If you think killers are not afraid of ghosts, then you might as well think twice. What happened in the dark days of 1994, during the genocide against the Tutsi, is a true testimony.
One day, as killings intensified, thousands fled their homes,blood-thirsty Interahamwe militia stormed Zura Karuhimbi’s home at Masomo village in Ruhango district in Southern Rwanda.
The militia had been tipped off that hundreds of Tutsi were hiding in her house.When they arrived at Karuhimbi’s home, they were frightened.
Word had spread in the early days that Karuhimbi was a dangerous witch and wicked old woman. “We feared her. She was a known traditional healer,” Ngaruye told KTPress.
When they arrived, they found fire burning in her house. Karuhimbi scared the militia that her ghosts would wipe them all if they dared enter her house.
“No one dared,” she testified recently during the 21st Commemoration of the genocide against Tutsi that claimed a million lives.
But the militia kept returning, and threatening her. “They wanted to check inside the house to see if there was anyone hiding,” she said.
They mounted pressure and one day they decided, enough with the scare. She took the risk and let it loose. They entered. Just as they entered, they were greeted with itchy and colossal herbal substances she had painted on the walls.
“They all run back telling everyone there were ghosts inside the house. “Everyone believed her ghosts were dangerous and would kill them,” says Ernest Ngaruye, one of the survivors she hid.
They all ran out of the house. They tried to bribe her with money. She rejected it and told them, “money could not cost me lives of Rwandans.”
That is how Karuhimbi, now 106 years-old, managed to save all the 100 Tutsis.
In 2009, Karuhimbi was decorated with a honorary medal for her heroic acts.
With her age, she might seem too old for anything, but she still has a good memory and some sense of humour.
She told KTPress that, “One day, President Paul Kagame visited our village and said if everyone was a witch doctor like me, genocide could not have happened.”