From DRC Jungles to Jail: Genocide Architect Mukandutiye Starts Life Sentence in Rwanda

L-R: Angeline Mukandutiye in 1994. Angeline Mukandutiye upon repatriation mid December 2019

The name may not sound common to people who were not in the country during the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.

However, any Genocide survivor from Kigali will almost get traumatised if you mention the Education inspector of Nyarugenge  during the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi– Angeline Mukandutiye.

She is a woman who actively participated in the Genocide, mainly by training and arming Interahamwe militia in collaboration with Colonel Renzaho Tharcisse who was the prefect of Kigali Ville during the Genocide.

Renzaho was sentenced to life in jail by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha.

When the Rwanda Patriotic Front(RPF) Inkotanyi stopped the Genocide, the lady ran to the Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC) – then Zaïre.

Gacaca jurisdication sentenced her to life sentence in absentia, and genocide survivors thought she would never be found to pay the price.

Last week, Mukandutiye was found among an estimated 200 dependents of Rwandan negative groups that were handed to Rwanda by DRC defence force.

Upon arrival in Rwanda, people mainly genocide survivors of Kigali killings circulated her photo – demanding authorities to confirm whether this was Mukandutiye.

Some recounted her heinous acts as if it happened yesterday.

Later on Saturday afternoon, the Minister of State in Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Olivier Nduhungirehe took to Twitter and said; “One of the benefits of FARDC military operations against #FDLR & other terrorist organisations in eastern DRC is the rapatriation of Interahamwe leaders. This is Angeline Mukandutiye, an overzealous génocidaire who killed many Tutsi in Nyarugenge, including #SainteFamille Church.”

Indeed, people who knew Mukandutiye tipped justice officials about the arrival of Mukandutiye, and today, she was arrested and sent to Megeragere sector, to start serving  life Sentence in Kigali central prison.

“Angeline Mukandutiye has a valid unserved Gacaca life sentence. She is now at Mageragere Correctional Facility,” tweeted Johnston Busingye, Minister of Justice and attorney General.

People who know her behavior during the Genocide reacted and welcomed the move.

 Who is Mukandutiye, what did she do during the Genocide?

Mukandutiye is native of Giciye Commune, former Gisenyi Prefecture and was married to Jean Sahunkuye, from the family of  former President Juvénal Habyarimana.

A source who served with her in Prefecture de la Ville de Kigali until 1994 said that during the Genocide, she showed an impression of being a good person who was in good terms with Tutsi.

But when her relative, Colonel Gervais Rwendeye was killed in an ambush laid by the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) in 1990, she showed her true colors.

She lobbied to have the existing conseiller of Rugenge ousted and she was successful because she was an influential woman. The then conseiller was replaced by one Odette Nyirabegenzi.

Interahamwe boss

A former Interahamwe militiaman whose family was Mukandutiye’s neighbor, said the latter was a trainer of Interahamwe.

“Mukandutiye was my mother’s friend and neighbour. She came and said she wanted me to join Interahamwe. The choice was clear; to go or to refuse and expose my family, so I followed her,” the source said.

The source underwent a two-week training alongside 183 other militiamen in Mukandutiye’s compound in Rugenge Sector, behind the current Social Security Board headquarters.

They were taught how to handle guns by a senior government military officer who was specifically appointed by his commanders just for the job.

After the training, the network in charge of distributing weapons was created. Renzaho would send them to Mukandutiye, who in turn dispatched them to the Interahamwe.

Mukandutiye supervised elections of the Interahamwe committee in the sector; the source was elected vice-president.

Among the attacks the source remembers include one at Centre d’Aprentissage des Langues Africaine (CELA), near Saint Paul church where more than 70 Tutsi were killed on April 21.

Mukandutiye would lead every attack. She would wear a military jacket and carry a gun. Prior to attacking, she briefed the group and planned for night patrols and roadblocks. She demanded daily reports.

She and  Nyirabagenzi   provided lists of Tutsi to be killed.

Some of Mukandutiye’s victims includes Andreya Kameya, editor of Rwanda Rushya newspaper and a senior member of the Liberal Party (PL).

Mukandutiye and her men discovered Kameya’s hiding place, tied him to a car and dragged him around the main roundabout of Kigali.




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