Nyange church victims honoured
NGORORERO- Victims of the infamous Nyange massacres during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi were yesterday honoured at an emotional function held in Ngororero District.
Thousands of sorrowful mourners turned up to pay respect to victims who were massacred in a church, on the orders of Father Athanase Seromba, in the guise of offering them protection.
It is alleged that Seromba personally invited vulnerable Tutsi into the church claiming he would offer them refuge, but instead ordered their massacre on April 16, 1994.
It is also alleged that Seromba succeeded in his mission with the help of Gregoire Ndahimana (former Burgmestre of Kivumu), Fulgence Kayishema (Judicial Police officer then) and one Gaspard Kanyarukiga.
Witnesses say that, moments before that fateful day, Interahamwe militias tried to use grenades and fire bombs before Seromba employed two tractors to bring down the church to ensure everyone was dead.
Father Seromba is serving a life sentence handed down by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
Out of the 7,161 people suspected to have perished during the massacre in Nyange, 6 miraculously survived.
During the commemoration, yesterday, remains of three recently discovered victims were accorded a decent burial. Mourners, especially survivors, clearly exhibited sorrowful and grief-stricken feelings.
Froduard Maniraguha, Seromba’s house boy at the time the latter ordered the massacre, narrated how the events leading to killings unfolded.
“A series of meetings were conducted to prepare the mass execution of Christians who had been fooled to seek refuge in the church,” Maniraguha said. He pointed out that Seromba was always at the helm of the meetings.
While addressing mourners shortly after leading a walk to remember, Education Minister Dr Charles Murigande, called for joint efforts aimed at combating the existing effects of the Genocide in which over a million people died in just 100 days.
“It’s only 17 years ago and so many broken hearts still feel wounded. Each one of us shares the responsibility of opening up a new chapter by establishing a productive generation fostering unity and reconciliation,” Murigande said.