Tito Barahira (with covered face in photo), was at one time a close friend of Tutsis in Kabarondo, ex- Kibungo province, eastern Rwanda. He shared with them in everything to the extent of being a godfather to some of the children in these families; a witness recalls.
This trend changed at the time of genocide, and Barahira never wanted to associate with any Tutsis, and made sure he hatched a plan to make sure they are all eliminated.
Long before the genocide, Barahira was also known as an evil hearted man, when he allegedly killed someone in Ruramira sector with the help of a counselor known as Terera. This evilness was actualized during the 1994 genocide.
With power in his hands, as a Bourgomestre (Mayor) of Kabarondo commune, he made it a point to hunt down anyone who was not of his ethnicity especially the Tutsi.
The witness says that Barahira was a personal friend to Col. Rwagafirita, who was the military commander in Kabarondo Commune and chaired all the meeting, whose agenda was to plan ethnic divisions in the community.
Witnesses also say that though Barahira had some Tutsi family friends, whenever he was involved in such meetings, he would change his attitude and behavior towards them, an aspect that raised suspicion among his Tutsi friends and this would signal that something wrong was going down, thus taking precaution.
After leaving office as mayor of Kabarondo Commune (1977-1986), Barahira moved to Kibungo province, and was replaced by Octavier Ngenzi- who also had the same mindset like his predecessor and it is alleged that Barahira still had absolute control over the commune even a distance.
With this influence, Barahira was among the three main planners of genocide in Kabarondo, which left many Tutsi’s dead especially in Cyinzovu, Rundu and Rubira sectors.
Witnesses say that Barahira had absolute influence in the planning of genocide, its implementation strategy in the meetings they held at the time, intended to cleanse all the Tutsis, and planting roadblocks intended to track down Tutsis.
As chairman of the MRND party, he allegedly chaired and participated in a number of meetings in Kabarondo, where plans to exterminate Tutsis were hatched. It is alleged that he organized and participated in the killing of thousands of Tutsi who were fleeing the killings to Tanzania.
“He was the one who gave an example to the militias when he killed someone called Ntirushwamaboko Francois” a witness narrates that the killings had not occurred in this area until the day Barahira appear. When he arrived, they all followed him in his hunt. The victim tried to run but he was captured and he (barahira) speared him to death saying: ‘now you can speak English and French’, now residents now what to do’
It is said that the killings in Kabarondo were conducted with the help his successor- Octavier Ngenzi- who used to gather the Tutsis under the pretext that they would be helped to escape, but only to be handed over to Barahira and his militia youths to do the killings.
An example is the killings conducted on 13th April, 1994 at Kabarondo Catholic Church. Ngenzi managed to gather Tutsis from various sectors in Kabarondo, and put them in the church building.
On that date, a survivor says that, Barahira and his men attacked and the Tutsi tried to defend themselves but a grenade was thrown into the church killing one person and the rest were killed using machetes.
He also allegedly participated in the attack that killed the Tutsi of Rugenge and Nyakabungo sectors, and personally ordered the killing of an old woman – Josephine Mukaruhigira, who pleaded to him to be spared, albeit unsuccessfully. He told her assailants to go on and finish her
Tito Barahira is a Genocide fugitive wanted by the authorities in Kigali over his alleged role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in the eastern province of Rwanda. Though Barahira Barahira, had disguised himself by changing his name to Barahirwa, he was subject to investigation since 2011 after Rwanda had issued an arrest warrant for his alleged role in the Genocide. He was arrested in the French city of Toulouse in April, 2013.
Apparently, the survivors in Kabarondo want Barahira extradited to Rwanda to face the charges of genocide crimes committed in the area. However, Rwanda’s prosecution has said that even though he is not extradited, he should be tried by the French government on six counts of genocide and crimes against humanity, placed on his case file.