Remains of an estimated 60, 000 victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi were on Saturday accorded a decent burial in Kinazi Sector, Ruhango District.
The bodies were retrieved from a mass grave at Rutabo and reburied at a newly constructed memorial site in the area. It was a sombre mood as hundreds of survivors, relatives, friends, residents and government officials gathered in the area to accord the victims a befitting burial. Some survivors however suffered trauma and had to be carried away by emergency teams.
Mourners heard chilling tales of how the Tutsi in the area were mercilessly killed by the Interahamwe militiamen under the command of the then Ntongwe mayor, Charles Kagabo .
The situation worsened when Burundian refugees, who were sheltered at the Nyagahama refugee camp, were brought in to ‘help’ the killers, survivors recounted.
Nyagahama camp was situated on a hill overlooking the current Kinazi Hospital, which served as the head office of the then Ntongwe commune. Survivors had earlier told The New Times that the hill was chosen to host the refugees because it is situated in a strategic area that the leaders thought would be used as a hideout for the Tutsi.
Testimonies have emerged in the past of how the Burundians were picked from the camp, offered money and promised other rewards by then local leaders so they could kill the thousands of Tutsi who had gathered in various places in the area.
Survivors also spoke of cannibalism in the area, accusing some militiamen of eating body parts of their victims in daylight.
Egide Nkuranga, the vice-president of Ibuka in the district, said they are saddened by the fact that the Burundians responsible for the atrocities are yet to be brought to book.
“After the Genocide, they returned totheir country where they continue to enjoy freedom. None of them has been brought to court to answer for their acts,” Nkuranga lamented.
Survivors said there are facts pinning the Burundians and called for renewed efforts to track and arrest them.
Senate president Jean Damascene Ntawukiriryayo promised that government will do its best to ensure that the Burundians that participated in the Genocide are brought to justice.
“The Government shares your burdens and understands your grief and will always stand by your side,” Ntawukuriryayo told the mourners.
He further urged them to work hard to transform their lives.