[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 2 April, 2004, 11:47 GMT 12:47 UK
'Taken over by Satan'
Gitera Rwamuhuzi
Gitera Rwamuhuzi: 'I saw everything'
In 1994 in the village of Nyarubuye, Rwanda, the Hutu majority went on a killing spree in the local church, slaughtering neighbours and friends.

Gitera Rwamuhuzi is one of those who took part in the genocide. This is his story.

Before the genocide, life was normal. For us, as long as there was a harvest good enough to save us from buying food from the market, I would say that we were happy.

I heard that Tutsis were regarded as superior towards Hutus. For example a Hutu could only change his social status by serving in a Tutsi's household. The rest were low-class Hutus.

Some people did not even find someone to kill because there were more killers than victims

Because the RPF were blamed for the death of President Habyarimana, we thought that they had started with the high-ranking officials and that they were going to end up doing the same to us ordinary people.

We thought that if they had managed to kill the head of state, how were ordinary people supposed to survive?

On the morning of 15 April 1994, each one of us woke up knowing what to do and where to go because we had made a plan the previous night. In the morning we woke up and started walking towards the church.

No life

After selecting the people who could use guns and grenades, they armed them and said we should surround the church.

They said one group would go south and another group would go to the north. There were so many of us we were treading on each others' heels.

Flora Mukampore, genocide survivor
Read the story of Flora Mukampore, who survived the Nyarubuye massacre

People who had grenades detonated them. The Tutsis started screaming for help.

As they were screaming, those who had guns started to shoot inside.

They screamed saying that we are dying, help us, but the soldiers continued shooting.

I entered and when I met a man I hit him with a club and he died.

You would say why not two, three or four but I couldn't kill two or three because those that entered outnumbered those inside.

Some people did not even find someone to kill because there were more killers than victims.

When we moved in, it was as if we were competing over the killing. We entered and each one of us began killing their own.

Each person who we cut looked like they had been hit by the grenades. They looked traumatised. They looked like their hearts had been taken away.

No one was asking for forgiveness. They looked like they had been killed already.

My neighbours

Those you cut were just not saying anything. They were scared that no one said anything. They must have been traumatized.

Apart from breathing you could see that they had no life in them. They looked like their hearts had been taken away.

These people were my neighbours - the picture of their deaths may never leave me
I saw people whose hands had been amputated, those with no legs, and others with no heads. I saw everything.

Especially seeing people rolling around and screaming in agony, with no arms, no legs. People died in very bad conditions.

It was as if we were taken over by Satan. We were taken over by Satan. When Satan is using you, you lose your mind. We were not ourselves. Beginning with me, I don't think I was normal.

You wouldn't be normal if you start butchering people for no reason. We had been attacked by the devil.

Even when I dream my body changes in a way I cannot explain. These people were my neighbours. The picture of their deaths may never leave me. Everything else I can get out of my head but that picture never leaves.

Panorama: The Killers was broadcast on BBC One on Sunday, 4 April 2004 at 2215 BST



News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific