BY: Prof Charles Kambanda
President Paul Kagame’s junta appears to have staged an attack in Kinigi and Burera, Rwanda, in order to terrorize the predominantly Hutu population in the area and implicate Uganda, since Kinigi and Burera are more accessible from the Ugandan border then the DRC border.
1. The National Police issued a communiqué about the “attack” by “unknown” armed men immediately after it happened. At the same time, “Visit Rwanda” tourism promotion board issued a communiqué that the Virunga National Park was safe for tourists.
(i) It’s unusual for Kagame’s junta to issue statements about rebel attacks so quickly.
(ii) The allegation was that the attackers came from or through Virunga National Park. How did Kagame’s tourism board so quickly ascertain that Virunga was safe?
2. The Rwanda National Police communiqué appeared in the international mainstream media immediately.
(i) Who could have shared Kagame’s police communique with the mainstream international media, if not Kagame’s junta?
(ii) Who had interest in getting Kagame’s Police communique in the mainstream media so hastily?
3. Per the national police communiqué, about 14 civilians were killed. However:
(i) No Rwandan family was seen in the media claiming that they lost a person during the attack.
(ii) No dead person was identified.
(iii) A day after the incident, Kagame’s junta paraded 14 or so coffins for “burial” in a mass grave. Neither the general public nor any relative of the dead were invited to view the bodies before the coffins were dumped into a mass grave, although burial in Rwanda is always a family affair.
4. The bodies of the alleged victims of the attack were buried in a mass grave. Nobody, including families that allegedly lost their beloved ones were allowed to view the bodies before burial.
(i) Why would the bodies of the “victims” of such an attack be buried in a mass grave instead of being returned to their respective family members for proper burial?
(ii) Why didn’t Kagame’s junta allow the families and community to view the dead bodies before burial?
(iii) Did the coffins buried in the mass grave contain dead bodies?
(iv) Why would security personnel control the burials of victims of an attack in an area that the government declared to be peaceful, where no family had to flee their home because of an attack in the area?
5. We are told that the victims were killed at their homes, yet:
(i) the identity of those families and the victims is apparently a top State secret,
(ii) no family took pictures during or after the shootings,
(iii) the time when those dead bodies were collected from the different families or places where they were killed is unknown and no pictures of the “collection” exercise were taken in this era of cellphone cameras and,
(iv) no known morgue received the dead bodies.
6. Kagame’s Police announced that about 9 people were seriously injured during the attack. However:
(i) Nobody knows the hospital where the injured were taken,
(ii) the junta has not taken the media to any hospital to interview the people that were allegedly injured during the attack,
(iii) no family claims that a relative was injured during the attack and is being treated at any hospital and,
(iv) no family has shared any photo of an injured relation in a hospital or anywhere else.
7. The junta says they have killed 19 fighters of the alleged attack. However, there is no mention of the time, place and circumstances under which the alleged 19 attackers were killed. Further, pictures of the alleged killed attackers, as issued by some known junta security personnel or media, are thought- provoking:
(i) the background of some of the pictures of the alleged killed attackers is clearly a desert. Kinigi and Burera or Virunga national park in general, is fertile volcanic soil.
(ii) There is no blood or wound visible on the alleged dead bodies of the attackers. How were they killed and from where were they killed?
8. Kagame junta paraded five people who, they said, had “confessed” that they were among the attackers. These five people were allegedly captured from undisclosed places and under unknown circumstances. Per their “confession” before the media, the attackers were recruited into armed groups by unidentified individuals from Uganda. By their confession, none of the suspects appears to know Uganda well; none of them mentions any specific place in Uganda.
The alleged arrested attackers appeared coached to implicate Uganda and some opposition leaders in Rwanda and abroad. Kagame’s junta is infamous for staging attacks to implicate opposition leaders in Rwanda and abroad.
9. This type of scare tactic of alleged invasion by a neighboring country is not new and requires further investigation in order to ascertain the truth. My prayer is that Kagame and his junta are held accountable for the crimes they perpetrate against Rwandans and the neighboring communities.