Rwandan witness to Habyarimana assassination disappears


by Ann Garrison

French translation by Marceline Nduwamungu follows

KPFA Weekend News broadcast Nov. 22, 2014

A Rwandan witness whose testimony would have implicated Rwandan President Paul Kagame in the assassination of his predecessor, President Juvenal Habyarimana, and Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira has gone missing in Nairobi.


Emile Gafirita
Emile Gafirita

KPFA Weekend News Anchor Sharon Sobotta: A Rwandan witness for a French court investigating the assassination of two African presidents in 1994 has gone missing and is reported to have been kidnapped in Nairobi, Kenya. The witness, Emile Gafirita, is a former bodyguard to Rwandan President Paul Kagame. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has the story.

KPFA/Ann Garrison: Emile Gafirita, one of Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s former bodyguards, is reported to have fled Rwanda and gone into hiding in Nairobi, Kenya, where he was kidnapped on Nov. 13. Through his French lawyer, Gafirita had contacted the French Anti-Terrorism Court of Judge Marc Trédivic to say that he was prepared to testify that in 1994, as a young soldier in the Rwandan Patriotic Army led by Paul Kagame, he had helped transport the missiles that were used to shoot down the plane carrying Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira and the plane’s French crew.

In the BBC’s controversial documentary, “Rwanda: The Untold Story,” BBC producer Jane Corbin, Belgian Col. Luc Marchal and a 1994 BBC broadcast anchor described the assassinations:

BBC/Jane Corbin: On April the 6th, 1994, President Habyarimana was returning to Kigali from a summit. With him was the chief of the army and the new president of Burundi.

Col. Luc Marchal: I heard two or three very violent explosions. First, I thought it was a munitions depot exploding. But than, after 15 or 20 minutes, there was confirmation that the president’s airplane had been attacked.

BBC anchor, 1994: 0-4 Hours, Greenwich Mean Time. The presidents of Rwanda and Burundi in Central Africa have been killed in a plane crash. The circumstances are unclear. Rwandan officials say the plane was shot down.

KPFA: The assassinations shattered the fragile peace that had been negotiated between the Rwandan government and the invading army led by Gen. Paul Kagame. Many call it the spark that lit the volatile situation on fire, causing panic and ethnic massacres. In the BBC documentary, producer Jane Corbin and Col. Luc Marchal, who was second in command at the U.N. Peacekeeping Mission in Rwanda, also describe it as Gen. Paul Kagame’s resumption of the war.

BBC/Jane Corbin: For Kagame and the RPF, the plane crash was an opportunity to restart a full scale war and seize power, and some U.N. officers knew it.

Col. Luc Marchal: In my opinion, the conclusion to draw is crystal clear. The attack on President Habyarimana’s plane was the trigger to begin the military operations and the armed takeover by the RPF.

KPFA: No one has ever been indicted for the assassination of the Hutu presidents of Rwanda and Burundi. Louis Arbour, as chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, quashed her investigating team’s evidence that Gen. Paul Kagame had ordered the assassinations.

Arbour was succeeded by Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, who announced that she planned to indict President Kagame for the assassinations, and was summarily fired. French and Spanish judges have compiled evidence that Kagame ordered the assassinations and indicted his top officers for the assassinations.

They have not indicted Kagame himself, because French and Spanish law do not allow them to indict a sitting head of state. Only the International Criminal Court has done that.

For Pacifica, KPFA and AfrobeatRadio, I’m Ann Garrison.

Oakland writer Ann Garrison contributes to the San Francisco Bay View, Counterpunch, Global Research, Colored Opinions, Black Agenda Report and Black Star News and produces radio news and features for Pacifica’s WBAI-NYC, KPFA-Berkeley and her own YouTube Channel. She can be reached at If you want to see Ann Garrison’s independent reporting continue, please contribute on her website,

KPFA, le journal du Week-end, 22 novembre 2014

Un témoin rwandais, dont le témoignage aurait accablé le Président rwandais Paul Kagame dans l’assassinat de son prédécesseur, le Président Juvénal Habyarimana et le Président burundais Cyprien Ntaryamira, a été porté disparu à Nairobi.


Sharon Sobotta, présentateur de KPFA Week-end: un témoin rwandais qui devait se présenter au tribunal français chargé d’enquêter sur les assassinats de deux présidents africains en 1994 a été porté disparu et il semble qu’il ait été kidnappé à Nairobi au Kenya. Le témoin, nommé Emile Gafirita, est un ancien garde du corps du Président rwandais Paul Kagame. Ann Garrison de KPFA nous en dit plus.

KPFA/Ann Garrison: Emile Gafirita, l’un des anciens gardes du corps du Président Paul Kagame, a quitté le Rwanda pour se réfugier à Nairobi au Kenya où il vivait caché et d’où il a été kidnappé le 13 novembre. Via son avocat français, Gafirita avait contacté le juge anti-terroriste français Marc Trévidic pour dire qu’il était disposé à témoigner qu’en 1994, alors jeune soldat dans l’armée patriotique rwandaise (APR) dirigée par Paul Kagame, il a assuré le transport des missiles qui ont servi à l’attentat contre l’avion transportant les présidents Juvénal Habyarimana et Cyprien Ntaryamira et l’équipage français de l’avion.

Dans le documentaire controversé de la BBC “Rwanda, l’histoire non contée”, la productrice Jane Corbin, le Colonel belge Luc Marchal et un journaliste de la BBC en 1994, décrivent les assassinats :

BBC/Jane Corbin: Le 6 avril 1994, le Président Habyarimana revenait d’un sommet. Il était avec son chef d’Etat-Major et le nouveau président burundais.

Colonel Luc Marchal: J’ai entendu deux ou trois déflagrations violentes. Au départ, j’ai pensé que c’était un dépôt de munitions qui explosait. Mais après 15 ou 20 minutes, nous avons eu confirmation que l’avion présidentiel avait été attaqué.

Le journaliste de la BBC, 1994: 0-4 heures, temps de Greenwich.  Les présidents du Rwanda et du Burundi en Afrique centrale ont été tués dans un accident d’avion. Les circonstances ne sont pas encore claires. Le gouvernement rwandais dit que l’avion a été abattu.

KPFA: Les assassinats ont sapé la paix relative négociée entre le gouvernement rwandais et l’armée qui avait envahi le Rwanda en 1990, conduite par le général Paul Kagame. D’aucuns disent que ces assassinats ont été l’élément déclencheur des massacres ethniques. Dans le documentaire de la BBC, la productrice Jane Corbin et le Colonel Luc Marchal, qui était le commandant en second de la MINUAR au Rwanda, disent que ces assassinats ont permis à Paul Kagame de reprendre la guerre.

BBC/Jane Corbin: Pour Kagame et le FPR, l’attentat sur l’avion a été une opportunité pour reprendre la guerre [qui avait été suspendue par les accords d’Arusha] à grande échelle et prendre le pouvoir, et certains officiers de la MINUAR le savaient.

Colonel Luc Marchal: Selon moi, la conclusion à tirer est claire. L’attentant sur l’avion du Président Habyarimana a été l’élément déclencheur des opérations militaires du FPR en vue de prendre le pouvoir.

KPFA: Personne n’a jamais été inculpé pour les assassinats des présidents hutu rwandais et burundais. Louise Arbour, en tant que procureure générale auprès du Tribunal Pénal international pour le Rwanda (TPIR), a annihilé les preuves de son équipe sur l’implication de Paul Kagame dans ces assassinats. Arbour a été succédée par la procureure générale Carla Del Ponte, qui avait annoncé son intention d’inculper Paul Kagame pour les deux assassinats mais elle a été virée sans autre forme de procès. Les juges français et espagnols ont documenté ces assassinats et ont inculpé les hauts officiers de l’APR pour ces faits. Ils n’ont pas inculpé Kagame en personne à cause de son immunité présidentielle, seule la Cour criminelle internationale est habilitée à l’inculper.

Pour Pacifica, KPFA et AfrobeatRadio, je suis Ann Garrison.



  1. Ann you amaze me by being stupid everyday, Habyarimana was killed by his own people that didn’t believe in power sharing. There has been hundreds of people who have said they are witness to kagame killing habyarimana, but all of them are just people looking for 15minutes of fame. You just wish bad for rwanda, but you will never get anywhere. you are on the wrong side of history. Leave us alone. Worry about ferguson, and all the white people killing blacks. You guys feel superior over blacks and their death don’t mean a thing. So you wish for more people to die in rwanda too? I know you have to make a living by creating hate in rwanda, but you can do better

  2. Wamagara, cool down with your hatred for Ann. As you can see more and more people including the BBC have realized that General Kagame is the biggest mass murderer alive today. It is only a matter of time before he pays for his crimes.

  3. This is stupid argument. A young boy want greener pasture in Europe is once again trying to lie. It is unbelievable to see that people who are considered educated can believe in the young boy who joined the army after Habyarimana assassination.
    Please stop your nonsense. Rwandans need to regain their dignity.

    • Rukaka, if his testimony was false, then General Kagame should have let him testify and have your defense attorney show the inconsistencies in his testimony. Why abduct him and kill him if his testimony was false?

    • Anyone with a brain can see that “Rukaka” and “Gatabazi” are just one single person. The point remains that General Kagame seems to have ordered the abduction and probably killing of this witness. This practice of jailing, killing and abducting former colleagues who have evidence against Kagame is terrible and we Rwandans are against it.

  4. This Kadogo joined RPA after Habyarimana Assassination, how he can be considered as a key witness in the shooting down of the Plane please. This is the continuity of your hatred campaign against Rwanda and our Beloved President Paul Kagame, but am convinced will you never stop our journey towards sustainable development and political sustainability .shame on you

    • In Rwanda’s Untold Story, BBC summarizes Marie Bamutese’s story as follows:
      “But it was our last interviewee in that really stuck with me. She had never spoken publicly at length about her experiences. Marie Bamutese was one of hundreds of thousands of Hutu refugees brutalized and chased across Rwanda and into the Congo by forces allied to Paul Kagame. I had contacted her husband, Peter Verlinden about access to television archive material. In passing he mentioned that Marie had briefly appeared on Flemish television describing her ordeal, which Peter had described in his book on the war. I asked if she would be prepared to do a full interview about her experiences. Such were the horrors she had experienced that Marie was afraid of recounting them publicly particularly in a foreign third language, English. She was fearful that she would not be able to accurately communicate exactly what happened to her but wanted to go ahead with the interview.
      We met at our hotel. Marie sent Peter away; she wanted to tell this story alone. The story was so awful and extreme that she had only recently told Peter the full detail of what she was about to tell us, years after being smuggled out of the Congo. He did not hear it again and she did not need him to witness her telling it. We decided with Marie that she should speak in French; she would be able to more freely express herself and be certain that she said what she meant. The interview was one awful account of death and torture after another. Marie was just a young girl when she witnessed the repeated bombing of Hutu refugee camps by Kagame’s artillery and the remains of Hutu refugees piled upon one another forming a hillside. She saw her own grandmother die of physical and moral exhaustion in front of her and her mother cry inconsolably. Marie could not hold her own tears back when she told us how her own seven year old cousin, Elodie, died on her back as she carried her though the forests to escape the massacres. She described how death had become a friend, the only constant and certain thing around her in the hell of the Congolese forests. She broke down again when she remembered how her own mother was forced to do a deal with a local family; her daughter Marie would be raped in exchange for the family’s safety. By the end of the interview Marie’s tears had been replaced by anger and by what seemed to be cathartic relief. She was anxious to ensure that people knew that massacres were committed by all sides – including Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front, who until today have been viewed largely as the heroes of 1994. The family members Marie lost in the Congo were amongst the estimated 5 million people who died in the African wars which followed the Rwandan genocide of 1994.”

  5. Ann you said i offered on reason listen, you say you are fighting for human rights in rwanda, do black people in america have human rights? “slavery was ended” but most black people in america get killed or imprisoned everyday for no reason. Racism in american is at it’s peak, why don’t you fight for that, charity begins at home. Oh wait a minute, you are nobody so you find your easy target(Rwanda). I am ashamed by those who believe you can help them. Mind your countries business and we will mind our own. Black people in america have no opportunities, they have to prove everyday that they are not bad guys Why why?
    What do you do everyday to help black people other than trying to cause choas in rwanda? YOu should be ashamed of yourself, what do you tell your fellow white policeman not to harass black people. Rwanda is not perfect, but your countries is not either. Elections are bought so that is corrruption at it’s best. So why do you feel the need to preach what you don’t do or have???>??

    • Wamagara, every human being in the world has the right to choose whichever cause they will advocate for. I am sure Ann has her reasons for choosing the Great Lakes of Africa, which by the way is in a much worse shape than the United States. Proof in point is that there are so many black people from around the world who migrate to the US every single day and millions more black people around the world who wish they could move to the US. Unlike Rwanda where so many of us citizens of Rwanda have witnessed first-hand the evil nature of General Kagame and his RPF who have killed millions of innocent civilians in Rwanda and neighboring Congo. The day when you have more people wanting to go to Rwanda than people who want to go to the USA, please come back and your rant about how bad the US is will have validity.

  6. Come on Aimable, canada might have given you asylm, but shouldn’t make you kiss ann’s ass. True people move to america, but that doesn’t take away the fact that white feel and act superior to blacks. You have old news that people are dying in rwanda, you have been gone for so long, you need to come back and visit, oh wait you might be fearing gacaca. 12million Rwandans are happy, living better than any other time since rwanda’s independence. Keep waiting for ann to help you. Congo is not rwanda’s problem. And for your information Ann is paid to write bad press for rwanda, she’s has no interest about the great lakes. If she did, she would have paid a visit. And we can’t learn anything from her since things are not going well in her homeland. People always have good ideas on how to fix other people problems and yet they can’t fix their own. Mugara think better, you have your asylum so enjoy canada’s welfare and keep kisssing ann’s flat ass. Maybe you should marry her since she’s single

    • Wamagara, yes Canada gave me asylum because they looked at my situation and determined that they wanted to protect me from Kagame’s evilness. I am not afraid of Gacaca because for your information I was a very young kid during the genocide. What I am afraid of are the evil people who kill, jail and exile anyone who holds an opinion that is opposed to the RPF’s opinion. Like I said, stop attacking Ann’s homeland because if Rwanda was even half as good as the US in human rights and freedom, trust me I would be there today. As for being on Canada’s welfare, I have been gainfully employed for much longer than you have served your master Kagame. But I am not very surprised by your personal attacks on either Ann or myself. That is the modus operandi of Kagame’s people. But no worries, Kagame’s time is running out and he will soon face justice for the millions of innocent people who were killed by his forces.

  7. Aimble Since the genocide happen when you were a kid, you didn’t need to seek asylum. Kids are free to live in rwanda, you had nothing to fear. You lied to get asylum in order to benefit from the hard earned living of Canadians, you needed to stay in your country and help build the justice system you say we don’t have. Africa is behind in developement because of people like you. who enjoy the comfort of living in the west and criticize instead of help build our motherland and hope people like ann can help when they can’t deal with their own problems.
    The west help where they have interest, nothing more nothing less. The human rights in america are only for whites not black for your information. Rwanda is not perfect but we will get there, we have come so far. Aimable can you explain ferguson or why 2millions blacks are behind bars?? Just enjoy the comfort you have and keep writing bad press for your motherland instead of helping build it.

    • Wamagara, clearly you do not understand the asylum process. My asylum was not based on the 1994 genocide at all. It was based on the repression that General Kagame and his RPF have been perpetuating ever since until today. The Canadian authorities agreed with me and here I am a dual Canadian-Rwandan citizen. I do not need to come and become another one of Kagame/RPF’s victims. We have seen what happens when people of good will leave their lives abroad and try to participate in the opposition parties in Rwanda. Jail, death or second exile is what awaits them. When the country will be ready for positive contribution, I will know and I will be there. Meanwhile, I am contributing in my own way by letting the world know that my country has been taken hostage a mass murderer and is being kept in power by a mass murderer army. When those mass murderers are gone from power and there is true democracy and freedom, I will be on the ground to contribute. With the BBC now exposing is crimes, that time will come sooner than you think. So, don’t worry about me.

  8. Aimable and Ann, it’s unfortunate the rants you are spreading about the issue of Gafirita. The least of professionalism requires you consideration of alternatives in any piece of analysis. Yes, you are in a war you have not initiated nor even understand the rules. You deserve some training, otherwise you walk and work under the banner of mere rumor-mongers and you piece is useless. To help you come to sanity, what if your master arranged this mess and Gafirita kidnapping as well. I know you are aware of alternatives and truths, but for a living you can ignore. That is okay, but beware of history, your pen is in solid ink. If I were you, …..

    • Joseph, you make me laugh with your threats as well as your suggestion that I have a “master”. I guess it never occurred to you that I am actually a free-thinking human being with my own free will and do not need a “master” to guide me in this world! Well, you beware of history too. As the BBC has found out so many years later, General Kagame and RPF are mass murderers who are on the wrong side of history and BBC has decided to shine that light.

        • Joseph, alternatives are definitely possible. As long as there has not been an independent investigation and findings made public with proof, you have the right to say what you think happened. I also have the right to say what I think happened. Then whoever hears both of us can determine for themselves what they think the truth is.

          • Did I deny you the right to think? No, I just questioned your intoxicating thinking (you yourself affirm there are no investigation findings yet, and you jump to conclusions). If you are an honest person, you have the obligation to give that invaluable service of logical analysis to your readers? Otherwise it’s pure manipulation of the truth to mislead opinions. I hope you are not so blinded to have your thoughts fixated in a single direction, less I doubt your self-declared freedom of thinking.

          • Joseph, you are throwing around a lot of serious accusations. Since you seem to have an issue with the article, can you specify exactly which passages in the article you disagree with and why? If you cannot be specific and stick to the article instead of attacking my personal views, we are simply going around in circles.

          • Aimable! true? Serious accusations? Even though I did not accuse you, you want me to understand that you are the only one allowed to throw serious accusations! Formidable! Questioning and accusing are two different things. Let’s close the discussion coz I don’t see any argument to my initial inquiry, just defensive. The best, out.

  9. Come on Aimable don’t be stupid by saying that BBC know about kagame, the BBC ratings were down, so they had to air something alternative from what people know about Rwanda to raise their rating, and the story was about a bbc woman, kayumba and rudasingwa who speak from both sides of their mouth. Hutus are stupid to believe these guys that killed them(kayumba), oh i killed you because kagame asked me too, if kagame asked you to eat poop would you do so and say sorry???. I initially i thought you were a smart boy, that ran way to seek better life and ended up seeking asylum to enjoyed Canadian freedom that people died for. America, Canada, Europe people died for you to be enjoying the freedom you are enjoying today, so Rwanda is no different.
    That stupid bitch Ann didn’t respond because she has nothing to say, she doesn’t make sense and she is white supremacist what i said hit close to home. She fools black people that she’s fighting for them and yet she cant say anything to her own race. Sorry for idiots like you that are brainwashed.
    I have made this news article relevant on Google search engine because of my thoughtful comments.

    • Wamagara, you are saying idiots like me? In one short passage you managed to call me stupid, to call me an idiot and to call Ann both stupid and the b word. I have nothing more to say to such a loser who cannot make his case in a sensible way without throwing out insults. Any impartial observer will look at the discussion that we have had so far and make up their mind. Your lack of manners speaks louder than words. It also speaks as to what you would physically do to someone who disagrees with you if you had the power to physically harm me. Peace out.

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