The Minister for Defence, Maj. Gen. Albert Murasira has challenged the youth to take the lead in fighting genocide ideology and other radical ideas that may set the nation a backward trend if allowed to thrive.
The Minister gave the remarks on Tuesday during the commemoration event to honour victims slain in Gisenyi, now in Rubavu District, during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The event was characterised by a Walk to Remember, which brought together the youth and different government officials and are residents starting from the central market to Gisenyi Genocide Memorial, located in the infamous Commune Rouge area.
Rubavu residents honour their relatives laid to rest at Gisenyi Genocide Memorial-Eddie Nsabimana
The place infamously earned the name ‘Commune Rouge’ following thousands of the Tutsi killed there during the Genocide after they were fooled that it was the only place where they would be kept safe from Hutu extremists in the former Gisenyi Prefecture.
The Genocide perpetrated in Gisenyi had its particularity because it was home to a lot of national leaders who were responsible for sowing the seeds of discord among Rwandans many years before the Genocide against the Tutsi, according to Murasira.
He added that the youth were used in the killings of Tutsis, but also it took another group of youth under the RPF-Inkotanyi who strived to stop that Genocide, with many of them getting killed in the process.
“It is therefore the responsibility of every Rwandan, especially the youth, to combat genocide ideology and those who propagate it wherever they are and we have all the tools to fight it. Let’s strive to build a country that every Rwandan can be proud of, free from divisionism, and a country that our descendants will be happy to live in,” Murasira said.
“We have the opportunity to have a community of people who understand what unity and reconciliation means for our country. We have the chance that we have a youth which has been trained about the values and taboos of our country; let us use that to build our country,” he added.
General James Kabarebe, Senior advisor in the office of the president of the Republic of Rwanda in matters of security, lays wreath on the grave to honour Genocie victims laid to rest at Gisenyi Genocide Memorial
In his address that targeted the hundreds of youths, Gen. James Kabarebe, a Senior Presidential Advisor on Security, said that people should concentrate on development and ignore the noise made by detractors abroad, saying that this noise is inconsequential.
“There are some who are worried by the fact that FDLR fighters are still present in DR Congo jungles, and get worried seeing theirs propaganda postings on social media,” he said.
According to him, this noise is inconsequential and should be treated with contempt.
Defense Minister Maj Gen Albert Murasira speaks during the commemoration event in Rubavu on Tuesday- Eddie Nsabimana
Hussein Twagiramungu, a genocide survivor from Commune Rouge recounted the savagery used by genocide perpetrators in Gisenyi and the hardships he went through until he joined his father who had settled across the border, in DR Congo before the genocide begun.
He thanked former RPF-Inkotanyi soldiers who stopped the genocide and liberated the country.
Gisenyi Genocide Memorial is home to 4,613 Tutsi victims but the number is according to survivors, these are very few victims compared to those killed from Commune Rouge.
Sports and Culture Minister Esperance Nyirasafari(L), General James Kabarebe (C) and Ibuka Vice-president Egide Nkuranga pay tribute to Genocide victims laid to rest at Gisenyi Genocide Memorial on Tuesday
Egide Nkuranga, the vice president of Ibuka, the umbrella body for Genocide survivors called upon those with information about where other victims were taken to come forth so that they can be accorded a decent burial.
“We beg them [perpetrators] to tell us where the remains of Genocide victims are hidden so we can bury them in the respect they deserve,” he said.
He said that more efforts should be put in teaching the post-genocide generation so they know the true history of what happened in Rwanda, which, according to him, may help them to counter those that twist the country’s history for their own agendas.