JEAN BOSCO

During the genocide, I was a young man of 16 years old and Mathias was almost my age. Together with his fellow men, they burned my grandfather to death, we only found his ash.

This whole hill was our family land, my grandfather lived just down the mountain over there. When we ran for our lives he refused to come because he was very old, but encouraged us to go. We ran but did not go far. We used to come and check on him regularly. One day we realized that we had to go to Kabgayi otherwise things were getting bad. I came to check on him, and he was not happy to see me because he did not want me to die close to him.

That is the night the mob of Mathias came, they burned my grandfather alive in his house till he died. After the genocide, we built the memorial sites and got my grandfather’s ash and buried him at the memorial site.

Mathias ran to Congo and lived there for a long time. When he came back they imprisoned him. He confessed his crimes in Gacaca and was released. He lived down the hill and we lived up here, we did not want anything from him. I was very angry. My anger came when I saw the remaining of my brother they killed and my grandfather’s.

Mathias was also very scared of us. He would make sure that he walks far away from me.

When CARSA invited us to the workshop I did not know that Mathias would be there. The workshop helped me a lot, and my anger reduced. After sometimes they came and told us that they wanted to give us a cow fro peace.

We started building the cow-shed together. I would not say that things were fine, I did not have the same anger but still, I had not forgiven him, and he was still scared of me. But building the shed together closed that gap and slowly we became friends.

When I have a problem with my cow-sheds he offers to help when He has a problem with his cows because I know something about it I got to help him too. We now have a good relationship, I would say that we are reconciled. My family took long to accept him but slowly they are getting there.

MATHIAS

 

During the genocide, I was a young man. When everything started we would go out both Hutus and Tutsis and fight against the mobs from Mibirizi (another area close to here) that attacked our area. Until some days when one of them came out to tell us that actually what they want is not Hutus but they are against Tutsis. So the Tutsis that were among us went back home and started hiding. So the mob came and started to loot and burn houses. But Bosco’s father who had run at the other hill shouted to us not to mix with them saying “let them take whatever they want, don’t touch my things, I might make you pay when this all is over”.

 

They encouraged us to start eating their cows and left them on the hills. Tutsis ran far, I do not know exactly where they went. One morning I was with my two other friends whom we would go to keep the watch against Tutsis at night with. Around 8AM we went to his house and they asked for money from him, the old man told us that he does not have money. He beat one of us, and we pushed him in the house, my friends light a matchbox and locked him inside the house and burned him to death. We were giving them timber for the fire as they burned him inside. After he died they led us to his daughter who was married to a Hutu and was the only one in the area.

 

After three days the leaders brought us all together and we buried his ash and the remaining body in his house. After two days I ran into the rebel army, I came back in 1996 and got imprisoned. I was released around 2005 when they told us that if we confess then we would be forgiven. I decided to confess though my friends refused it. Back in the community, it was not easy living as neighbors to Boscos’ family even if I told myself that I am clean that I did not kill him, it is my friends.

When I was invited to the workshop I found Bosco there and I said this is the person I want to reconcile with. I was able to ask him for forgiveness and we are now reconciled.