Twenty five years ago on January 19, a group of 74 employees of BRALIRWA, Rwanda’s largest brewer and soft beverage company, were on a company bus going to work the morning shift which started at 7 am.Around 6:45 am, one of them, Alphonse Bahati, then 22, boarded the bus and took a seat in the middle row, probably the fourth or fifth, he doesn’t recall.They hadn’t even driven three kilometres when their bus was ambushed and shot by Abacengezi, genocide perpetrator remnants who would infiltrate the country and kill civilians.The assailants shot at the bus tyres, so the driver had to stop. It was not reported how many they were, but according to the victims’ narration, several entered the bus and asked the Hutus to get off the bus and the Tutsis to remain inside.They made it clear they wanted to kill all the Tutsi people on the bus, saying ‘they deserved it.’The whole bus defied the orders, which the assailants had to repeat. They were slow to obey, and the Abacengezi opened fire indiscriminately on the bus.Some people chose to escape by jumping from windows, and around 10 people were shot dead outside the bus as they tried to run. Bahati also jumped from the window, and he was shot in his left leg.Some of the militia were clad in military attire and carried guns, while others stood nearby, armed with traditional weapons and followed the situation with keen interest, waiting to finish off anyone who attempted to flee.Bahati says that some people were killed by clubs (ubuhiri). Most of his colleagues were stuck in the bus as the assailants set it on fire to burn them alive.By the time people came to the scene, many of the bodies were unrecognisable as they had been burned to cinders, reports say.Different media at the time reported that it was only possible to identify 25 bodies, while 10 of the 35 seriously wounded died at Gisenyi Hospital where they had been taken for treatment.“The death toll is expected to rise as many more workers who jumped out of the bus remain unaccounted for, the officials pointed out,” the BBC reported in 1998.Bahati recalls that marine soldiers from a military camp in the area were deployed to save his colleagues, as well as pursue the assailants.“Some of the locals were rounding us up to take us to the hospital. Some were being taken in wheelbarrows and others were carried by those who came to the rescue. It was heartbreaking. But when the soldiers arrived, they followed us and took care of us,” Bahati said.Every year on January 19, Bahati and his former colleagues who survived the attack, the association of widows who lost their husbands in the attack, BRALIRWA staff and Rubavu District residents, gather to honour the memory of their loved ones who died in the attack.“On this day, I remember my friends and relatives whom I saw dying but couldn’t save. I also remember the efforts by the government to stop these kinds of attacks and ethnicity in general,” Bahati said.Uzamukunda Nyirabaganzu, the president of Girimpuwhe, an association of widows who lost their husbands in the attack, told The New Times in an interview that people should learn from the brave souls.“We should stand firm in our unity as Rwandans because even our people did,” she said. Nyirabaganzu’s husband is also a victim of the attack.Reports say after the attack, children in the area couldn’t go to school for days, and people couldn’t go to work as they mourned their loved ones.The same group of assailants had killed students at the Nyange School a year before after the high school students refused to identify their respective ethnicities as the aim was to kill the Tutsis among them.