MUHANGA — A group of church leaders from different international religious communities have apologised to Rwandans for their countries’ role in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
Over 20 clergymen from France, Belgium, USA, United Kingdom, German and Holland held a service to ask for forgiveness at Gitarama stadium last Saturday.
The French and Belgian group in particular confessed that their respective countries played a significant role in colonisation of Africa.
They also revealed that their countries had actively participated in robbing and depriving Africa of its dignity and fuelled conflicts and divisionism which resulted into the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The Americans and others also said that their nations and people underplayed and ignored the killings in Rwanda.
“We kneel before you (Rwandans) not as politicians, but as people of God. We deeply regret and humbly beg, to be forgiven for these sins, so that we can heal the world and revive a new family of God” Samuel Wessel, German pastor said, while shedding tears.
His French counterpart, Robert Raddix, said: “we (French) are sorry and ashamed, that our country was among those implicated in the planning and execution of the genocide, even when our leaders still deny this fact, we have been stained with blood of innocent Rwandans.”
The Rwandan delegation of pastors, led by Pastor Jean Gatabazi, moved forward and openly permitted forgiveness saying that this event is the first of its kind.
They termed it as history in the making and a new path of healing, peace and renewed collaboration.
The Mayor of Muhanga, Yvonne Mutakwasuku, and other district officials also joined in the prayer for peace.
Gatabazi said that this was history in the making and a beginning of a new chapter to both Rwandans and other countries.
Other Rwandan pastors said that this act had significance for Rwandans especially in ex-Gitarama prefecture which was the centre for planning and execution of Genocide by the past governments.
The town of Gitarama was also once the headquarters of the interim government that executed the Genocide.
The clergymen had also been joined by their counterparts from Burundi, DRC and Uganda who had gathered to pray for peace and reconciliation.