Photography & Film

I wish I could have tried to save people during the Genocide.

October 16th, 2015


I studied in a minor Catholic Seminary, I even did one year of major Seminary  but I dropped out when I finally realised that I didn’t want to be a priest. I work for an irrigation project that designs and constructs terraces. I am really happy because this is my first job in the last 13 years. We didn’t have a mattress my wife and I , so two weeks ago, when I received my salary, the first thing I did was to buy a mattress . We had a good meal  and I also paid school fees for my kids, it was cheap for two of them who are still in Primary school .  The money is finished now but it’s different this time, I know that there is money coming at the end of the month.

  • How come you didn’t have a job for many years?  You  sound like an educated man, your french is very good speak good french !
  • I was in prison for Genocide crimes. 
  • Do you mind if I ask you more questions about that ?
  • Not at all
  • How many people did you kill?
  • I never killed anyone with my  own hands, but I was among the groups that were hunting Tutsi. I was the Assistant Bourgmestre everybody was looking at me and I was scared that they will call me an enemy and kill me also. I would follow the group of people who looking for Tutsi. I never laid a hand on anyone but I never tried to save anyone either . One day a person was arrested on a roadblock when we realised  that he was Tutsi then we handed him over to a group of Burundian and  they killed him immediately. And that is why I went to prison.
  • If you could turn back the time what would you do differently?
  • I would try to save people. The people we hunted and killed had done nothing to us, I will regret all I did for the rest of my life.
  • How do you feel to be back in the community?
  • We live alongside the people we wronged. We talk,we work together and sometimes we consult each other for advices but there are times the survivors are angry at us and I can’t blame them after all they have been through. They are really trying to live with us but it is tough on them.
  • What is your plan for the future?
  • My wish is to have a banana plantation to increase my income. Bananas need a rich, dark soil and a lot of water and I am going to need a lot of fertilizer.

Photo: Alice Kayibanda

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