February 28, 2020

How 581 Tons of Machetes Were Purchased for Genocide

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The machetes became the must have tool during the genocide

In February 1994 a representative of CHILLINGTON, a manufacturing company which makes machetes among other things, reported that the company sold more machetes in one moth than it had sold throughout the year 1993.

Applications for import licenses examined by Human Rights Watch between January 1993 and March 1994 show that 581 tons of machetes were imported into Rwanda.

These machetes were ordered for a total of 95 million Rwandan francs paid for by Félicien KABUGA, who was later found to be one of the chief funders of the genocide.

In a report on 24th November 1994, the Sunday Times newspaper in London reported that in 1993, CHILLINGTON sold 1600 machetes to two individuals, Eugène MBARUSHIMANA and François BURASA. The two were employees of Rwanda export company, RWANDEX. One of the employees, Mbarushimana was also Kabuga’s son in law, and Secretary-general of the Interahamwe militias nationwide.

The Interahamwe militias were main perpetrators of the genocide, the wielders of machetes and other implements of mass murder and torture.

François Burasa was also a dyed in the wool extremist. He was a member of the CDR, and brother to the party’s leader, Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza. This was a party which took issue with other extremist organisations for their lack of sufficient vigour and enthusiasm for exterminating the Tutsi.

The machetes were to be distributed to civilians who had been given military training, and formed into the so called civil self-defence, who in reality were murder squads.

These were the same ‘civilian defense forces’ in Bagosora’splan in which some of them would be equipped with fire arms while others would be supplied with cold weapons including machetes.

Here are more of the actions carried out between 23 and 29 February from 1991-1994, which have been prepared by the National Commission to fight against Genocide (CNLG) as it continues to highlight some of the actions that were taken as part of the planning for the Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi in 1994. Rwanda and the world are preparing for the 26th commemoration in April.

  • The launch of the extremist CDR party

The extremist party which has proclaimed itself Coalition for the Defense of the Republic (CDR) has played a big role in genocidal propaganda, whether in its preparation, whether by calling on the Hutu to join forces in order to exterminate the Tutsi. The idea to create the CDR was born from different meetings which were held at the National University of Rwanda, Nyakinama campus, between 22/10/1991 and 17/1/1992.

These meetings brought together Hutu extremists from Ruhengeri and Gisenyi who were in the public administration, united by hatred of Tutsi. This small group has given itself the name of Circle of Progressive Republicans, directed by Charles Ndereyehe Ntahontuye from the former commune of Cyabingo, Ruhengeri. He was in charge of the Gikongoro agricultural project (PDAG = Gikongoro agricultural development project).

On 02/22/1992, the validation meeting of the structure of the CDR party took place at the Urugwiro hotel in Kigali, gathering 10 most extremist members who proclaimed that they created the Coalition for the Defense of the Republic (CDR) in French, in Kinyarwanda they adopted the name Impuzamugambi Ziharanira Repubulika. These people who created the CDR are: Bucyana Martin, Nahimana Théoneste, Misago Rutegesha Antoine, Mugimba Jean Baptiste, Uwamariya Béatrice, Higiro Céléstin, Nzaramba Céléstin, Akimanizanye Emmanuel, Hitimama Athanase and Simbizi Stanislas. We will always remember those people who stood out in the most abject wickedness, creating the extremist party which organized the genocide which killed more than a million victims between April and July 1994

  • Marcel DEBARGE, French Minister for Cooperation, called on all those opposed to President Habyarimana to come together in the fight against the RPF

On 23rd February 1993, France sent its minister for cooperation Marcel Debarge to Rwanda. As well as his visit to president Habyarimana, he also met with representatives of all political parties in opposition to Habyarimana. In discussions with opposition parties, he called on them to suspend their opposition to president Habyarimana, and instead form a “common front” against the RPF. The logic was that with such a united front, the Rwandan government would then be able to prevent implementation of the agreement signed at the Arusha Peace talks, which stipulated the establishment of transitional institutions, involving all the parties, including the RPF.

With such support from a senior French minister, the extremists making preparations for genocide were encouraged to continue with their plans, confident that like the France was opposed to any peaceful resolution put in place at the Arusha peace talks, and would support their cause under any circumstances. They accelerated their preparations for the apocalypse they had threatened to unleash.

On the same day that Debarge had shown his support, violence against Tutsi, including murder were carried out in several areas around Kigali, with many fleeing their homes to take refuge with UNAMIR troops stationed at Amahoro National Stadium and others to MAGERWA in Gikondo.

  • A group of French citizens has unsuccessfully denounced the French commitment to support the Rwandan criminal regime

On 23rd February 1993, the “Federation of French abroad” Burundi section, sent a letter of protest to the Socialist Party of president Mitterrand, denouncing France’s support for Rwandan criminal regime : “ Rwanda is more than ever on fire and drowning in blood. International organizations have rationalized away several mass graves. General Habyarimana’s militias are massacring the Tutsi population with impunity. (…) the French military intervention in Rwanda has neither succeeded in avoiding massacres nor in restoring peace in the region. Worse, it now appears that the presence of French military in that country is using international protection as cover to allow general Habyarimana to order more atrocities”.

On 23rd February 1993, the right wing French Republican Party, also denounced France’s role. “The republican Party would like to express grave reservations about committing the French military to these missions which appear political, rather than humanitarian. The French Government seems locked into sending more and more troops, day by day. The Republican Party calls on the Government to realise that its support of a regime which has no interest in democracy, on the pretext of protecting French nationals, will prove detrimental to France’s image in Africa”.

On 28th February 1993, the International Secretariat of the Socialist Party published a declaration with Agence France Presse (AFP), signed by Gérard Fuchs, head of French diaspora in Burundi. The declaration warned: “I question the decision to send more French troops to Rwanda, given that human rights violations by general Habyarimana’s regime show no sign of stopping, and instead multiply. I hope our minister of cooperation will find more convincing reasons in Kigali for a military presence which at the moment appears designed to help a dictatorial regime, or have French forces pulled out”.

Senior French politicians disassociate themselves from France’s support policy of support for the Habyarimana government

Two ministers, former Prime Minister Michel Rocard and former defense minister Pierre Joxe, publicly declared their stand against France’s Rwandan policy at the beginning of 1993. In a letter to President Mitterrand on 23rd February 1993, Pierre Joxe unambiguously expressed his reservations about France’s Rwandan policy. “I remain concerned about our position in Rwanda and the role of our 690 soldiers there, with a Rwandan army that no longer seems able to fight. […] And the sending of two additional contingents in the face of widespread opposition to such support encourages Habyarimana to feel that he is France’s most protected of African leaders. This is not the best way to get him to make the necessary concessions. He remains politically inflexible, despite his inability to mobilise his own army. If the RPF regains its advances, our soldiers could find themselves facing the rebels in a matter of hours. Discounting direct intervention, the only remaining way to exert some pressure, is if he feels that there is a possibility of our disengagement”.

On 24/2/1993, four Rwandan human rights associations wrote to French President François Mitterrand, asking him to put pressure on Habyarimana’s bloodthirsty regime. Instead of answering them, his advisers told him to strongly support the Rwandan army, providing it with military advisers, and weapons so that it would become more powerful than the RPF.

All this shows that all the French, including those who were in France’s governing bodies, did not agree with President Mitterrand on the military, political, financial and diplomatic aid that this country gave to Rwanda. They must be thanked for this civic engagement.

  • The creation of Hutu Power bringing together the parties MRND, CDR, MDR, PSD and PL

On 25th February 1994, the leadership of Interahamwe held an important meeting, under the chairmanship of their overall leader, Robert Kajuga. The meeting urged all the Interahamwe to keep all Tutsi under close observation, especially those who had been already put on lists to be murdered. They were put on standby, ready to use the distributed fire arms, and other weapons. They were reminded to work closely with Impuzamugambi, the extremist CDR’s own militia, and all the political parties which shared, or were supportive of the extremist Hutu Power ideology. Parties like MDR (Republican Democratic Movement), PSD (Social Democratic Party) and PL (Liberal Party).

This union of forces joined that of the small parties allied to the MRND, namely the PECO (Ecological Party), PDI (Islamic Democratic Party), PADER (Rwandan Democratic Party), RTD (Workers’ Rally for Democracy), MFBP (Movement of Women and lower people) and PPJR (Progressive Party for Rwandan Youth).

On the same date, the Association of Peace Volunteers (AVP), a Rwandan human rights organization, issued a statement in which it denounced the existence of a plan for massacres, hate speech broadcast on the extremist RTLM radio. They published a list of the victims of state orchestrated murders, especially around Kigali, and sent an urgent appeal to UNAMIR to bring to an end the state sponsored murders.

On 27/2/1994, responsables of the Interahamwe, as well as other senior MRND officials including Michel Bagaragaza, Joseph Nzirorera, Augustin Ngirabatware, Claver Mvuyekure, Pasteur Musabe, Seraphin Rwabukumba and Kajuga Robert met at the Rebero Hotel and decided to create and finance a force to exterminate the Tutsi.

  • Continued purchase of weapons against the United Nations embargo

On 27th February 1994, a memorandum from the Belgian intelligence services outlined the continuing traffic of arms to the Rwandan army in spite of a UN Security Council arms embargo. To bypass the embargo, arms were purchased through the Angolan rebel movement of Jonas Savimbi, UNITA, which was fighting the left wing government of Angola, with western support; the arms went through Kamina military camp in the democratic Republic of Congo, then Zaïre, through to Goma airport, and then across the border into Rwanda via Gisenyi. And all this was done with full knowledge of the UN mission in Rwanda, UNAMIR, and Western diplomatic missions in Rwanda.

On this date, general Dallaire again requested permission to confiscate weapons and expressed his fears of the imminence of a civil war. The United Nations reminded him that his mandate was limited to overseeing the establishment of the transitional institutions.

Between February 25-28, 1994, massacres and violence against Tutsi forced them to seek refuge with UNAMIR. This is how it opened two reception sites, one next to the AMAHORO national stadium; the other in MAGERWA warehouses in Gikondo

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