Rwanda: Eyewitness to Genocide

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Eyewitness Report from Rwanda
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"The following day we had rumours that Hutus were out to kill every Tutsi in the country, claiming that we, the Tutsis had killed the Hutu president. We were advised to stay indoors. I had never seen my parents so agitated and terrified all my life."

"Then there was a knock at the door and before we could even respond, the door fell in and about four or so people came in and dragged my father out by his legs. That was the last we saw of him."

"We were hiding under the bed but we could see everything. Mother told us to keep quiet. Then the shooting began."

"The bullets came in and hit everything in the way. Yet no-one dared scream. Mother could not cover all four of us."

"I could feel blood coming from under my right shoulder and I did not know whether I was hit or not. I could not feel any pain then. My mind was occupied with the terror of being hacked to death."

"Suddenly the door burst open and they came in praising themselves for a good job done. I was closer to the door and they kicked me in my belly. It was painful but the thought of being severed alive with their machetes, made me stay as quiet as a mouse."

"One of them said: 'Let's make sure that he is dead with this'. I didn't move an inch, nor did I make any noise. They must have thought that I was dead."

"I just felt a very sharp pain on my leg and I must have passed out. I don't know for how long. But when I woke up, my mother was nursing my wounded leg. I was trying to look at the wound when I lost consciousness again."

"The armed Hutu men, the Interahamwe, were scattered and patrolling every corner. The situation was tense for a very long time and we could smell the stench of the dead even inside our fenced house. We were terrified."

"We thought that those men were going to return and realise that we, a Tutsi family were still breathing. The leg was getting worse and I was feverish all the time."

"The fact that at age 11, my mother had to do everything for me, including helping me to relieve myself, drove me insane. We were running out of food. We kept praying for some rescue mission from somewhere."

"Mother peeped through the wall and saw Tutsi soldiers coming towards the house. She prayed and waited for our fate. What would it be? It was RPF (Rwanda Patriotic Front) soldiers. These were good people."

"They liberated us and freed us from our self-imposed solitary confinement. The RPF soldiers took me to the hospital. I was there for about six months."

Hamis Kamuhanda, 11 years old in 1994

Interview by BBC


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