10 December 1996 – THE HOMBO BRIDGE

Today, lets remember that 22 years ago, 10 December 1996, RPF Inkotanyi soldiers ambushed and shot dead seven hundred (700) hutu refugees, including a large number of women and children at the Hombo bridge, at Hombo village located on the border between North Kivu and South Kivu, on Bunyakiri-Walikale road.

Over the course of the following days, they burned alive an unknown number of refugees along the road in the town of Kampala, a few kilometres from Hombo. Most of the victims were sick, elderly or physically disabled people who no longer had the strength to escape. Many women were raped by the soldiers before they were killed.

A few days later, RPF soldiers intercepted and executed 520 more refugees in the vicinity of the village of Chambucha, four kilometres from Hombo. The victims, who included a large number of women and children, were shot dead or killed by blows of hammers and hoes to the head near a bridge over the Lowa River. Most of the bodies were then dumped in the Lowa River.

Victims of Hombo bridge were survivors of earlier massacres in Shanje in the Kalehe territory on 21st and 22nd November 1996, who had also survived the earlier massacres of the Kashusha/INERA camps on 2nd of November 1996.

During the third week of December 1996, RPF troops killed around 600 Hutu refugees in the Musenge locality, between Hombo and Walikale. The soldiers had set up several checkpoints along the roads to intercept the refugees. They killed them with blows of iron bars in the hills of Ikoyi and Musenge, next to the dispensary.

Attacks against hutu refugees fleeing across Walikale territory (North Kivu)