A man who resisted this injustice until his last breath

Born in 1965 in Bibungo, in the commune of Mugina, in the prefecture of Gitarama which is in the center of Rwanda, Callixte was the youngest of a family of 6 children, 3 girls and 3 boys. He lost his dad at the age of 2 and was brought up by his mother within a Presbyterian church that instilled in him Christian values. After his primary studies in his hometown, he did his secondary studies in the “Groupe scolaire Officiel de Butare” where he finished in 1988. The same year, he took and passed the competitive entrance examination at the “Ecole supérieure militaire” of Kigali, which he left one year later. He went back to Mugina and became a schoolteacher at the primary school of Ruyumbu, in the commune of Musambira, at the border with the commune of Mugina. In 1992, he joined the political party MRD, party of the late Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana, and was appointed burgomaster of Mugina. He followed Emmanuel Nkurunziza of the MRND, the party of president Juvénal Habyarimana. In August 1993, he married Olive Mukabalisa, from Gikoro, in the prefecture of rural-Kigali. When the genocide started in April 1994, they had been married for only 8 months.

Following the assassination of president Habyarimana on the 6th of April 1994, Callixte stopped sleeping: he roamed the district of his commune asking for calm and self-control. He also preached unity within the inhabitants and invited them to stick together faced with the invitation of division and genocide launched by the government.

The 10th of April, the commune of Mugina already welcomed hundreds of Tutsi refugees from the communes of Runda, Musambira and the region of Bugesera. These refugees were fleeing the massacres and were going to Mugina because they had heard that the burgomaster had been able to resist the genocide making his commune a peace haven.

Callixte housed the refugees in the parish houses of the Catholic church of Mugina and in the local buildings. He gave them food such as corn, rice and beans. The Interahamwe1 from the surrounding communes tried to invade the commune to kill Tutsi, but the burgomaster put up a resistance; he organized his policemen and his population to fight them. The militia retreated. Callixte continued to protect the refugees, insuring their security and feeding them. He continued with his rounds in his commune calling his population for calm and resistance to the genocide. He gave instructions to organize night patrol and he deployed his policemen to insure the security of the refugees. And encouraged them to not give way to panic and assured them that nothing would happen to them while he was alive.


1 The Interahamwe are a militia created in 1992 by the MRND, the party of president Juvénal Habyarimana. Interahamwe means “those who fight together” in Kinyarwanda, the Rwandan language. They are responsible for most of the massacres during the genocide in 1994.