Reburial plans of Musha genocide victims in chaos

RWAMAGANA – Remains of over 5,000 genocide victims are yet to be accorded a decent burial in Musha sector, Rwamagana district, a factor which has caused concern among residents. 
Unaccessible cemetery and Musha Church in the background where the remains are kept. (Photo: S. Rwembeho)
Unaccessible cemetery and Musha Church in the background where the remains are kept. (Photo: S. Rwembeho)

RWAMAGANA – Remains of over 5,000 genocide victims are yet to be accorded a decent burial in Musha sector, Rwamagana district, a factor which has caused concern among residents. 

The remains, unearthed from various locations by residents of Musha in March 2009, have instead been piled in Musha Catholic Church where the victims had sought refuge, before they were mercilessly murdered. 

Father Ezekiel Rukimbira, of Musha Parish said that it was improper to leave the remains in Church where people come to pray everyday. 

“We all have to accept the tragedy that befell us, which is why I have no complaint of the remains being given a temporary shelter in the church. However, giving the remains a decent reburial in a cemetery would be better,” he said. 

Marie Jeanne Mukeshimana, 36, a survivor said that the issue of burying Musha remains, has been under consideration for long without any tangible outcomes.

She added that even the space allocated for the cemetery is not enough. 

“I prefer keeping quiet…you will hear remains being buried in other places and wonder why not in Musha. Even the 12,000 so far buried cannot be said to have been done in a proper and accessible cemetery. So, it is up to the leaders to do their work,” she said. 

When contacted, Caritas Niyotwagira, officer in charge of social affairs in the sector, said the problem was due to the sector’s budgetary constraints and delays in releasing funds from the commission to fight genocide. 

“The commission promised to give us Rwf 5 m, but it was not released until recently,” Niyotwagira said. 

She disclosed that other organizations like CAMERWA, MAGERWA and BRD have contributed a total of Rwf 3.5 million towards the reburial programme.

Meanwhile, Niyotwagira decried the state of another memorial site in the area, where remains of over 12,000 people were buried; calling for its reconstruction.

Over 20,000 Tutsi were killed in Musha sector during the genocide.

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