Stories from Muhanga Prison 

My mother left my father when I was only two years old. I had no time to go to school, because I had to start working when I was very young to make sure we were able to survive. When I turned 16, I started to be in conflict with my father. In that period, he got married to another woman. He no longer took care of my. He only cared for the children of his new wife. In addition, my stepmother mistreated me.  

I got married when I was 22 years old. After two years we conceived a son. I was worried that I was bewitched by the wife of my father, because normally you would expect a child much faster after marriage. Just before genocide started we had three children. We first heard about the genocide happening in other sectors and cells. In our district we defended ourselves, led by our sector leader who opposed the genocide. However, our sector leader was killed. Then the Interahamwe came. They were very strong. They looked for young, strong men who could help them. Next, people in our neighborhood were killed. I participated in the killings. First we killed five Tutsis. We used to look for Tutsis, kill them, and then throw them in the river. We were more than 100 people doing this. The first family I killed were my neighbors. They were hiding at another family’s house. The military found them, and then we killed them. During my second attack, I was together with a group of Interahamwe. We killed two children who were hiding in a family. The men that were hiding them shared this information with us. When we found them, we killed them immediately.   

It was almost May when the killings ended and when we started to loot property only. When the RPF arrived in May, we ran away. I was hiding a Tutsi in my house, including my biological mother. Even though I had been participating in the attacks, I fled to Kibuye together with Tutsi people. From there I decided to go to a refugee camp in Congo. In 2003, I left Congo and went to Zambia. Because I missed my family a lot, I finally decided to return to Rwanda in 2010. We first went to the Eastern province. From there, my family and I were repatriated to a village in Nyagatare district. I spent there almost one year. In November 2011 I was arrested. The Gacaca courts were closing in that period and I had been sentenced in absence. The judges only read the judgment and I was immediately arrested. During my imprisonment I said to myself: “If I could have the opportunity to talk and share in the Gacaca courts what happened during the genocide, my sentence could be reduced.” This knowledge or idea frustrated me a lot. When sociotherapy was introduced in Muhanga prison, I participated in it. It was for the first time that I started thinkin about the family of the victims, instead of my own suffering.  

After participating in sociotherapy I became very open. I started writing letters to my victims. I wrote what I had done and asked for forgiveness. I also talked to my wife and told her about the two children I had killed, and the place where they were buried. My wife visited one of the ladies of that family. Together they found the bodies. These are now buried in dignity. After this, my first born came to visit me in 2014. He said: “I am happy that you are writing the letters. I wanted to join the army, but I thought, how can a son of an Interahamwe join the national army? But now that you told the truth to people in the community, I can feel released.” He joined the army in 2014. In 2015, even my second son joined. I am very happy that they can do something good for the country. 

I can say that sociotherapy enlightened me and helped me to understand the crimes I committed. I am ready to tell the whole truth about the genocide-related crimes I committed. I call upon other inmates to overcome the fear and to disclose their stories, as this will help to heal ourselves and our country. 

I got married when I was 22 years old. After two years we conceived a son. I was worried that I was bewitched by the wife of my father, because normally you would expect a child much faster after marriage. Just before genocide started we had three children. We first heard about the genocide happening in other sectors and cells. In our district we defended ourselves, led by our sector leader who opposed the genocide. However, our sector leader was killed. Then the Interahamwe came. They were very strong. They looked for young, strong men who could help them. Next, people in our neighborhood were killed. I participated in the killings. First we killed five Tutsis. We used to look for Tutsis, kill them, and then throw them in the river. We were more than 100 people doing this. The first family I killed were my neighbors. They were hiding at another family’s house. The military found them, and then we killed them. During my second attack, I was together with a group of Interahamwe. We killed two children who were hiding in a family. The men that were hiding them shared this information with us. When we found them, we killed them immediately.