Remains of Genocide victims found at Rubavu airstrip

Rubavu District citizens and officials working tirelessly towards exhuming bodies found at Gisenyi Airport, they exhumed 28 bodies at the first day. Courtesy

Officials and residents of Rubavu district since Tuesday morning are working tirelessly to exhume remains of bodies believed to be victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, which were found at Gisenyi Airport last week.

The remains were found after workers at the airstrip who were digging water channels discovered mass graves last week on Saturday.


According to accounts by the casual labourers, they were surprised to find people’s clothes and when they dug deeper, they found people’s limbs and this is when they immediately informed officials.


Rubavu district officials intervened and immediately urged the general public to provide information which would help in identifying the names of the victims in these mass graves.


On the first day of search, officials and citizens managed to exhume remains of 28 victims from two separate mass graves, and testimonies from Genocide survivors from the area later attested that indeed these were victims of the Genocide that took place 25 years ago.

Hassan Sebucaca, one of the survivors narrated that during the Genocide a number of victims from various parts of Rubavu district were dumped in mass graves around the area.

Pacifique Ishimwe, the district vice mayor for social affairs also noted that the bodies might be of the Genocide victims stressing that the numbers should increase given the outlay of the airport.

“We have so far found 28 bodies of which 24 were of adults while four look to have been toddlers, apparently these are victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi,” she told journalists on Tuesday.

Ishimwe added that effective Wednesday, the district would use excavators caterpillar to search for the remaining remains “as apparently this airport contains various holes which are hard to dig due to the presence of rocks underneath.”

During commemoration activities every year, officials and survivors in Rubavu District beg the public to avail information on the whereabouts of the victims who are yet to be found so that they are accord a decent burial.

It is believed that there are still a number of victims still missing and mass graves scattered across the district. However, citizens are still reluctant to avail reliable information on the matter.  

In mid-2015 a number of Genocide victims were also discovered in Gisenyi Hospital backyard, among the found bodies were patients and the caregivers from the hospital.

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