Kagame Ordered Shooting Down of Habyarimana’s Plane – Ruzibiza

Hirondelle News Agency

Copyright Hirondelle News Agency (Lausanne)
November 14, 2005
Posted to the web November 15, 2005
The major allegation in a book entitled “Rwanda. L’histoire secrete”
by Lieutenant Abdul Ruzibiza, recently published, is that the current
Rwandan president, Paul Kagame, ordered the shooting down of a plane
carrying former president Juvenal Habyarimana on April 6, 1994 thereby
triggering off the genocide.
“It is him who gave the order to shoot down the plane”, firmly says
35-year old Ruzibiza – a defector from the former rebel Rwandese
Patriotic Front (RPF) now in power in Kigali.
Ruzibiza claims to have been a member of the “network commando” which
shot down the plane.
His book published by editions Panama in Paris is a war diary that
retraces “the October war day by day” and the ensuing atrocities
committed by different factions especially members of the RPF.
The armed conflict which took place in Rwanda between October 1990 and
July 1994 was christened the “October War”.
Nearly all books on the Rwandan genocide gave a wide coverage to human
rights violations committed by the government side but very little has
been documented in the zone controlled by the RPF.
As an “insider”, Ruzibiza was on many fronts and had first hand
information on what went on in the “liberated” zones where the
population was huddled together and killed en masse.
Ruzibiza does not hesitate to use the term “genocide of Hutus” and
according to him, the rebel high command “had given orders to
commanders of different units and intelligence officers to kill as
many Hutus as possible especially if they were found grouped
The author considers April 1994 “the worst month in the history of
Rwanda”. Apart from the massive genocide of Tutsis, “a large number of
Hutu citizens were massacred because of a crime not all of them
committed; that of having exterminated Tutsis”.
Ruzibiza is quick to warn those who might be tempted to misinterpret
his book to forward the “double genocide” theory. “It should not be
understood that way. The Genocide of Hutus should neither be blamed on
Tutsis nor that of Tutsis on Hutus. The gravity of these crimes
surpasses ethnic dimensions. Those who committed these crimes are
savages who should individually answer for them”.
All specialists on Rwanda agree that the systematic massacres that
took place in Rwanda between April and July 1994 were triggered off by
the assassination of President Juvenal Habyarimana on the night of
April 6, 1994.
Grabbing power
Of the 491 pages in the book, Ruzibiza narrates in 15 pages details of
the preparation of the air attack and points out the authors.
According to him, Paul Kagame chaired many meetings to plan the
assassination, the last of which was held at the RPF headquarters in
Mulindi (Byumba, northern Rwanda) on March 31, 1994.
Many of Kagame’s associates were present, among them Colonels Kayumba
Nyamwasa, Theoneste Lizinde and Lieutenant Colonel James Kabarebe.
In Ruzibiza’s opinion, Habyarimana’s death “was not an answer to
Rwanda’s ills but a way to grab power”.
The author continues that the RPF first considered shooting
Habyarimana “at close range on the route” but that that option was
abandoned because he had reduced his travel by road.
The only remaining possibility was shooting down his plane. RPF then
decided to transport to Kigali SA-16 missiles from the Ugandan
arsenal. They could shoot the plane as it landed at Kigali airport.
The RPF managed to smuggle the missiles into Kigali by hoodwinking the
Ghanaian contingent of the UN peacekeepers.
The weapon “was chosen because of its power, speed, and preheating
which took less time”.
Habyarimana “was almost killed on April 5, 1994 as he returned from
Zaire, but it was not possible to place the missiles at the site in
broad daylight”.
The right occasion came up the next day when the president was
returning from Dar es Salaam. He arrived over Kigali as night was
Missiles had been placed on Masaka hill. Lizinde, a former officer in
the Rwandan army, had picked out the spot.
The attack was carried out by two gunmen, a soldier who was deployed
to protect them and a driver.
“The first person to fire, Captain Eric Hakizimana, touched the plane
on its right wing but without bringing it down. 2nd Lieutenant Frank
Nziza sent the next missile flying 3-4 seconds later and shot down the
“I am an eye witness to what took place when the SA-16 was fired
because I was present”, writes Ruzibiza.
After the attack, soldiers of the RPF who had been readied in advance
were assembled to immediately launch attacks which culminated in the
fall of Kigali on July 4, 1994.

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