NEWS- Rwigema was born on 10th April, 1957 in Gitarama, in the south of Rwanda. Considered a Tutsi, in 1960 he and his family fled to Uganda and settled in a refugee camp in Nshungerezi, Ankole following the Hutu Revolution of 1959 and the ouster of King Kigeli.
After finishing high school in 1976, he went to Tanzania and joined FRONASA, a rebel group headed by Yoweri Museveni.
It was at this point that he began calling himself Fred Rwigema. Later that year, he traveled to Mozambique and joined the FRELIMO rebels who were fighting for the liberation of Mozambique from Portugal’s colonial power.
In 1979, he joined the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA), which together with Tanzanian armed forces captured Kampala in 1979 and sent Idi Amin into exile.
He later joined NRA, which fought a guerrilla against the government of Milton Obote. It was here that Rwigyema first fought alongside a number of future RPF leaders including Rwandan president Paul Kagame, Patrick Karegeya, and Kayumba Nyamwasa.
Fred Rwigyema was the commander of the western axis. After the NRA captured state power in 1986, Rwigema became the deputy Minister of Defence. He was regularly at the front line in northern Uganda during the new government’s offensives against remnants of the ousted regime.
On 1 October 1990, Rwigyema led the a splinter group of NRA troops in an invasion of northern Rwanda.What became the RPF chose this date as it was close to Ugandan independence day on 9 October.
This served as an excuse for Rwigyema, as the movement could be disguised from the main NRA as a military parade. On just the second day of the struggle, Rwigyema was shot in the head and died at Nyabwenshogozi Hill.
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