Home NewsNational The Witness Who ‘Resisted’ Interahamwe’s Sexual Assault

The Witness Who ‘Resisted’ Interahamwe’s Sexual Assault

by Jean de la Croix Tabaro
9:30 pm

Seraphin Twahirwa

The Court of Assize of Brussels continues to hear the case of two Genocide suspects Seraphin Twahirwa and Pierre Basabose who are alleged to have committed Genocide offenses and crimes against humanity in Karambo and Gikondo-Kicukiro district respectively, among other areas.

The crimes are related to the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda where more than one million Tutsi perished in three consecutive months, April-May, June and early July 1994.

As it has been the case for the last four weeks, November  hearings are coming with more emotional and strong revelations from the witnesses which, in most cases, shock the audience.

Last week, the court heard a series of witnesses who include brothers and sisters and neighbors who allegedly know pretty well the suspects, mostly Twahirwa who has been the talk of the city this far.

The list include a female witness aged 56 who happened to be the sister-in-law of Twahirwa’s wife.

The woman who was in Brussels last week for the testimony first of all introduced her testimony while saying that all was well at the beginning when her husband introduced her to Twahirwa’s family in 1990.

However, said the witness, Twahirwa started showing his true colors since October 2,1990 on hearing the invasion of Rwanda by the Rwanda Patriotic Army(RPA) Inkotanyi from the Eastern, then Northern Province.

The witness said, that Twahirwa’s hostility against the Tutsi gradually changed from bad to worse in 1992 when the hunt of the tutsi became more or less official.

“Twahirwa’s wife was running a small shop on the home compound, but when training the death squad, started, the husband ordered her to close the business, and used the space for shelter of interahamwe militia,” she said.

The witness’ husband was a driver of a trans-border truck who used to ply the road Kigali-Nairobi and when he was away, she said, Twahirwa would come at night to “try to rape her.”

“He would come during wee-hours escorted by his militiamen. One day he came and our night guard opened him the gate because none would afford to refuse the interahamwe boss to enter. He came straight to the window and knocked, asking me to open so he pays a visit,” the witness recalls.

“He insisted, but I also resisted, told him that she could come during the day if he needed to be considered a welcome visitor. In the end, she returned home with his men.”

Twahirwa would have made two more attempts without succeeding, which created strong anger and hatred against her target.

“After this, he sent Interahamwe to warn me that I had to close a small shop that I was running or else, die,” she said.

“They even reached an extent to warn me that I should not use the road. I was obliged to use rat-runs.”

After sex, said the witness, the other thing Twahirwa loved most was Wisky. Every Tutsi who wanted to live a couple of days would accept the order of Twahirwa to bring him a bottle of Wisky as much as he wanted it.

One day, a Tutsi man brought the present of Wisky to Twahirwa and asked him: “Why in the world are you persecuting that wife? And Twahirwa was straight:”Because she refused to satisfy my sexual desire.”

The court of Assize is set to hear twelve witnesses who alleged that Twahirwa in person raped them. His wife now in Kenya, at the beginning of the trial said that her husband grabbed her by force and raped her to call her a wife against her consent.

Back to the witness, she was at home one night when her guard who had children in Interahamwe militia came to warn her: “You will die tonight.” and she fled the place.

Indeed, late at night the Interahamwe came, broke the door and did not find her. She struggled but managed to make it to Gitarama in Southern Province.

Unfortunately, the witness did not reveal to her husband what she used to go through while he was away.

The day he came back from the trip, he had brought a whisky bottle to Twahirwa who told him to bring back the wife “for her safety.”

However, the wife refused, but her husband stayed at Twahirwa, expecting the safe haven.

Twahirwa ordered interahamwe to kill him first and they shot him dead. “After the genocide, I found the body of my husband in the middle of two houses at Twahirwa’s where dogs had started eating him up.”

“Twahirwa was such a bad man that he would kill someone while laughing,” said the witness.

In Gitarama where she had fled, the witness was not very lucky. Harouna, a man who had hid her started being suspected and fellow interahamwe requested him to hand over this wife.

When he understood that things would not be easy because he also had a Tutsi wife,  Harouna decided to escape with the two in Mayaga, in the far south.

He was elected president of Interahamwe, and thus, obliged to hunt the Tutsi himself. The witness again started hiding, and in the process, her son fell sick and died slightly after the Genocide.

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