Remains exhumed from pit latrine in Nyamirambo

An unknown number of remains of victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi that were discovered in a pit latrine behind St Charles Lwanga church, a catholic church in Nyamirambo were exhumed yesterday.
Residents of Nyamirambo witness as the remains of Genocide Victims are exhumed  at St Andre’ yesterday. (Photo/ J. Mbanda).
Residents of Nyamirambo witness as the remains of Genocide Victims are exhumed at St Andre’ yesterday. (Photo/ J. Mbanda).

An unknown number of remains of victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi that were discovered in a pit latrine behind St Charles Lwanga church, a catholic church in Nyamirambo were exhumed yesterday.

According to Jean Baptiste Rukaburandekwe, the Nyarugenge District representative of IBUKA, the pit was discovered in 2000.

IBUKA is an umbrella organisation for Genocide survivors.

“We started exhuming the bodies in 2001 but after exhuming three bodies, we discovered there was a landmine between the limbs and stopped because it was still was active,” said Rukaburandekwe.

He said that after the discovery, they informed the church priest to take good care of the site as they looked for ways of removing the mine.

“To my surprise the church started dumping acidic and metallic materials in the pit where bodies are.”

Since the latrine had been dug up, it had been left open and not to be used but according Rukaburandekwe it seemed clear that some people wanted to kill evidence.

“In the process of informing the demining authorities about the landmine, some people were dumping acidic and chemicals in the pit, these acids burn the bones to ashes, and in a short period you may not find a single bone,” he added.

The exact number of the victims in the latrine-cum-mass grave could not be determined by press time as the process was still on.

According the representative of IBUKA at the sector level, Willy Gaston Mugabo, “we need to come up with exact figures of people who were thrown in this hole since some bones are burnt but the acids.”

IBUKA officials vowed to call for investigations into the acidic metals that were dumped into the hole after 2001 and also called for the intervention of the National Commission against Genocide.

The Parish Priest, Martin Uwamungu said he just learnt about the hole recently when one of the followers heard it on the radio and sent him a text message on phone.

“I immediately started looking for people who may know the details. I got the details from Priest Azarias Karemera.”

Uwamungu replaced Priest Alex Kebera who is said to be studying at a catholic University in Paris, France.

Wearing surgical masks and gloves, men descended inside circle-like hole, about ten metres deep dug up bones of the deceased, rosaries, babies’ cloths, watches, bangles among other materials that belonged to the victims.

During the exhumation, it was evident that the victims had their hands tied from behind, pushed inside the latrine and a number of grenades and landmines thrown inside to kill them, and then buried.

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