Tuesday , 16 July 2024
‘‘ Freedoms, democracy, human rights and rights to live are none negotiable ’’


By: Rpf Gakwerere

Corporal, Thank you so much for all you are doing for our country. Having suffered in the hands of that regime, I have decided to stop being “ntibindeba” and I am ready and willing to give my contribution in whichever way.

For a month, I was held at Kicukiro Police station. In a tiny cell that is built in a way that you can hear all that’s happening outside, but no one can hear u. There are about 7 of those rooms at Kicukiro Police station some of them holding as many as 4 people per room. Despite the fact that one person can barely fit.

The conditions in these cells are inhumane and torturous. When one is held in there, he/she is handcuffed 24/7 arms and legs. When you go to the toilet you pass at the windows of the general population, but all other prisoners are made to lay face down so that no one can see you. On each window stands a policeman who is also not allowed to look at you. His job is to make sure no other detainee sees you. There’s a unit of three people who are the only ones that are allowed to come in contact with you. They are not uniformed like other officers and are very rude towards other officers, these are officers from the police’s counter intelligence unit.

Their job is to beat you when u need to be beaten, take you for interrogations and any other kind of torture. These are the officers who instructs you something, they take you to the toilet or to bring you food. Them too have no idea why you are being detained despite torturing you. They won’t ask your name or anything. They just do as they are told from above. I also believe they are the ones who do the killings when time comes.

For one month that I was there, five people were killed. All of them young boys whose crimes are common theft. There’s a way we would talk under the steel doors so all of them had been there for 3 to 4 months and they knew what was coming to them so they had made peace. They were encouraging me to be strong and just wait for my time to die. Their only prayers were that they get killed without pain.

Obviously, they had been there for long enough to know what happens there. I will never forget one called Muganda Bahati they killed him a day after his birthday on the 2nd of May. He told me he had turned 21. He told me he grew up as a street kid and he’d been arrested many times.

If DMI or counter intelligence police gets tired of arresting an individual they kidnap him hold him in secret if no one asks. They kill him. The other 5 guys didn’t say much. I suspect they were there for political reasons. If one can enter in one of those rooms. you will be terrified merely by the writings on the walls of these execution waiting cells. Every prisoner leaves a footprint in there. Its horrifying.

My ordeal is long and obviously not as bad as other fellow Rwandans are suffering but I decided I will be doing all I can to let people know what’s going on in that country. Innocent people are being killed simply for nothing, totally for nothing. For example, I was never in politics or ever criticised the government, but someone reported me to the authority on things that I didn’t do or say. But at Kicukiro police station, I was able to see and hear stories which are haunting me up today.

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