Esperance Uwineza has been thinking of reuniting with her husband after he escaped from the FDLR command base at Mweso, Masisi in DRCongo.
The absence of her husband from his base caused trouble for his wife. She was hunted – survived a fierce attack by the militia group. And when she finally also escaped, she helped two senior officers leave with her.
On May12, Jean Claude Ntagisanimana a commander at the rank of Major in the Force Democratique pour la Liberation du Rwanda (FDLR) decided it was over and didn’t report for duty but surrendered to the UN Mission (Monusco) base and was later repatriated to Rwanda with two of his children.
On Friday morning Uwineza 36, also crossed into Rwanda with a one year old baby. She looked very exhausted and is recovering from bullets wounds she sustained during the fight with the militia.
“Two days after my husband escaped to Rwanda, three combatants and a Congolese policeman came to my house at midnight and asked me to indicate where my husband was,” Uwineza told KT Press.
She told the combatants that her husband was on duty but, ” the policeman who led the combatants to my house cocked his gun.”
Realising that her life was in danger, Uwineza proposed an offer of $500 to the militia to leave her alone. However, she was surprised when the militiamen asked to say her last prayer.
“I proposed an offer because I knew they like money so much, but they refused it,” She said, “when I insisted, they snatched my baby and threw her out through the window.”
Uwineza said it had become a matter of life and death. She attacked the Policeman grabbing his gun but the policeman couldn’t let go. She managed to shoot all the bullets in the air.
“The policeman called for help from the three FDLR combatants outside the house and when the first one arrived, I fiercely held the policeman by the throat while strangling him,” she said.
“When the combatant shot at me, I turned the policeman into a shield. He was shot several times and severely injured.”
Uwineza said she later jumped at the militiaman and grabbed his gun preventing him from shooting her.
Later all the three combatants were in the house. They tried shooting her but failed to target her and in the process all run-out of bullets.
“After the gun fight failed, they searched for a machete in the house to finish me, but they did not find any until the neighbours intervened and they escaped,” she said.
Uwineza found her child alive outside and rushed her to Mweso hospital. While at hospital she said her husband called her from Rwanda and asked her not to return home but to come to Rwanda.
Another FDLR Capt. Callixte Kayibanda 63, their family friend visited her at hospital and she told him of the plan to flee to Rwanda. The elderly Kayibanda agreed to join her in the escape and also tipped his other colleague Maj.Felix Bagaragaza.
However, when the combatants pursued Uwineza at the hospital, they did not find her. She had found her way to the UN Mission (Monusco) base which facilitated her repatriation.
She arrived in Rwanda in company with other 24 members including; Maj. Bagaragaza who was a judge within FDLR and Captain Kayibanda and Habyarimana Jean Baptiste 30, who was a serving soldier in Congolese army.