Ngoma: 40,000 Genocide victims given decent burial

Coffins that contain remains of over 40,000 Genocide victims before burial at Rukumberi Genocide Memorial Site in Ngoma District, Eastern Province. / Jean de Dieu Nsabimana

Over 40,000 bodies of the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi were on Sunday accorded decent burial at Rukumberi Memorial Centre in Ngoma District, Eastern Province.

The remains include the ones that were recovered from different parts of the district as well as the ones that had been buried at a memorial site that was in a sorry state. 

The event was part of activities to mark the 25th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The Speaker of Parliament, Donatille Mukabalisa, said that; “I grieve with families whose loved ones were killed and dumped in lakes and rivers…”

Particularly, she added, this is the time to honour “our beloved ones as well as reflect on their bravery and acts of kindness”.

Rukumberi is an example of how bad leadership planned and executed the Genocide against the Tutsi, she said.

The Speaker commended Genocide survivors for their resilience and efforts to rebuild their lives and country.

“The youth should strive to be resilient and intensify the fight against genocide ideology. There are still deniers who still think that genocide can happen again, the youth should take the lead in uprooting this bad ideology” she said.

Genocide survivors read out messages for their slain relatives as they paid their last respects.

Jean-Damascene Bizimana, the Executive Secretary of the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG), reminded mourners that the 1994 Genocide, which claimed more than a million lives, had been planned before hand.

Tutsis were killed since 1959, he said.

In 1960, he said, many Tutsiwere isolated and sent to present day Bugesera District in Eastern Province from where they would be executed.

He added that bad leadership used political parties based on discrimination, artists as well as journalists to lay ground for the execution of the Genocide.

Bizimana warned that genocide ideology is still rampant, especially among people living abroad, particularly Genocide perpetrators who are trying to evade justice. 

“The youth should understand that Rwanda has come from far and must sustain the gains made,” he added.

On behalf of survivors whose relatives were given decent burial yesterday, Protais Rutagarama said Rukumberi experienced horrible events, and lived in fear for years before and during the Genocide.

He recounted how Ex-FAR soldiers could come in broad daylight and take Tutsi to be killed.

Rukumberi is one of the areas where Genocide was tried before it was committed in 1994.

“Tutsi were arrested and jailed for no reason, I was personally arrested and spent over a week in detention, we were accused of being accomplices,  only God protected me because others were killed,” he said.

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