Staff members of SOS Rwanda and families of former employees came together on Monday to commemorate children who were killed from the organisation’s orphanage in Nyamagabe District during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The event to honour the slain children and staff members of the orphanage started with the laying of a wreath at Murambi Genocide Memorial where the victims are interred.
The victims include six children of SOS Children’s Village, two other children who had travelled along with their peers to the former Gikongoro Prefecture from Kigali running away from the Interahamwe militia, and seven employees who worked for the organisation.
Remembering the victims, different speakers expressed grief that the suspected killers of these innocent children continue to roam freely in foreign countries.
One of the suspects is Venuste Nyumbayire, who is said to be currently hiding in France.
Madeleine Mukanyandwi, who was among the caregivers to children at SOS Children’s Village in Gikongoro, testified that before they were killed, the children were deprived of food and water supplies.
During the Genocide, Nyumbayire was the acting head of the SOS school in Gikongoro, the same premises where the children were brought.
“The children were brought to Gikongoro in early April and killed on May 7. Venuste Nyumbayire was never happy with them being there and kept them far from other children at the centre. They were denied food and water until he invited the militia to massacre them,” Mukanyandwi said.
She added that some Tutsi staff members of SOS sought refuge at the school but he got them killed instead.
She said that even after the children were killed, Nyumbayire kept staff in the dark on the whereabouts of the children.
Elie Ndayisaba, the president of Ibuka in Nyamagabe District, said that the Genocide survivors’ organisation is still collecting more information about the killings at the school, addingng that there is one missing body of the victims killed there.
Claudine Nyinawagaga, the SOS Children’s Village Country Director, said that the country’s past should be effectively taught to young generation to be able to confront the consequences of the Genocide.