A genocide survivor from Nzove, Nyarugenge district in capital Kigali has shared a testimony on father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka’s plan to see all the Tutsi exterminated during the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.
This weekend, in Nzove was held a genocide commemoration event – Kwibuka29 to pay tribute to the Tutsi who were killed and dumped in Nyabarongo river.
Félix Ahorukomeye, a genocide survivor who shared his testimony recalled how Father Munyeshyaka happened to have some links with Nzove community.
He said that 1990 found Father Munyeshya a vicair like any other.
However, after the Rwanda Patriotic Front(RPF) Inkotanyi’s launch of Rwanda liberation campaign via the Eastern Province, October 1, 1990, Father Munyeshyaka was behaving like Senior Priest of Sainte Famille, one of the famous and oldest churches of the Catholic Church in Rwanda.
He quickly “built a house in Nzove cell, Kanyinya sector where he relocated his mother Félicité Mukarukaka from Bugesera district because he didn’t want her to stay amidst the people he called cockroaches from Bugesera.”
A cockroach was a common name the extremist Hutu used while referring to the Tutsi, just to mean that they were like any small insects that deserve to be crashed with ease.
Adjacent to the home of his mother in Rutagara village, Father Munyeshyaka even built a chapel “to help the elderly like her mother who could not walk long distance to the nearest church.
Several elderly women and men built relationship with the mother of Munyeshyaka, whom they understood, was an important person of the church. Having his mother in their midst was considered an asset
Alas! They didn’t know much what was in the mind of the “Priest of the Lord”.
When the Genocide against Tutsi started, the elderly and their families did not think twice, but headed to Munyeshyaka’s mother to seek refuge, and the news reached the Priest.
“He instructed his mother never to hide any Tutsi, and with this warning, the mother sent them to the chapel saying that they would be protected there,” recalls Ahorukomeye.
One week later, said Ahorukomeye, Interahamwe militia found the Tutsi at the chapel and killed them all.
This was the same fate if the Tutsi who had taken refuge at Saint Famille Church. From the past experience, Christians believed that none could afford to follow them and kill them from the “House of God”, but during the 1994 Genocide, killers were determined to leave none to tell the story.
Munyeshyaka is accused to have played a role in the killing of the Tutsi at Sainte Famille, especially on April 14,15 and 17, 1994.
Testimonies indicate that Munyeshyaka was personally involved in the rape of the Tutsi women. A widely shared photo of Munyeshyaka shows him with a pistol on the hip during the Genocide.
At the eve of the fall of Kigali, Father Munyeshyaka fled the country with his mother and settled in France.
Two weeks ago, Father Munyeshyaka who was still ministering as a priest, was excommunicated by Pope Francis.