New Genocide memorial to be constructed in Musanze District

Musanze youths clean Muhoza memorial site. Musanze District is set to build a new Genocide memorial site in the next four months. Régis Umurengezi

Construction of a new Genocide memorial site that will host remains of more than 4,000 victims, currently kept in three separate dilapidated memorial sites, will start in the next four months, according to officials.

This was announced over the weekend by Musanze District mayor, Jean-Damascène Habyarimana, during the launch of the 24 commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi at Muhoza memorial site.

The site in Muhoza Sector hosts remains of over 800 victims who were killed at the former Appeals Court’s Chambers in the former Ruhengeri Prefecture and neighbouring areas.

Habyarimana announced that Musanze District advisory committee has recently approved the proposal to build the new memorial site and put it among the key priorities for the 2018/19 fiscal year.

“The district advisory council approved the construction of  a new district Genocide memorial which will be having all necessities to safely conserve all the remains of the Genocide victims in the district,” Habyarimana said.

Habyarimana pointed out that the new district Genocide memorial will be built in Sahara Cell, Busogo Sector and will cost over Rwf600 million.

It will as well bring together remains from the memorial sites of Muhoza, Kinigi and Busogo which are old and small, according to officials.

“In fact, we don’t have any Genocide memorial that meets standards, but we are committed to do all our best to build a new home for victims to give them the deserved honour and at the same time conserve history,” he said.

Habyarimana said the district is ready for the construction activities as it has already paid Rwf50 million to expropriate residents in the area where the memorial will be constructed.

Survivors welcome move

Pierre Rwasibo, the district head for Ibuka, the umbrella organisation for Genocide survivors, welcomed the move saying memorial sites in the district don’t meet standards as remains are “just piled in decomposing coffins”.

“They are dilapidated, for example the Muhoza memorial has been in very poor state for years, so we welcome the commitment by the district to heed the calls we have made for years,” Rwasibo said.

However, Ibuka called upon authorities to refurbish and maintain the Kinigi Genocide Memorial, saying it keeps exceptional history of the Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi in the northern region.

The memorial, Rwasibo said, has artefacts about all major episodes of killings by the former regime in 1990s.

Commenting on the matter, the Mayor of Musanze District promised Ibuka a positive feedback saying; “the district will allocate a portion of the budget within the next few fiscal years to the renovation of Kinigi memorial site so that the history it holds is safeguarded.”

Habyarimana also pledged that the district will always avail funds to ensure all memorial sites are well maintained.

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