Defence Minister, Gen. James Kabarebe has paid tribute to Bisesero people for bravery resisting Interahamwe militias but later killed in the hands of French soldiers.
Gen. Kabarebe today joined residents of Bisesero in current Karongi district in Western Rwanda for the 23rd commemoration of the victims of Bisesero massacre.
Bisesero is located in the hilly region of former Kibuye prefecture.
According to researchers, Bisesero region was considered a Tutsi stronghold before the genocide against Tutsi began.
In 1994, Interahamwe militia attacked this region but faced massive resistance from Tutsi.
Although Interahamwe militia received reinforcements for several months, the Tutsi armed with stones, sticks and all sorts of traditional weapons managed to resist Interahamwe siege.
However, hundreds died due to the overwhelming power of the attacks coordinated from the highest levels of the interim government led by Theodore Sindikubwabo.
Eric Nzabihimana, one of the survivors who stood to fend off militias from several attacks told mourners that the militias who were brought from adjacent regions and began occupying the hilltops.
It was from there that they strode downhill armed with the most crude weapons and guns to clear out all Tutsi then organized themselves into coordinated resistance groups.
According to Nzabihimana, on June 27, after several days of resistance, news spread quickly that white people had arrived in Bisesero to rescue them.
They were wrong. Instead, Nzabihimana said, they descended with a pool of militias and left them in their hands.
For Minister Kabarebe, “French soldiers betrayed Tutsi from Bisesero and killed them in cold blood.”
“The exception of Bisesero is that you fought for your dear lives; you fought with powerful enemy and you were also betrayed by the French that have no blood relation with Rwandans,” Gen. Kabarebe said.
More than 50,000 Tutsi were ruthlessly slaughtered after French soldiers promised Bisesero’s Tutsi to protect them against Interahamwe militia men and Government soldiers that relentlessly launched attacks against them.
Minister Kabarebe hailed Bisesero fighters for their determination and heroism manifested during the fierce fighting with killers.
“Those who were killed died bravely, their superhero resistance is a lesson we can learn from in future,” Minister Kabarebe said.