythmic Zairian music blares from a loudspeaker. But it is still difficult to shed the pall of sadness. A small, thin woman stands and stares as the bodies are unloaded, silently crying and wiping her eyes with the corner of her dress.

Posted by NYCO at 03:32 PM | Comments (1)

May 26, 2004

Day 51

Ten years ago today: Rwandan government troops began fleeing Kigali, along with thousands of Hutu refugees.

The Associated Press reported on daily life for Rwandans in the massive Benaco refugee camp in Tanzania.

The black and white goat cocks its head toward the man who led it from Rwanda. A moment later, a machete slits the animal's throat. A crowd of refugees watch the butchering of the goat - one of the hundreds of animals brought from Rwanda and now used for food in the refugee camp. A small girl presses her face into her mother's thigh and starts to sob. The mother strokes the girl's close-cropped hair. "That is how her father was killed," the woman says.

Some sayings on English language T-shirts seen around camp: "I Love Yachting," "1985 Honor Roll. Naperville, Illinois," "Jim's Big Bar-B-Q. Route 7. All You Can Eat."

AP also reported on orphans still inside Rwanda:

The remnants of tens of thousands of shattered families are frantically trying to reunite, wandering great distances in search of blood links. In some cases children themselves are building desperate little units without parents to watch over them. Rose Kayumba, who runs an orphanage in Byumba, said nearly every day small groups of children show up at the gate, without parents or siblings, only each other. Jennifer Wibabara, a reporter for a radio station run by the rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front, puts people on the air who are desperate to find somebody from the family. "They say 'It's me, I'm alive,"' she said. "But rarely do people come forward."

This week:

Prison conditions in Rwanda are being assessed by the UN, in preparation for those convicted by the ICTR possibly serving out their sentences inside the country.


Posted by NYCO at 03:44 PM | Comments (1)

May 25, 2004

Day 50

Ten years ago today: The UN appointed an investigator, Rene Degni-Segui, to make a report on the killings in Rwanda and whether they were pre-planned. Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali criticized the U.S. for their failure to intervene:

It is a failure not only for the United Nations; it is a failure for the international community. And all of us are responsible for this failure. Not only the great powers but the African powers, the nongovernmental organizations, all the international community. It is a genocide which has been committed. More than 200,000 people have been killed and the international community is still discussing what ought to be done... Unfortunately, let us say with great humility, I failed. It is a scandal. I am the first one to say it.

The Independent filed a report on this day about the process of disposing of Rwandan bodies in Uganda.

Using fishing canoes, the volunteers drag them to the bank where they are wrapped in plastic sheeting. The bodies are then towed along the shore, in batches of 15 and 20, to sites where they are collected by dump trucks. They are then taken to one of nine mass graves. Local volunteers and aid workers face appalling psychological stress. One local man who discovered three babies skewered on a spear has been completely traumatised. Some workers are falling victim to unidentified illnesses.

White House press secretary Mike McCurry was asked by a reporter on whether the Clinton administration had decided to describe what was happening in Rwanda as "genocide." McCurry said,

I'll have to confess, I don't know the answer to that. I know that the issue was under very active consideration. I think there was a strong disposition within the department here to view what has happened there; certainly, constituting acts of genocide that have occurred.

At the U.S. Naval Academy on this day, President Clinton announced a presidential directive stipulating that there had to be a direct benefit to U.S. national interests in order for the U.S. to support UN peacekeeping operations.

On this day, two people were killed at a Red Cross hospital by a shell. An American surgeon working with the Red Cross in Kigali spoke to the New York Times by phone.

We're rather trapped here right now. It's rather academic who is shooting at us. We're in between the Government troops and the rebels. Every day there is a word of a truce, but it doesn't seem to be getting to the mortar men. We're not considering evacuation. There's no way to get out. I've got to get off now. There are more mortars.

This week:

Rwanda is getting U.S. help in fighting AIDS among its military forces.

Posted by NYCO at 07:33 PM | Comments (1)

May 24, 2004

Day 49

Ten years ago today: The UN Human Rights Commission held a rare emergency session on Rwanda, calling for an investigating and prosecution of those responsible for the massacres. Addressing the commission, Philippe Dahinden of Reporters Without Borders proposed the creation of a new radio station to counteract the effects of hate radio in Rwanda.

Twenty Tutsi priests were taken away from the seminary at Kabgayi on this day and executed by militia.

The RPF captured the presidential palace in Kigali on this day. Reports also surfaced on this day of killings of Hutu civilians perpetrated by the RPF.

Ghana, Ethiopia and Senegal offered troops for the proposed new UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda. Several European countries declined UN requests for troops, although Italy was considering it.

The number of corpses washed into Lake Victoria, 150 miles from Rwanda, was estimated this week at 40,000.

This week:

Rwandan Hutu gunmen are attacking villages in Congo.

Posted by NYCO at 01:12 PM | Comments (2)

May 23, 2004

Day 48

Ten years ago today: The four sons of Chrysologue Munyakayanza, the Tutsi chief security guard at the Canadian embassy in Kigali, were beaten to death with rocks on this day at a Hutu militia checkpoint across from the embassy, in sight of their father. They ranged in age from 18 to 24 years old. Their names were Jean-Marie, Pierre, Burakeye, and Jean-Claude.

At least 14, and possibly as many as 50, Tutsi were killed in Kibuye prefecture on this day. It was one of the least deadly days for Tutsi in Kibuye since the genocide began in April.

The RPF announced it was honoring a two-day truce to enable the UN special envoy to discuss the nature of the UN mission with both sides of the civil conflict. However, the RPF claimed that the Rwandan government violated the truce and the UN compound in Kigali came under mortar attack. The UN envoy was unable to go to Kigali.

Daily life in Benaco refugee camp in Tanzania for the 300,000 mostly Hutu Rwandan refugees consisted of five-hour waits for food. 200 tons of food and 200,000 gallons of water were distributed each day. Each person received a 20 by 16 foot sheet of blue plastic to ward off the elements, and each family received two blankets. As reported by Brian Murphy of the Press Association, burials continued on this day at the camp cemetery as usual:

John Barayagwiza cradled the body of his son. The boy was born sick and feverish on Saturday and died 18 hours later. His body was wrapped in a grey blanket and plastic. Grass stalks tied the shroud around the body no thicker than a fist. The boy's mother stayed behind in camp. The body was set down in a patch of yellow wildflowers, which barely sagged under the small weight. The father stood to the side as friends scraped clear a grave site and began to dig. Other friends came to his side and rubbed his shoulders. Another father walked up the jagged path alongside the 200 yard line of graves. The plastic-draped body of his week-old daughter rested in his forearms. Another grave was started. The girl's mother died during childbirth and the baby wasted away from malnutrition without breast milk. The two fathers lowered their children into the holes and just for a moment bowed their heads. No one spoke. No one cried. There were no prayers.

This week:

Beatha Uwazaninka, a 24-year-old survivor, is involved in creating a genocide memorial at Gisozi in Rwanda.

Janjaweed militia have killed 56 people in Sudan's Darfur region.

Posted by NYCO at 01:32 PM | Comments (1)

May 22, 2004

Day 47

Ten years ago today: The RPF captured Kigali Airport and Kanombe military base east of the city, where 4,000 government troops had once been stationed.

Mark Matthews of the Baltimore Sun filed a report on Kigali on this day:

Government and rebel forces are still fighting each other over Kigali, but it's hard to see why. The city is a charred shell. Most of its inhabitants - those who have survived the orgy of killing that began April 6 - have fled. Only the ubiquitous bougainvillea and hibiscus thrive as if part of a gaudy funeral arrangement. From a hillside overlooking the capital, the cannons of the rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front boom. Modern office buildings are gutted, their windows shattered, some crumbling from rocket attacks... The slaughter of minority Tutsis that marked the early days of the five-week civil war has largely ended, with many having fled or been killed. Abandoned, rubble-strewn Tutsi homes dot the roadside, their window and door frames knocked out. Almost no Tutsis, distinguished by height, prominent cheekbones and chiseled noses, are now to be seen outside refugee camps.

Capt. Mbaye Digne, a Senegalese officer serving with UNAMIR, was shooting home video of life in Kigali during this time.

This week:

The New York Times focuses on Rwanda's gacaca courts, with a photo essay.

Posted by NYCO at 01:50 PM | Comments (1)

May 21, 2004

Day 46

Ten years ago today: A secret memo was sent to Secretary of State Warren Christopher by officials of the State Department with the subject line Has Genocide Occurred in Rwanda? The memo recommended that State Department officials be allowed to state publicly that "acts of genocide have occurred."

Relief flights to the Kigali airport were stopped by intense shelling on this day, and the UN considered a retreat from the airport.

The Associated Press' Mark Fritz filed a report on this day detailing the preparation, organization and efficiency of the Interahamwe prior to April 6.

Ugandan authorities on this day held a prayer service and mass burial for the bodies from Rwanda retrieved from the Kagera River near Kasesero. The service was attended by Rwandan refugees, and Ugandan religious leaders and parliamentarians. One Ugandan attendee said,

I came to witness because those are our brothers and sisters. And it was far worse than I ever imagined.

This week:

Rwanda turns to computers to speed up the gacaca justice process.

Rwanda's last black rhinoceros, a survivor of poaching and civil war, has been located.

Posted by NYCO at 01:06 PM | Comments (1)

May 20, 2004

Day 45

Ten years ago today: RTLM broadcast a denunciation of 88 Tutsi, including prominent priests, who were allegedly plotting to kill Hutu, according to Human Rights Watch. The priests were said to have distributed guns to Tutsi who had been hiding in churches.

Officials in Butare prefecture held a meeting on this day designed to bolster civilian efforts to guard barriers and do patrols in search of inkotanyi (RPF sympathizers) - i.e., Tutsi and their Hutu supporters.

RTLM announcers also began to use a new term, guhumbahumba, to signify the determination to "track down the last Tutsi."

The prefect of Kigali, Francois Karera, fled Kigali on this day. Later, from Zaire, he told the New York Times that he thought the killings of Tutsi were justified:

The Tutsi are originally bad. They are murderers. The Tutsi have given the white people their daughters. Physically they are weak -- look at their arms and their legs. No Tutsi can build; they are too weak. They just command. The others work... If the reasons are just, the massacres are justified. In war you don't consider the consequences, you consider the causes... We cannot use that word genocide, because there are numerous surviving. They are using the word genocide considering the number of Tutsis who were killed.

This week, 167 corpses washed up on the shores of five villages on Lake Victoria in Uganda. A Ugandan official said,

I've never seen hatred like this in my life. There are so many of them. Children are skewered on sticks. I saw a woman cut open from the tail bone. They have removed breasts and male genital organs.

This week:

The Rwandan government is now requiring newcomers to Kigali to prove they haven't been accused of crimes.

Freeplay aims to bring more radios to rural Africa.

Are there echoes of RTLM to be heard in today's right-wing radio?

Posted by NYCO at 01:25 PM | Comments (1)

May 19, 2004

Day 44

Ten years ago today: The UN requested 50 armored personnel carriers from the U.S., but an agreement could not be reached on the cost.

30 patients were killed at a Kigali hospital when it was hit by mortars. The UN's headquarters in Kigali was also hit. The RPF controlled most of Kigali on this day.

An aid worker was quoted on this day in the Irish Times:

Evidently the genocide is nearly complete. When I asked a Burundian Tutsi soldier at the border how he felt about his people on the other side of the border being slaughtered, he just shrugged and said it was already over.

This week:

Justices are resigning from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Armenian Americans are upset by the Bush administration's reluctance to recognize the Armenian genocide of 1915.

Posted by NYCO at 12:14 PM | Comments (1)

May 18, 2004

Day 43

Ten years ago today: According to Human Rights Watch, citizens in some areas of Butare prefecture were called out for umuganda (community labor) to "clear the brush" or "cut bad branches" in the local forests, which was a euphemism for searching for hidden Tutsi and eliminating any possible hiding places.

When this work is finished, the people will go to Nyabitare where they will cut all the bushes and they should search all the empty houses to see if there isnít someone hidden in them.

On this day, a summit of east and central African countries on the Rwanda crisis was announced, but no date was decided upon.

Paul Kagame, leader of the RPF, today said that the RPF's objective was control of the whole of the Rwanda.

France's former minister of health and humanitarian action, returning from Kigali, told French radio on this day that

There is a majority group which makes up about 90% of the population, the Hutus. There is a minority group, the Tutsis, who make up 10% of the population. The Hutus are killing the Tutsis and have seemingly decided to kill them all. This is called genocide.

A letter by Alain Destexhe, secretary general of MSF (Doctors Without Borders), ran in this day's New York Times:

It took the Khmer Rouge four years to kill one million people of a population very similar in size to Rwanda's. We have known for a month what is going on. A clearly defined and targeted United Nations intervention is not an option for Rwanda. It is an obligation.

This week:

Rwandan state prosecutors have called for a life sentence for former president Pasteur Bizimungu for "threatening state security." Bizimungu, a Hutu, was installed as president by the RPF in July 1994.

Posted by NYCO at 12:54 PM | Comments (1)

May 17, 2004

Day 42

Ten years ago today: The UN Security Council conceded that "acts of genocide may have been committed" in Rwanda. Resolution 918, passed on this day, formally agreed to send more troops to UNAMIR - only a small number immediately - and also established an embargo on sales of arms and other military equipment to Rwanda.

On this day, bodies from Rwanda began reaching the islands in Lake Victoria. A member of an international disaster team called in to deal with the cleanup told the media,

Many bodies which are trapped in caves, lagoons or uninhabited areas remain littering the shore lines. From the air they are clearly visible, floating in the water like dead fish.

Belgium's Radio 1 reported on this day that a UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees) official said that RPF soldiers were shooting refugees who were attempting to cross the Kagera River into Tanzania.

A new refugee camp, with mostly Hutu numbering about 20,000, was growing in the very remote area of Ntobeye in Tanzania. The New York Times reported,

When relief workers first arrived here, they found the Rwandans numb and bewildered. They had little food and only grass huts for shelter. Inured to battering rains, sick women and children lay shivering on the muddy grass, covered only with cotton cloth. Crowds of refugees massed around this small village's only brick building, so densely packed that Ntobeye was nothing more than a sea of heads.

Mark Fritz of the Associated Press filed a report on the future of government in Rwanda after the killings:

Can a nation in the throes of psychotic slaughter ever learn to live in something resembling harmony? There are actually cool heads in this vortex of violence, Hutu and Tutsi alike, who are working on it... 19-year-old Alphonse Rusake talked about how he lost nine members of his family and his left ear during an April 11 massacre by government troops and Hutu militias inside a school in Kigali. Asked if he felt hatred of Hutus because of it, he began to answer when an older man barked angrily at the youth in his native language. "There is nothing to be gained by violence," Rusake mumbled, hanging his head.

This week:

Rwanda is among the countries who will receive benefits from the all-star We Are the Future concert held in Rome this past weekend.

Congolese nationals in Rwanda are calling for an end to tensions between the two countries.

Posted by NYCO at 10:51 AM | Comments (1)

May 16, 2004

Day 41

Ten years ago today: Rwanda made the cover of Time magazine. It merited a seven-page report, and was the most graphic examination of the genocide to date in the American popular media.

An extensive discussion of Rwandan tribal politics was aired on CNN on this day, but the word "genocide" was not mentioned.

The State Department on this day drafted an internal legal analysis about the applicability of the term "genocide" to what was happening in Rwanda.

A "decision on paper" was reached on this day by the UN Security Council on "UNAMIR II," which would bolster the current UNAMIR mission by 5,500 men, but there were no immediate plans for their deployment.

Health officials in Uganda on this day declared Lake Victoria to be polluted due to the influx of dead bodies from Rwanda, and urged the boiling of all drinking water in Kampala.

Tens of thousands of Hutu attempted to escape Kigali on this day after the RPF captured a major road between the city and Gitarama, where the interim Rwandan government was based.

This week:

A study of the role of financial institutions in bankrolling the Rwandan war and genocide.

Posted by NYCO at 12:19 PM | Comments (1)

May 15, 2004

Day 40

Ten years ago today: At Kibeho, where apparitions of the Virgin Mary were reported during the 1980s, an apparition was reportedly seen by Valentine Nyiramukiza and its message was broadcast on Radio Rwanda. The apparition proclaimed that President Habyarimana was with her in heaven, and according to Philip Gourevitch, this was widely held to be an expression of divine support for the genocide.

According to Human Rights Watch, students at the university in Butare, inspired by prime minister Kambanda's visit earlier in the week, released a statement on this day condemning "the diabolical intentions of the inyenzi inkotanyi ("cockroach warriors") to eliminate the popular democratic mass."

Tanzanian radio reported on this day allegations that the RPF had been killing fleeing Hutu and burned their villages, prompting their flight across the border earlier in the month.

At the central hospital in Kigali, there were six doctors for 3,000 sick and wounded people.

About 1,000 Tutsi were being held in a camp enclosed by barbed wire in Gitarama. The Independent reported on this day that men were being taken out of the camp and killed.

Hundreds of people fill the courtyard of a former seminary; hundreds more huddle together in fetid rooms, cellars and outhouses. The dead lie among the sick and the dying. There is little food and no running water. An elderly woman takes my arm and points pleadingly to her stomach. In the centre of the compound children play in the dirt beside two bodies placed on a stretcher.
By a stroke of irony, this field of misery is in full view of the Red Cross, but its workers are prevented from entering.

This week:

Accused genocidaire Jean-Marie Vianney Mudahinyuka, captured in Illinois, faces more charges.

Posted by NYCO at 07:09 AM | Comments (1)

May 14, 2004

Day 39

Ten years ago today: The RPF arrived at Ntarama, scene of some of the worst massacres of the genocide.

Interim Rwandan prime minister Jean Kambanda visited Butare University to meet with faculty and other intellectuals on this day, according to Human Rights Watch, and insisted that

There had been no massacres in Butare and Kibungo as the RPF claimed; the population had been attacked and had defended itself. There was a war.

At Muyira in Gikongoro prefecture on this day, a large-scale attack was mounted by Interahamwe militia against Tutsi refugees, who numbered in the tens of thousands.

An aid worker gave a "conservative estimate" on this day of 500,000 dead in Rwanda.

This week:

Computers for Rwandan schools.

Posted by NYCO at 03:38 PM | Comments (0)

May 13, 2004

Day 38

Ten years ago today: The United Nations had planned to vote on sending 5,500 more troops to Rwanda, but the U.S. delayed the vote for four days.

After the Rwandan government sent an emissary to France seeking military aid, RTLM on this day began broadcasting calls for out-of-control militia to stop the killing:

The president of the Interahamwe, the prime minister, the president of the republic, everyone, each of them says, "Please, the killings are finished, those who are dead are dead."

According to Human Rights Watch, France had told the Rwandan government that no help would be forthcoming until they improved the country's image in the eyes of the world.

On this day, according to Human Rights Watch, the refugees hiding at the Hotel des Milles Collines in Kigali were tipped off that a massacre at the hotel was planned for that afternoon. Manager Paul Rusesebagina sent a fax to the French foreign ministry with this information. The attack did not happen.

Tutsi priests, who had previously enjoyed some degree of protection due to their status, began to be individually targeted for death. Father Irenee Nyamwasa, of Muganza parish in Gikongoro prefecture, was killed on this day.

This week:

Jean-Marie Vianney Mudahinyuka, a suspected Rwandan genocidaire, was arrested in Chicago today after a struggle with police at his residence.

Posted by NYCO at 03:37 PM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2004

Day 37

Ten years ago today: According to Human Rights Watch, officials in Butare prefecture were warning people not to continue to hide Tutsi:

People who had hidden others should bring them out, so that we can all do patrols together as well as the other activities of every day. Those who are caught while they are still in hiding will be considered as enemies.

The Associated Press reported that on this day, the mostly Tutsi village of Karubamba in northeastern Rwanda, now held by the RPF, was silent.

Nobody lives here any more. Not the expectant mothers huddled outside the maternity clinic, not the families squeezed into the church, not the man who lies rotting in a schoolroom beneath a chalkboard map of Africa. Everybody here is dead.

Reuters first reported that Hutu militiamen who had slaughtered Tutsi were now at large in the Benaco camp in Tanzania. A Red Cross official in Tanzania commented,

[In Rwanda] I was trying to evacuate one seriously wounded woman in my car. The militia let down my tyres, rigged the battery and, grenade and panga in hand, calmly told me she must die there... I would lose my job if I identified them. Under the Geneva Convention I am not allowed to. But there is one man who I would shoot and leave lying in the sun. He is here [at the camp]. Forgiveness is hard.

This week:

Photographer Corinne Dufka recalls being among the first journalists to enter Rwanda in May 1994.

Posted by NYCO at 03:12 PM | Comments (1)

May 11, 2004

Day 36

Ten years ago today: The RPF began assault on Kigali's Kanombe camp, a military base defended by three battalions of Rwandan government forces. Desertions by Rwandan senior officers were reported.

Uganda set up a national task force to deal with the sheer number of bodies entering Lake Victoria from the Kagera River, estimated between 10,000 and 25,000.

Relief flights from the U.S. began to Mwanza, Tanzania on this day to aid Rwandan refugees.

When asked on this day if the U.S. government had been able to determine if any genocidal acts had occurred in Rwanda, White House spokesman Mike McCurry said, "I don't know that they've made any legal determination on that."

Posted by NYCO at 03:41 PM | Comments (1)

May 10, 2004

Day 35

Ten years ago today: The UN began discussing a proposal to send 5,500 more troops to Rwanda. The new troops would control the Kigali airport, protect civilians, and guard relief workers. Newly inaugurated South African president Nelson Mandela declared his support for the operation. The U.S. instead suggested that the forces be used outside of Rwanda to create "protective zones" for refugees.

On this day, 40 civilians were killed in the shelling of Kigali by RPF and Rwandan government forces, including journalists at Radio Rwanda. A temporary ceasefire was granted so that UNAMIR forces could retrieve the body of a Ghanaian soldier who had been killed the day before as he was guarding refugees at Amahoro Stadium.

Vice President Al Gore was in southern Africa this week as the U.S. began an emergency airlift of food and supplies to Rwandan refugees in Tanzania and Burundi. Gore met with UN Secretary General Boutros-Ghali and Security Council president Ibrahim Gambari of Nigeria to discuss Rwanda on this day.

On this day, aid workers estimated the number of refugees in Tanzania's Benaco camp at 325,000, in an area measuring 2 1/2 by 3 miles. Tanzanian officials feared that Tanzanians would starve later in the year because Rwandans were wandering for miles, uprooting immature crops in order to survive.

This week:

Eugene Nshimiyimana talks about escaping death.

Posted by NYCO at 02:27 PM | Comments (1)

May 09, 2004

Day 34

Ten years ago today: The U.S.' Defense Intelligence Agency produced an internal report identified the events of April 1994 as "a systematic execution of prominent Tutsi and moderate Hutu" and used the word "genocide" at a time when U.S. officials would not use the word in their public statements.

CNN aired a report on Rwanda acknowledging the political complexities in the killings, involving hardline Hutu and the Hutu opposition as well as Tutsi.

On this day, in the town of Muhazi north of Kigali, 29-year-old farmer Alfred Kirukura killed three people with a machete - a Tutsi and two Hutu - whom he had known since childhood. He told Associated Press:

"They said, 'We are friends! We shared the same classroom!"'

This week:

In a country with only one psychiatric hospital, Rwandans are still suffering psychological aftereffects of the genocide.

Posted by NYCO at 07:26 AM | Comments (1)

May 08, 2004

Day 33

Ten years ago today: About 5,000 Hutu from Kigali were seeking shelter at a stadium in Gitarama prefecture, fearing reprisals by the advancing RPF.

In Benaco camp in Tanzania, aid workers estimated that 150 tons of human feces were accumulating each day.

Several African leaders expressed reluctance to send peacekeeping troops into Rwanda on this day, including Kenya's Daniel arap Moi and Congo's Pascal Lissouba, who told Africa One Radio:

I can assure you that I feel very bad about commenting on this problem. I am too young a head of state to take the risk - given the current difficulties I am facing - of saying I will be the torch bearer, that I will initiate an appeal. By what virtue would I do that? Nevertheless, we will try to make our voices heard. Even if they are feeble, we will try to do our best to restart negotiations and so on... But with whom would we talk on the Rwandan side? This is what makes the undertaking difficult. Well, I am ashamed.

Vestine Mukarubayiza, a survivor of the genocide, was interviewed on this day by African Rights:

Sometimes on the radio I hear some individuals denying that people have been killed in Rwanda. I am here to say that hundreds and hundreds of people were killed in front of my own eyes. They were killed, I was there and I want my testimony to show this truth.

This week:

One of Rwanda's most wanted genocidaires, Yussuf Munyakazi, has been captured in the Congo. Munyakazi was the leader of the Interahamwe in Kibuye and Cyangugu prefectures.

KPIX in San Francisco is running a series of reports on Rwanda, with video.

Posted by NYCO at 04:56 AM | Comments (1)

May 07, 2004

Day 32

Ten years ago today: The aid agency World Vision warned of the possibility of a cholera outbreak in Uganda caused by the bodies floating into Lake Victoria via the Kagera River.

John Shattuck, U.S. assistant secretary of state for democracy and human rights, met with RPF leaders in Uganda on this day.

I guess the most searing moment was when we flew over the Kagera River, which was the river dividing Tanzania from Rwanda. From a couple of thousand feet, it looked like there were logs floating in the river. But as we flew lower, you could see these were bodies, and they were going down at roughly 100 a minute.

According to Human Rights Watch, authorities in Butare prefecture were stepping up efforts to locate Tutsi who were in hiding. On this day, a force of 75 men destroyed the house of Judith Mukandabalinze, a Hutu, when they learned she was hiding her Tutsi grandsons.

This week:

The Rwandan government aims to decrease the number of its government employees by 60%.

Rwanda is advertising for tourists.

Rwandan refugees in Zimbabwe don't want to go home.

Posted by NYCO at 02:45 PM | Comments (1)

May 06, 2004

Day 31

Ten years ago today: Aid flights to Kigali were suspended after a Canadian plane was hit by bullets at the airport.

Regine Niyonsaba, a Tutsi nun hiding at Sovu convent, watched her mother and sisters executed in front of her. Regine was left unharmed because she was a nun. For a fee of 7,000 francs, her relatives had the privilege of being shot to death rather than killed with machetes.

According to Human Rights Watch, the prefectural security council in Butare decided to write to local officials to tell them to discourage the rape or kidnapping of Tutsi wives of Hutu men. Violence against these Tutsi wives was a concern of many ordinary Hutu in the prefecture.

Nevertheless, in other parts of Rwanda, crimes against women continued. On this day, Leonille Mukamagera, her family and her neighbors were attacked by Hutu militia at her home, according to Newsweek.

The gang torched the houses and slaughtered most of the inhabitants as they tried to flee. Mukamagera was dragged to a windowless hut and locked inside. For the rest of that day and through the following night, one of the militiamen silently and repeatedly raped her on the dirt floor. In the morning, after the men left, she crawled out of the darkness. Near the smoking rubble of her house she found the dead bodies of her husband, her brother and her mother. Her four children were missing; she was crazy with grief until they reappeared, unhurt. A few weeks later she learned she was pregnant.

This week:

Rwanda sends troops to the Uganda border region to stave off a possible Interahamwe attack.

In Sovu today, Tutsi and Hutu try uneasily to live together through difficult times.

Alice Nikuze and Eugene Shyaka are in love.

Posted by NYCO at 03:10 PM | Comments (1)

May 05, 2004

Day 30

Ten years ago today: The Pentagon refused calls to knock out RTLM transmitters. RTLM was still coordinating the killings. The Pentagon cited high expense ($8,500 per hour for a plane) and illegality of the operation and decided the operation was not feasible.

National security advisor Tony Lake and General Wesley Clark gave a press briefing on U.S. peacekeeping policy.

By this day the Benaco refugee camp in Tanzania spread over 20 square miles and was Tanzania's second largest "city." 13 people died in the camp on this day.

Heavy fighting between RPF and the Rwandan army pounded Kigali on this day. Uganda's president, Yoweri Museveni, urged the RPF to accept outside intervention in ending the genocidal attacks in an interview in the Guardian:

The international community - some of them don't know that it is the policy of government in Rwanda to use genocide as an instrument of eliminating opposition. I think if there was that understanding then the view of the situation would change... The RPF needs to give the chance to the international community. Because now people think it's merely a struggle for power by the two groups... The Rwandese parties, and the parties in Burundi, must know that mismanagement in their countries also affects other countries. So they cannot say their problem is entirely internal . . . Genocide isn't part of internal affairs. Internal affairs is how you govern yourself. But genocide has never been part of internal affairs... One weakness of international involvement is that they don't talk on the basis of justice. They don't ask the question of who is right and who is wrong in this case. They just come and want to smother the problems - to put a canvas over rotten eggs. And as long as the smell in the room is suppressed then the problem is solved.

This week:

Eugenie Muhayimana and other Rwandan women deal with motherhood and AIDS.

The HIV/AIDS Quilt for Rwanda.


Posted by NYCO at 10:09 AM | Comments (1)

May 04, 2004

Day 29

Ten years ago today: Mortar rounds fell on UN compounds in Kigali on this day, and at least four UNAMIR soldiers were wounded this week. Less than 500 UNAMIR soldiers remained in the country.

Msgr. Augustin Misago, bishop of Gikorongo, told a group of Tutsi schoolchildren at Kibeho that police would protect them. Eighty-two of the children were killed a few days later. According to Philip Gourevitch, Misago later reflected,

What could I do?... The unfortunate thing was that among those policemen there were some accomplices of the Interahamwe. I couldn't have known that. These decisions were made in the army... First we were badly informed, and then we were powerless to fix the situation... one does not imagine that a person will kill children... When men become like devils, and you don't have an army, what can you do?... To my knowledge, no official of the Church publicly declared anything that was happening to be unacceptable.

By this day, about 75% of the Tutsi in Rwanda were dead, and militia were now beginning to target those Hutu thought to be moderates or non-supporters of Hutu Power. Aman, a Hutu, tells his story.

A refugee in the Benako camp in Tanzania told Agence France Presse about why he fled the advancing RPF:

They killed everyone in their path. My wife and my children are dead... The Hutu militia were just as bad. I sheltered Tutsis in my house who were afraid of being massacred.

This week:

Some Hutu feel trapped into staying with the Rwandan Hutu rebel militia in the Congo.

Posted by NYCO at 07:09 AM | Comments (1)

May 03, 2004

Day 28

Ten years ago today: Bill Clinton signed Presidential Decision Directive 25, which was designed to limit U.S. involvement in international peacekeeping operations.

Pope John Paul II issued a condemnation of the slaughter.

Jean Kambanda, prime minister of the interim Rwandan government, was asked at a meeting on this day to personally intervene to ensure the safety of children who had survived the massacre at Butare University hospital. Kambanda did not respond. Soon after, the children in question were killed.

On this day, according to Human Rights Watch, UNAMIR forces attempted to evacuate some of the people who had been hiding at the Hotel des Milles Collines, intending to deliver them to the airport for a flight to Belgium. They had been promised safe conduct by the Rwandan authorities, but were soon surrounded by militia, who had been summoned to the scene by a RTLM broadcast. The Tutsi refugees were beaten and in the end were ordered back to the hotel.

Rwandan foreign minister Jerome Bicamumpaka, interviewed by NTV in Germany, claimed the estimates of 100,000 dead were "grossly exaggerated," and offered his own estimate of 10,000 dead.

On this day, Radio Uganda reported that hundreds of bodies had floated from Rwanda into Lake Victoria:

At the moment, the bodies are being buried within meters of the shore and in shallow graves of less than one meter deep. Local officials complain that the water table is high... and when they bury the bodies, dogs are exhuming them again.

Observers on the Kagera River between Rwanda and Tanzania noted that bodies were floating by once every two minutes.

Philippe Gaillard of the Red Cross, speaking on Belgian radio, reported on conditions in Kigali:

People are beginning to be extremely hungry in all the places where they congregate in Kigali and everywhere else in the country... Numerous humanitarian organizations should come to Rwanda, they should not forget these people, who I think have sunk into madness, whichever side they may belong to. I believe that everyone is desperate, and that one does anything out of despair. I believe that a time-bomb has been set in Rwanda which is beyond the control of those who invented it.

This week:

Newsday has a special interactive feature on Rwanda (requires Flash).

Posted by NYCO at 07:11 AM | Comments (1)

May 02, 2004

Day 27

Ten years ago today: Kofi Annan, then leader of UN's peacekeeping operations, testified before the U.S. Senate:

When the Belgians left it was clear that the U.N. could not implement the mandate it had, and either the mandate had to be changed, or reinforcements introduced ... If the council is going to recommend reinforcement, the reinforcement that goes in has to be well equipped, very mobile, and also able to protect itself. If we do not send in that kind of reinforcement ... then I'm not quite sure they'll be able to bring about a sort of law and order ... that will lead to the end of the massacres ... here we are watching people being deprived of the most fundamental of rights, the right to life, and yet we seem a bit helpless.

The United States pledged $15 million in humanitarian assistance for Rwanda.

UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali asked the Organization of African Unity to send troops to create a "military presence on the ground... to contain the genocide."

The RPF on this day controlled Rwanda's northwest to southeast, but were still fighting to take Kigali. Human rights groups expressed dismay over their rejection of foreign intervention.

Georges Ruggiu, a Belgian national who broadcast anti-Tutsi propaganda via RTLM, today denied he had incited Rwandans to kill Belgian soldiers in the beginning of April.

On this day, according to Human Rights Watch, refugees who still remained at the university in Butare were told to go to the prefecture office in town, where they would supposedly be taken home to their own areas.

When we arrived, we were surrounded by Interahamwe, they encircled us. A soldier tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I was a student from the university. I said that I was. He asked if I was alone, and I said that no, I was with another student. He asked us to follow him. He took us to the brigade. There was a crowd of people there, and they beat us. After they were done, they told us to leave. We went outside, and when we went out, another soldier tapped me on the shoulder. He asked if I knew him and I said no. And he asked if I knew what this was, and he handed me my identity card. He said that he was the soldier who was supposed to have killed me but let me go....He said that he would help me and so he escorted me to Cyarwa. I really do not know why.

This week:

Paul Kagame denies that Rwandan troops have been in the Congo, but threatens to send them in "in broad daylight" if Rwandan Hutu rebels continue to attack Rwanda from the Congo, as alleged.

Grace Chanzaire and her family live with the aftermath of crimes against women during 1994, as does Alphoncina Mutuze and her son Gervais.

A map and facts about current-day Rwanda.

Posted by NYCO at 04:30 AM | Comments (1)

May 01, 2004

Day 26

Ten years ago today: The Pentagon warned State Department lawyers about using the term "genocide" relating to the Rwandan situation, as it could
be interpreted as committing the U.S. to intervention:

Be careful, Legal at State was worried about this yesterday - Genocide finding could commit USG [US Government] to 'do something.'

According to Human Rights Watch, militia killed 200 at Nyunda church and 30 orphans and Rwandan Red Cross workers in Butare.

In Kigali, the Sainte Famille church, where 2,000 people were sheltering, was bombarded during an exchange of fire between the RPF and Rwandan military forces, resulting in deaths and many injuries. On this day, the RPF announced it had no intention of negotiating for a ceasefire.

In Tanzania, where 250,000 mostly Hutu refugees were gathered, the Guardian reported on life in their new camp this day:

Hordes of refugees hunted for water, firewood and any shelter - swiftly transforming lush grassland into a giant muddy open air camp. Women uprooted grass to cover branch huts. Men chopped wood and roamed around searching for food as children ferried water containers along roads turned into rivers of mud by the rains... A fierce squall swiftly stopped the bustle around the camp, drowning out cooking fires and forcing men, women and children to scramble for cover under flimsy plastic sheets and reed mats. Some, including small children who had apparently fled with little but their clothes, stood in the rain until it passed.

In Rwanda, 200,000 were dead by this day.

This week:

Rwanda, Darfur and when genocide doesn't matter.

Posted by NYCO at 05:21 AM | Comments (1)