Extraordinary courage

While the propaganda of hate and incitement to massacres is in full swing in Kaduha, Sister Milgitha gives herself unreservedly to helping the thousands of Tutsi refugees. She spends a lot of money to buy supplies. She empties the health centre of its drug stocks and food. She treats the sick and the wounded and comforts the refugees with prayers. She helps to prepare and distribute the soup, assuring herself that everybody gets their share, even the smallest. Milgitha stays two weeks with the refugees, and shares everything with them. Everybody prays and sings, imploring the help of God.

The 21st of April 1994 before dawn, the extermination starts at Kaduha: hundreds of attackers first throw grenades to some locals who shelter refugees. Then, they shoot those who try to escape. At dawn, thousands of militiamen dressed with banana leaves and armed with machetes, spears, and clubs invade the premises. The gendarmes, the local policemen, the civil soldiers as well as former military men help them. After hours of shootings and grenades, the gunshots stop, just enough time to restock. During that time, the massacres still continue. They will last all day during the Thursday 21st of April and Friday the 22nd. Civilians and the military wait, on the roads, for those who have miraculously fled the killings. They make them sit and kill them, by gun or machete. The security forces ambush groups of people fleeing, and take part in the hunting and execution of isolated survivors.

From their convent, Sister Milgitha and Sister Quirina listen, powerless, to this bloodshed. They hear the noise of the grenades and guns as well as the harrowing cries of the victims. They don’t know what to do, but wait for their hour to come. It’s raining outside, Sister Milgitha decides to open the door of her house. But, streams of blood flow, from the church in the health centre, and from all the places sheltering refugees. She can’t believe her eyes, and, especially, doesn’t understand which God could have let these things happen. Piles of dead bodies lie everywhere. Sister Milgitha steps over the dead bodies. When she opens the doors of the church, a pile of dead bodies behind fall on top of her. In this pile of dead bodies, she’s looking for miraculous people who would still be breathing. Most are gravely wounded and covered in blood. Violent machete blows leave deep cuts. Many wounded people are swollen and their bodies are ripped apart by bullets and grenades. Sister Milgitha takes the wounded into her health centre and fights to treat them relentlessly. Gravely wounded on the head and suffering from severe trauma, two children succumbed to their head trauma. Sister Milgitha isn’t discouraged. The militia comes every day to finish them off. But Sister Milgitha begs them to spare them and pays them. When money starts lacking, she gives them her personal effects, such as her cameras and radios.