9 DECEMBER 1996 – MBESHE MBESHE HUTU REFUGEE MASSACRE

On 9 December 1996, RPF Inkotanyi soldiers killed about 480 Rwandan hutu refugees at the makeshift camp in the village of Mbeshe Mbeshe in the Katoyi chiefdom. Following Paul Kagame’s direct orders, RPF surrounded the camp at around five o’clock in the morning, and indiscriminately opened fire on the camp’s occupants, killing children, women, elderly, malnourished and sick refugees. 60 internally displaced Congolese people in the camp were also killed.

Most of these refugees were survivors of the 26 October bombing of Kibumba refugee camp then 31 October killings in Katale camp, in North Kivu, who then headed for Mugunga camp. They had run away from Mugunga camp on 14 November 1996 when RPF bombed Mugunga with heavy weapons.

From Mugunga, those who run to the west towards Masisi territory settled in the village of Ngungu, 50 km away from Goma. In Ngungu, they had been attacked again on 19 November 1996 and few survivors escaped RPF soldiers by crossing the Masisi territory towards the town of Walikale.

They were weak, malnourished and wounded, making the slowest units of the refugees’ column, and had settled in makeshift camps next to Osso farm in the villages of Osso, Kinigi and Katoyi. They had left Osso end of november, when they were attacked and had arrived in Mbeshe Mbeshe village first days of December 1996.

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