I, Eric Udahemuka, Rwandan former journalist current refugee to Australia since 20th June 2018 after 4 years and 2 months in refugee camp in Uganda, after fleeing my country Rwanda on the First April 2014, I certify that the witness I am going to deliver herein about Rusesabagina’s patriotism, compassion and heroism related to 1994 genocide committed in Rwanda is authentic and full of truth.
In 1994, I was 16 years old. Because my mother was Tutsi, and my father was Hutu, I was victim on both sides: One side Interahamwe hunted my mother and killed most innocent of my mother-side family members. On the other hand, RPF-Inkotanyi lead by current President Paul Kagame killed most of my family innocent members only because they were Hutu.
I was also the eyewitness of Kagame Paul current President of Rwanda ordering killing 3 catholic bishops and priests in the evening of Sunday, 05th June 1994 at Gakurazo in the suburb where I was born. During that tragedy, my uncle Jean Marie Vianney Rwabilinda, the Senior Bishop of Kabgayi Catholic Diocese was killed also. Until now those victims have never received justice. Holy See (Vatican) and International Community are keeping quite over!
On 19th July 1994, after the first government post genocide inauguration, we left the refugee camp in Bugesera back to our respective domicile but few days after we experienced insecurity and as my father died on 10th January 1993, my mother decided to relocate to Kigali. The new life there was very difficult because we had no income or any single job.
We get destination in the city closer to Hotel Merdien Kacyiru in front of the current UK Embassy. The sister of my mother who is called Mukabwengo Catherine living now to Los Angeles in the United States who was working in Kigali Hospital Centre, we had a doubt about whether she was killed during genocide or still alive. Fortunately, we met her in Kigali, and she explained to my mother that she was survived due to the support of Paul Rusesabagina.
She explained to us that while she was working in Kigali Central Hospital “CHK” after SEBANANI Andrea dead in her hands after being assassinated by Interahamwe, she got a phone call from the family of RUBANGURA Uzziel from Rugunga where she were living stating that they send Colonel Rwagafirita to help her leaving Hospital toward Hotel Des Mille Collines.
Mukabwengo Catherine stated in her own words that Colonel Rwagafirita reached Hospital and took her to Hotel des Mille Collines and she was shocked by seeing former minister Frederic NZAMURAMBAHO and all his family member (his wife and his children) were slaughtered by soldiers around the main round-about closer to the headquarter of Radio Rwanda. She stated that she was hidden in Hotel des Mille Collines under Rusesabagina.
She was appointed to work in King Faysal Hospital located at Kacyiru in 200 metres from Merdien Hotel and current UK Embassy Office. My mother requests her sister Catherine Mukabwengo to help us finding a job for only surviving. She shook my hands and went together into the restaurant of KANTARAMA Stephania, the wife of Peter KAREMERA. That Restaurant was in the Rubangura Tower, a famous big commercial house in the Kigali inner city.
In that restaurant, I was appointed as aid of food supply in the restaurant during 4 or 6 months preparing to go back to school. During my job, I got an opportunity to understand with my own ears that Kantarama Stephanie, Karemera Peter, Mukabwengo Catherine, Dr Gasasira, Dr Odette Nyiramirimo were all of them hidden in Hotel des Milles Collines.
How did I know this? Doctor Odette Nyiramirimo, Kantarama Stephanie, and Catherine Mukabwengo had a habit to come and share food in that restaurant of Kantarama speaking about how they were survived and appreciating the contribution of Rusesabagina for them. And Doctor Nyiramirimo started that Rusesabagina send a car to her house at Nyamirambo to take them to the Hotel des Mille Collines.
They said that without Rusesabagina, they should not still alive. Even few days after in 1995, 1996 President Paul Kagame (who were the Vice-President but, in the facto, Kagame was the real president) himself appreciated Paul Rusesagina about how he spent his time and effort to help people. Rusesabagina was the heroes for Kagame and his government. In most ceremonies, Rusesabagina was the guest of honour with many applauses by guests and participants.
How survivors-witnesses became denials of what they appreciated before?
This is the knot of the Rusesabagina case with Kagame government. Remember, I am not illiterate. I hold a bachelor’s degree of Management and I used to be Professional Journalist Editor for 10 consecutive years in Rwanda from 2004 until 2014. I had many and many opportunities to meet President Paul Kagame and I know him as well. I had opportunities to visit all corners of Rwanda. I had many opportunities to speak with catholic clergy.
Kagame is in his character a person who do not want to listen any other person becoming famous on the international scene. All problems with Paul Rusesabagina started when Paul Rusesabagina got the international medal from the White House Office under President Georges Bush appreciating the Movie Hotel Rwanda where Mr Don Cheadle played as Paul Rusesabagina focusing on how he saved thousands of Tutsi and Hutu in the Hotel des Mille Collines in Kigali during 1994.
All problems between Kagame and Rusesabagina started clearly in 2005 after Rusesabagina was awarded by the United States President Georges Bush the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Since, that period when Rusesabagina was awarded, I was journalist to Kigali.
Since that period, Kagame started his new struggle to deviate the truth about Rusesabagina. I am the witness that in 2006 and 2007, president Paul Kagame forced Mr Bernard Makuza the former prime minister, Odette Nyiramirimo senator, Peter Karemera former prefet of Butare Prefecture, Stephanie Kantarama and so many others who were hidden in Hotel Des Mille Collines to say and certify that Paul Rusesabagina did not save them but Rusesabagina has the target to kill them working together with Interahamwe militia instead.
These rumours started slowly and slowly, in media and in public up to the time these survivors spoke clearly that Rusesabagina was a criminal only for the interest of Paul Kagame and his dictator regime. Other information I investigated on is that the so-called military attack in southern side of Rwanda did not killed any civilian.
The truth is that after Kagame was aware that Rwandan who are very tired from his dictatorship started their struggle to overthrown him, Kagame sent his soldiers and kill civilians and attribute that crime to the rebellion that Kigali accuse Rusesabagina to launch which is false. Rusesabagina had never launched that struggle. The struggle was started by MRCD the coalition of 5 political parties.
With my witness certifying the heroism of Paul Rusesabagina during 1994 genocide mentioned above here, I request the Prisoner of Conscience to cooperate closely with Belgium Kingdom and Unites States Government to put more pressure to Kigali for Paul Rusesabagina’s quickly and immediate release.
Paul Rusesabagina is not a criminal, Paul Rusesabagina is the person full of charity and compassion among people of Rwandans. Paul Rusesabagina has always contributed to the fighting for freedom of Rwandan people against Paul Kagame dictatorship in peace and dialogue even if the Kagame government always rejected that hypothesis.
Kidnapping Paul Rusesabagina was a transcontinental terrorism crime done by Paul Kagame and his criminal government that they must pay in the justice if really the International justice has the equity and competencies to judge the real criminals world-wide.
Brisbane, 30 September 2020
Rwandan Refugee, former Journalist Editor in Rwanda and PoC beneficiary
*You can read Eric’s story here